Gum disease is an all-too-common problem for countless adults across the U.S. and the world. Left untreated, gum disease can lead to tooth loss. Even more concerning is the more serious conditions linked to gum disease – such as diabetes, heart disease and even Alzheimer’s. Fortunately, there are several ways that you can keep your gums healthy, many of which involve the day-to-day oral hygiene routine you follow in your own home. Brushing twice a day and flossing at least once is a good place to start. But if you want an added measure of protection against gum disease, consider using a water flosser. These devices are extremely effective in removing leftover food particles under the gum line that can’t be removed by brushing and flossing. Here’s how they work.
Although the specific features vary from one brand to the next, generally speaking water flossers work by emitting a steady stream of water through the nozzle of a hand-held device. You simply aim the device at your gum line, working your way around your mouth to clean and remove food particles from between each tooth and under the gum line.
While it’s true that anyone can benefit from using a water flosser, they are particularly helpful to some people, including the following.
- People with limited mobility: If you have difficulty using traditional floss for whatever reason – such as those who have limited range of motion due to arthritis or stroke, or people with carpal tunnel syndrome or those who suffer from uncontrollable tremors, for example – water flossers can be an excellent alternative way to clean between your teeth.
- People wearing certain types of dental appliances: Using floss effectively can be difficult for people who wear certain dental appliances, such as traditional braces or dental bridges, for example. Water flossing makes cleaning around these appliances easy.
- People who are more prone to or have a history of gum disease: If you have already experienced gum disease, you know all too well how important it is to clean around your teeth and gums. You’ll find that water flossers are an excellent addition to your normal oral hygiene routine.
Studies conducted over the past several years have shown that water flossing is much more effective than using manual floss and other flossing alternatives. That being said, most dentists would agree to continue to floss manually in addition to using the water flosser. So the routine would include first brushing, next using manual floss, and finishing up with a water flosser. If you’ve ever wondered whether or not you would benefit from one of these devices, the answer is a resounding yes!