Taking good care of your teeth can sometimes be challenging when you have braces, and here at Frey Orthodontics, we believe that an excellent oral hygiene routine is a big part of successful treatment. Good dental hygiene is always important, but it is especially critical during orthodontic treatment. Without it, plaque and food can accumulate around your braces, forming bacteria and leading to unsightly white marks, cavities, or even gum disease. Brushing and flossing regularly and effectively is essential for avoiding complications, but flossing can be tricky at the best of times, let alone when you are in braces. ,Fortunately there are tools that can help make this an easier process, and one of our favorites is an oral irrigator, such as a Waterpik.

When traditionally flossing with braces, you must guide the floss underneath the arch wire of each tooth, floss that tooth, remove the floss, then repeat the process on the next one. This can be frustrating and time-consuming, especially at first, though you will get better and faster as time goes on. An oral irrigator can be especially helpful if you are having trouble getting the hang of flossing with your braces on. While oral irrigators do not take the place of flossing, you can add them to your routine to ensure your teeth are as clean and free of debris as possible. Let’s take a look at what exactly a Waterpik is, how it works, and what it can do to keep your mouth happy and healthy.

Flossers and braces flossers

What is a Waterpik?

Because it is easy for food particles to get stuck in the tiny crevices around the brackets of your braces, and even in your gums, flossing regularly is important, and should be done at least once a day. However, many patients forget or forego nightly flossing. This increases the risk for cavities and other oral issues. While they should never take the place of dental flossing, oral irrigators are great for getting rid of any food debris and plaque you miss with your regular routine. It can be used as part of that routine, in between meals, or both.  

So what exactly is an oral irrigator? These oral health appliances are designed for dental care at home, and using an optimal combination of pressure and pulsation, release a stream of water into the mouth. This targeted stream of water removes plaque, food particles, and bacteria, and the pulsating action stimulates gum tissue for an added health benefit. Of these irrigators, Waterpik tends to be the most well-known brand. Although the sizes and features vary, all Waterpik water flossers include a motor with a pump, a water reservoir, and a special water flosser tip.

Waterpik flossers that are for braces and orthodontic appliances come with a special orthodontic tip, an innovative tapered brush designed to remove hard-to-reach plaque around brackets and wires. It should be replaced every three months, about as often as you should be replacing your toothbrush.

Waterpiks include multiple designs for your convenience, including cordless, travel, countertop, and kid’s designs. Some of their most popular models include:

Complete Care WP-900: a water flossing and sonic toothbrush in one convenient product that saves counter space and power outlets

Ultra WP-100: for the ultimate in water flossing performance, this model features ten pressure settings in a smaller and quieter design, a covered reservoir with tip storage, and six unique tips.

Aquarius Professional WP-660: one of the most advanced water flossers available, the Aquarius includes on/off water control on the handle, an LED information panel, seven tips, a one minute timer with a 30-second pacer, and new pulse-modulation technology to provide maximum plaque removal in Floss Mode and enhanced gum stimulation in Hydro-Pulse Massage Mode

Water Flosser For Kids WP-260: for children ages six and above, this flosser features an extra safe, kid-proof electrical design, easy fingertip controls on the On/Off switch and the Pressure Control System, a reservoir that can be used as a cover to keep the unit clean, all covered under a two-year warranty

Cordless Plus Professional WP-440: an ideal flosser for those on the go, this rechargeable unit also comes with the Nano-Sonic toothbrush

Traveler Water Flosser WP-300: with a compact design that is ideal for smaller bathrooms and travel, this model also features global voltage compatibility for easy use in any country around the world, four tips, a pressure control system, and a premium travel case is included

woman using a water pik

How does a Waterpik work?

Waterpiks are simple to use once you get the hang of them! Follow the steps listed below to get the most out of your model.

  • Fill the reservoir with warm water and place it firmly on the base. Select a tip and click into the handle. If this is your first time using the Waterpik, set the pressure control dial to high, point the tip into the sink, turn it on until water begins flowing, then turn it off.
  • Start with the lowest pressure setting available, lean over the sink, and place the tip in your mouth. Turn the unit on, and close your lips enough to prevent splashing, letting the water flow from your mouth into sink.
  • Aiming for the gumline, move the flosser tip along the gums until you have achieved a thorough cleaning. When you are finished, turn the unit off and use the eject button to remove the tip.

What are the benefits of using a Waterpik?

Waterpiks use pressure, pulsation, and a specially designed orthodontic tip to remove plaque and trapped food particles from brackets and wires, while massaging and stimulating the gums. This helps to reduce plaque and improve gum health in about one minute per day!

Sparkling smiles with Frey Orthodontics

When used correctly, Waterpiks can be a great addition to your regular daily dental routine. For patients undergoing orthodontic treatment, water flossers may provide additional benefits that regular brushing and flossing cannot. Just make sure you are using your Waterpik with dental floss, and not in place of it.

If you are in the Algonquin, Naperville, or surrounding areas and want more information on how Waterpiks can help keep your braces and teeth squeaky clean, or for recommendations for a water flosser based on your particular needs, get in touch with us today! Dr. Frey and the rest of our skilled staff are here to help you achieve a straight, sparkling smile you want to show off to the world!