At Dunegan & Cole Orthodontics, we encourage our clients to use air flossers and water picks in addition to a good oral hygiene routine including brushing and manual flossing. Both air flossers and water picks are designed to clean between and around teeth daily to help you quickly remove stubborn plaque and debris.
Air flossers use “microburst technology” — rapid bursts of compressed air plus microwater droplets — to blast out plaque and debris between your teeth. Handheld battery-operated devices about the size of an electric toothbrush, they’re extremely effective in cleaning hard-to-reach spots. Air flossers are portable, cordless, and rechargeable. Typically, a single charge lasts about two weeks.
What Air Flossers Do and How to Use Them
Air flossers have an angled, slim nozzle, so you can easily reach your back teeth.
Their point-and-click design makes air flossers easy to operate, even for children.
Air flossers’ tips help you aim for the spaces between your teeth.
After choosing your “blast” setting, you simply place the nozzle tip against the spaces between your teeth, working from back to front on each row of your teeth.
Water picks, also known as “oral irrigators” or “water flossers,” provide a range of water pressures you can choose to clean between and around your teeth. They also have a “pulsation setting” to stimulate and massage your gums and gum pockets to keep them healthy.
What Water Picks Do and How to Use Them
Water picks are also handheld devices. They use water to push out plaque and food particles. Water picks’ combination of pulsation and water pressure deeply cleans your teeth as well as the area underneath your gums. Water picks are compact and sit on your bathroom sink or counter. They need to be plugged in and hooked up to a water source for ease of use.
Most children probably don’t need to use water picks if they are doing a good job of brushing and manually flossing; however, children and teenagers with braces or other orthodontic appliances may find them useful for removing food debris and plaque from their teeth and gum lines. Water picks are safe for children as young as six with adult supervision and take about 60 seconds to use.
The steps for using a waterpik are quick and easy to learn:
Fill the reservoir with lukewarm water or antibacterial mouthwash.
Select your tip (orthodontic tips are available, for example) and press it firmly into the handle.
Adjust the pressure control. It’s recommended to start at low pressure.
Lean over your sink and place the tip in your mouth.
Turn the unit on. Close your lips to avoid splashing, while allowing water to flow from your mouth into your sink.
Start with your back teeth and pause briefly between teeth, aiming the tip just above your gum line at a 90 degree angle.
When you’ve finished, turn the unit off and use the tip eject button to remove the tip.
The Benefits of Extra Cleaning Devices
Both air flossers and water picks can be effective in removing plaque and debris even brushing and manual flossing may miss to achieve bacterial reduction between your teeth. You can add an antibacterial mouthwash to the reservoir in either device for an even cleaner, fresher feeling which also helps protect your mouth from infection.
At Dunegan & Cole Orthodontics, we are delighted to be able to recommend a new generation of oral hygiene “helpers” to our clients. Air flossers and water picks make former obstacles to keeping teeth clean while wearing braces or dental bridges news of the past.
If you have oral hygiene concerns or orthodontic needs and would like to set up an appointment, please contact us at 703.753.4996 or book your free consult. We look forward to partnering with you to keep your oral health the best it can be — for a lifetime of clean, healthy, happy teeth and gums.