What Is a Waterpik and How Does it Work?

Good dental hygiene is always important, but it is especially critical when you are undergoing 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 is essential, and is one of the easiest ways to avoid any complications, but flossing can be tricky at the best of times, let alone when you are in braces. Here at Shaw Orthodontics, we know that taking care of your teeth can sometimes be challenging when you are wearing braces. Fortunately, there are tools that can help make this a less frustrating process, and one of our favorites are oral irrigators, like a Waterpik.

When you are traditionally flossing your teeth with braces on, you have to guide the floss underneath the archwire of each tooth, floss that tooth, remove the floss, then repeat the process on the next one. This can be time-consuming and annoying, especially at first, although you will get better and faster at it with practice and time. But if you are having trouble getting the hang of flossing with braces, an oral irrigator can be especially helpful. Oral irrigators do not take the place of flossing, but you can add them to your cleaning routine to make sure your teeth are as sparkling clean and free of debris as possible. Let us take a look at what exactly a Waterpik is, how it works, and what it can do to keep your mouth happy and healthy during orthodontic treatment!

What is a Waterpik?

Flossing regularly is important for orthodontic patients in braces because it is very easy for food particles to get stuck in the tiny crevices around the brackets. When you forget or forego nightly flossing, you increase your risk of developing cavities or other oral issues. While they should never take the place of regular dental flossing, oral irrigators are fantastic for getting rid of any food debris and plaque you miss with your nightly routine. They can be used as part of that routine, in between meals, or both. 

Not sure what an oral irrigator is? Technically termed as an “oral health appliance”, oral irrigators are designed for dental care at home and use an optimal combination of pressure and pulsation to release a stream of water into the mouth. This targeted stream of water removes plaque, food particles, and bacteria, and for an added health benefit, the pulsating action stimulates the gum tissues. Of these irrigators, Waterpik is generally regarded as the most well-known brand. Although sizes and features do vary, all Waterpik water flossers include a motor with a pump, a water reservoir, and a special water flosser tip.

Waterpik flossers that are designed for use with braces and other orthodontic appliances come with a special orthodontic tip. This innovative brush has a tapered design that helps to remove hard-to-reach plaque around the brackets and wires. It needs to be replaced every three months, about as often as you should replace your toothbrush.

Waterpik includes multiple designs for your convenience, including cordless, travel, countertop, and kid’s designs. We will list some of their most popular models below.

water pik

Waterpik models and features

Complete Care WP-900: This convenient, space-saving product is a water flosser and a sonic toothbrush in one.

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

Aquarius Professional WP-660: One of the most advanced water flossers on the market, 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.  The Hydro-Pulse Massage Mode gives enhanced gum stimulation, as well.

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

Cordless Plus Professional WP-440: The perfect flosser for patients on the go, this rechargeable unit also comes with the Nano-Sonic toothbrush.

Traveler Water Flosser WP-300: Another great design for patients who travel, the compact design is ideal for smaller bathrooms and features global voltage compatibility for easy use in any country around the world. It also includes four tips, a pressure control system, and a premium travel case.

How does a Waterpik work?

Waterpiks are incredibly simple to use, and super effective once you get the hang of them! To get the most out of your model, try the following steps:

Fill the reservoir with warm water and place it firmly on the base. Select the desired tip and click into the handle. If it is the first time you have used your Waterpik, set the pressure control dial to high and point the tip into the sink, turn it on until the water begins flowing, and then turn it off.

Beginning with the lowest pressure setting available, lean over the sink, and place the tip in your mouth. Turn the unit on, close your lips enough to prevent splashing, and let the water flow from your mouth into the sink.

Move the flosser tip along the gums and gum line until you have achieved a thorough cleaning. When you finish, turn the unit off and use the eject button to remove the tip.

What are the benefits of using a Waterpik?

The pressure, pulsation, and specially designed orthodontic tips that come with Waterpiks are a really great way to remove any sticky plaque and trapped food particles from the brackets and wires of your braces. They also massage and stimulate your gums, an added oral health benefit. Using an oral irrigator like a Waterpik for just one minute a day can help reduce bacteria and improve gum health, giving you a sparkling smile while you work to straighten it!

women with water flosser

Keep your smile shining bright with Shaw Orthodontics

Waterpiks can be an excellent addition to your daily dental routine. Throughout your orthodontic journey, water flossers can provide additional cleaning that regular brushing and flossing cannot touch. Just remember – you should use your Waterpik with dental floss, and not in place of it. No cheating!

If you are in Rockwall, Watauga, or the surrounding areas, and want more information on how Waterpiks can help keep your teeth squeaky clean while you are in braces, get in touch with us today! Dr. Shaw is also happy to recommend a water flosser for you based on your particular dental needs. Our talented team is always here to help you achieve the kind of straight, sparkling smile you will be proud to show off to the world!