Oral hygiene involves caring for your teeth by brushing regularly, flossing and seeing your dentist for checkups. Flossing works to remove food that sticks between teeth and can’t be removed by brushing alone. A water pik acts in a similar manner and can be used by some people who do not like to floss or who are unable to.
A water pik is a type of oral irrigation system that provides a stream of water to clean between teeth. It can clear away excess food or bacteria that may be developing on the teeth and it stimulates circulation to the gums. If you add baking soda to the water, it can also kill bacteria that contribute to gum disease and cavities.
According to the website Dentist.net, a 2005 study published in the "Journal of Clinical Dentistry" found that when combined with toothbrushing, a water pik is an effective substitute for flossing to reduce bleeding and inflammation of the gums. Compared with flossing, a water pik is also as efficient in reducing plaque formation that leads to bacterial growth.
The water pik contains a chamber to hold the necessary water for treatment, and many people feel comfortable using lukewarm water. Fill the reservoir and turn the water pik on. You can adjust the settings to determine how high to set the water pressure. Point the tip of the water pik at the gumline and move along the edge of the gums and between teeth. Use along both inner and outer aspects of the teeth and gums.
A water pik is an effective tool for those who have braces. The water stream penetrates between the wires and brackets frequently found with many mouth appliances. A water pik is also safe to use for those who have dental bridges or partials, as its gentle pressure cleans without damaging the parts.
Some people with gum disease or gingivitis use a water pik as part of treatment to restore healthy gums. Gum disease can cause pockets in gum tissue between teeth and can be painful when flossing. Using a water pik effectively cleans gums with a pulsatile stream of water. This can reach the gingival pockets between teeth and reduce some bacteria that form below the gumline, which helps to fight infection.