What is a Waterpik and How Do You Use it?

Gentle Dental

What is a Waterpik and How Do You Use it?

Waterpiks are popular among many people who view them as a convenient way to keep their teeth clean and healthy. While they do offer several noteworthy benefits, waterpiks aren’t miracle-workers. Here’s what you should know about waterpiks, along with some tips on how to use them as part of a complete oral hygiene strategy.

What Are Waterpiks?

Officially known as oral pulsating irrigators, waterpiks are mechanical devices designed to help clean between teeth and beneath the gum line. Unlike traditional floss which works by scraping plaque from the teeth, water flossers use focused water pressure to force food and plaque away from teeth and gums.

Using a Waterpik

Using a waterpik is relatively easy. Begin by filling the reservoir with warm water and then firmly attach the base. You can then select the desired tip and affix it the handle.

If it’s your first time using a waterpik, you should flush water through the system before use. Set the pressure control to high and point the tip toward the sink. After about ten to 15 seconds, the device should be ready for use.

Start by setting the waterpik on its lowest pressure setting. Lean over the sink and insert the tip within your mouth. Turn on the device and close your lips to prevent water from splashing. Move the flosser tip along your gumline, allowing water to flow from your mouth into the sink.

Once you’ve thoroughly cleaned your gumline, turn off the device and use the tip eject button to detach the tip.

While each device can work a little differently, the basic steps will typically be the same. It’s generally advisable to thoroughly read the manufacturer’s instructions on your specific waterpik to make sure you are using it correctly and safely. These instructions will also usually include details on how you can properly maintain your unit so it will last longer.

How Should I Use My Waterpik?

Waterpiks offer specific advantages over traditional flossing which make them attractive to many people. For one, they can reach awkward areas within the mouth that may be inaccessible to traditional flossing string or tape. They are also easier for some people to use, especially if they have braces or complex dental work.

With that said, waterpiks should not be viewed as a suitable substitute for brushing and flossing. While dental experts acknowledge the benefits of using a waterpik, they are also careful to point out that the devices do not typically remove visible plaque and film from teeth.

With this in mind, it’s important to recognize that waterpiks should be viewed as part of a complete oral hygiene strategy, which includes brushing twice daily, flossing once per day and visiting the dentist for regular cleanings, X-rays, and check-ups.