Two daily activities are key to maintaining good oral hygiene: brushing and flossing. While most of us are very diligent with the first one, flossing often seems to slip from daily routines. For some the reason is the difficulty to reach back teeth, which makes them think the whole activity is futile, while others feel a little pain while flossing or notice slight bleeding. In fact, flossing needs just some getting used to, but if that doesn’t work for you waterpicks or oral irrigators are the perfect alternative.
These are appliances furnished with a water tank and a tube with a particular ending, and they can, thanks to pressure, create a jet that cleanses the tooth, interdental spaces and the gum line with ease. Moreover, as the jet massages the gums it favours blood circulation while providing a pleasant feeling. Until recently these appliances were deemed roomy and impractical, but modern wireless and compact models are suitable to all, even those who own a very small bathroom. For patients with orthodontic appliances oral irrigators are the only really efficient way to floss, and they are suitable for those carrying a bridge as well. Various studies have shown that oral irrigators are 20% more efficient than dental floss, but some dentists would anyways recommend to use both methods.
How are oral irrigators used?
Regardless of the model you choose, i.e. be it wireless or not, most oral irrigators are used in the same way. The tube’s extension is placed in the mouth with a 90˚ angle to the teeth and the appliance is activated. The jet should be moved from one side to the other of the mouth along the gum line. The mouth should be semi open in order to prevent splashes while allowing water to run out. Thus it is better to keep a reclined position over the sink. Usually it is possible to regulate the strength of the jet to ones preferences, although at the beginning a mild jet is advised.
Tooth cleaning with a waterpick should last at least a minute, as this will insure perfect cleaning of interdental spaces and the gum line.