Keeping Braces Clean: Why a Water Flosser is a Must
Water flossers, also known as oral irrigators, are a popular dental hygiene tool used to clean between teeth and around orthodontic appliances like braces. But are water flossers actually effective at keeping teeth clean with braces?
Water flossers use a stream of water to remove food debris and plaque from around teeth and gums. This can help improve gum health and prevent cavities and gingivitis.
For those wearing braces, water flossers may provide extra benefit in keeping teeth clean. Braces feature wires, brackets and other appliances that can trap food particles and make flossing difficult. The pressurized water from an oral irrigator can help flush out trapped debris.
In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of water flossers for braces and provide tips on how to use them properly.
Benefits of Water Flossing with Braces
Water flossers offer several advantages over traditional flossing for cleaning around braces:
- Reaches tight spaces: The stream of water can penetrate under wires and brackets and flush out food particles where floss can't easily reach. This helps clean the entire tooth surface.
- Removes debris: Food, plaque and bacteria can get lodged in braces. The pulsing water can help dislodge and wash away these particles.
- Massages gums: The water pressure gently massages gums to improve circulation and overall gum health.
- Prevents white spots: Braces can lead to white spot lesions if plaque builds up. Water flossing helps prevent this by removing plaque.
- Improves oral hygiene: Keeping the mouth clean is important during orthodontic treatment. Water flossing improves overall oral hygiene.
- Easier for kids: Water flossers may be easier for children and teens to use than traditional flossing.
How to Use a Water Flosser with Braces
Using an oral irrigator properly is key to getting the most out of it for brace cleaning. Here are some tips:
- Use daily: For best results, water floss after meals and before bedtime.
- Adjust pressure: Start on the lowest setting and increase as tolerated to avoid gum damage.
- Aim properly: Point the tip at a 90-degree angle to the gumline and move slowly. Avoid aiming directly at gums.
- Focus on problem spots: Target food trap areas like behind the braces and between teeth.
- Floss first: Always floss first with braces to dislodge big food pieces. Water floss afterward.
- Rinse mouth: Rinse thoroughly with water when done to wash away loosened debris.
- Check fittings: Ensure tip fits under appliances; use an orthodontic tip if needed.
- Don't skip areas: Water floss the tongue, roof of mouth, gums and all sides of teeth.
Best Water Flossers for Braces
When selecting an oral irrigator for braces, look for the following features:
- Adjustable pressure settings: Multiple settings allow you to customize water flow.
- Orthodontic tips: Smaller tips fit better under wires and into tight spaces.
- Tip eject button: Makes changing tips quick and easy.
- Large water reservoir: Saves time refilling.
- Cordless option: Allows flossing anywhere; not confined to a sink.
- Travel case: Makes it easy to bring the flosser along to use away from home.
Here are some top-rated water flosser models for braces:
- 10 pressure settings (for custom water flow)
- 7 orthodontic tips included
- 90 seconds of water capacity
- Tip eject button for easy changing
- Available in electric (corded) and battery-powered
Panasonic Portable Travel Water Flosser
- 3 pressure settings
- 2 orthodontic tips
- Cordless and compact at 6.4 oz
- Tip eject button
- Travel bag included
Nicefeel Cordless Water Flosser
- IPX7 waterproof rating
- 3 modes and 10 pressure settings
- 4 orthodontic tips
- 300ml detachable water tank
- Collapsible design good for travel
Proper Care of Water Flossers
Caring for your water flosser properly is key for keeping it functioning well and avoiding bacterial growth. Here are tips for cleaning and maintenance:
- Change water daily: Empty reservoir and refill with clean water each day.
- Clean reservoir: Periodically scrub reservoir with soap and water. Avoid harsh cleaners.
- Disinfect: Add a capful of antibacterial mouthwash to the reservoir water. Run it through the unit.
- Replace tips regularly: Swap out tips every 3-6 months for best performance.
- Rinse after use: Rinse flosser handle and tip with water to remove debris.
- Check filters: If your unit has filters, clean or replace them as directed.
- Store upright and dry: Let unit air dry before putting away to avoid mold.
Be sure to consult the user manual for your specific water flosser model for additional cleaning recommendations from the manufacturer.
The Bottom Line
Water flossers can be a great complement to traditional flossing for keeping braces clean. The pressurized water can reach places that floss struggles to access and flush away trapped plaque and food debris.
When used properly and in addition to standard flossing, water flossers are an excellent tool for maintaining oral hygiene with braces. Just be sure to use a correct technique and care for the appliance properly.
Consult your orthodontist or dentist to learn if a water flosser may be beneficial during your treatment. With good oral hygiene habits, you’ll keep your smile sparkling clean even with braces!
Is it safe to use a water flosser with braces?
Yes, using a water flosser with braces is safe and can be an excellent tool for maintaining oral hygiene.
Can a water flosser fully replace traditional flossing?
While a water flosser cannot fully replace traditional flossing, it offers several benefits for braces patients.
What are the benefits of using a waterpik for braces?
Using a waterpik can help dislodge food particles, massage gum tissue, clean under the gum line, and reduce plaque and bleeding gums.
How do I use a waterpik with braces?
To use a waterpik with braces, adjust the pressure, lean over the sink, insert the tip, and aim it towards the gum line. Lightly brush between your teeth, around the brackets, and under the wires.
What should I look for when choosing a waterpik for braces?
Look for a waterpik with the American Dental Association's seal of approval and a specialized orthodontic tip designed for braces patients.
Can a water flosser prevent staining of teeth from braces?
Yes, using a water flosser, along with brushing, flossing, and a healthy diet, can help prevent stains or white spots from developing.
How effective is using a waterpik with braces?
While it may not penetrate between tightly fitted or crowded teeth as effectively as traditional flossing, a waterpik is still a valuable tool for braces patients in removing food particles and reducing plaque buildup.