Taking care of your teeth is extremely important for overall health. As you get older, poor oral health could adversely affect your heart. Bacteria that adheres to your teeth and gums could get into your bloodstream and bond to the plaque in major arteries. If a plaque breaks and creates a blood clot, there is the possibility of a heart attack. Some findings suggest using a Waterpik along with an electric or manual toothbrush is key to good oral health.
A Waterpik is an electric device that directs water at your teeth and is best for use if you have bleeding gums and are susceptible to gingivitis. The Waterpik may be helpful in staving off both of these uncomfortable conditions. This finding was based on a study done at the University of Nebraska Medical Center by lead researcher Caren M. Barnes, RDH, MS.
MayoClinic.com found that the Waterpik is no more effective than regular floss. Waxed floss can easily be inserted between tight spaces and you can scape up food particles that have accumulated on the sides of your teeth. Though the Waterpik is aiming water at your teeth, it is not getting in between your teeth as thoroughly as standard floss.
One consideration is whether to use an electric or manual toothbrush along with a Waterpik. Electric toothbrushes may be more effective with removing plaque and enhancing gum health, according to MayoClinic.com. In addition, if you have problems with handling a manual toothbrush due to a medical condition such as arthritis or Parkinson's, an electric toothbrush is more manageable.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, electric toothbrushes are also helpful for people who have uneven teeth or who have braces or other orthodontic devices They claim that an electric toothbrush is more motivating for people to use and that it eliminates tooth stains better than a manual brush. They say that a Waterpik is not important for most people because its primary purpose is to remove food particles that have settled into braces or other orthodontic devices.
The conclusion of most dentists is that unless it is removing plaque, a particular dental device such as the Waterpik is not worth purchasing. Generally speaking, if you keep your toothbrush clean, replace it every three to four months, brush and floss daily and see your dentist on a regular basis, your teeth will be fine. However, if you do decide to use a Waterpik, use it in conjunction with either an electric or manual toothbrush.
- MayoClinic.com: Adult Health---Can Poor Oral Health Cause Heart Disease?
- "The Journal of Clinical Dentistry"; Comparison of Irrigation to Floss as an Adjunct to Tooth Brushing: Effect on Bleeding, Gingivitis, and Supragingival Plaque; Caren M. Barnes, RDH, MS, et al.; Vol. XVI, No. 3 ,
- MayoClinic.com: Adult Health---Is it More Effective to Floss Teeth With a Water Pick or Standard Dental Floss?
- MayoClinic.com: Adult Health---Is an Electric Toothbrush Better Than a Regular Toothbrush?
- Cleveland Clinic: Choosing Dental Care Products---Is There Any Advantage to Using a Powered (Electric or Sonic) Toothbrush Compared With a Manual Toothbrush?