Oral irrigators, sometimes called water flossers or water jets, are a substitute to dental flossing (though can be even more powerful if used in combination with dental floss). Oral irrigation is thought to be more effective than regular flossing for a number of reasons. The main reason is that research has shown it to be much more successful in preventing gum disease and maintaining gum health without hurting the gums and without being unpleasant.
The first step to properly water floss your teeth is to purchase an oral irrigation device and go through its manual. It is important to understand how your unit works, as each one is slightly different.
Typically a water jet consists of a water reservoir placed on top of an electrical pump. The pump flushes pulses of water through a hose linked to a handle and tip, onto your teeth. By targeting specific areas that your toothbrush is unable to reach, such as between adjacent teeth and at their base below the gum line, you can manage to remove bacteria, plaque and food residue throughout your mouth. Water flossers operate on an average of 1,600 pulses per minute.
You start by setting up the device.
Steps to Water Floss Successfully
1. Assuming it is a typical model, place it on a convenient spot on your countertop, so that the hose is long enough for you to irrigate over the sink. The process can be messy, especially in the beginning.
2. Fill the water reservoir. There are several antimicrobial agents and oral irrigation solutions on the market. If you would like to maximize the effects of your irrigator you might want to consider using them. Some may tamper with the device though, so you should check the manufacturer’s recommendations.
3. Then plug the power cord into the outlet.
4. Choose the appropriate tip and adjust it to the handle.
5. Find the water pressure lever. It is usually placed on the side of the device and it is numbered.
6. Bring the tip to your gums and adjust the intensity level to a comfortable setting. Pressure should be strong but not painful. Most people choose a middle setting but that depends on your pump’s power.
7. Hold the tip and handle at a 90-degree angle and start with your back teeth. Aim at the gum line and turn the water on.
8. Continue by moving the tip back and forth along the gum line, thoroughly cleaning each tooth. The most difficult areas are between the teeth. You should be persistent in your cleaning of these places, as they are most prone to plaque built up. Depending on the pressure setting, the reservoir might empty quickly and need refilling.
9. Start over and repeat the process, this time on the inside of the teeth.
At first the whole procedure will take a while and might be awkward. By doing it every day, you will get familiar with the device and become faster with it. It is preferable to do this with your nightly routine. Although there is no evidence to support it, it is better to do it before brushing to give way to the toothpaste to slide between the teeth.
Empty the remaining water from the reservoir after every use and dry thoroughly. There are two reasons to do that. First, if water is left in the reservoir for too long, salts may clog the device. It’s a good idea to use distilled water to prolong the unit’s life. Second, humidity facilitates bacterial growth. These may end up in your mouth during your following use.
Enjoy your healthy mouth and fresh breath!