Do I still need to brush my teeth if I am using a Waterpik?By: Joyce Kahng, DDS •November 15, 2023
Oral care is made up of a variety of different at-home and in-office tools and procedures. This includes Waterpiks.
While you know you should brush and floss, you may have heard of a Waterpik and be curious about what exactly it is and does, and whether you need one. Is a Waterpik like a toothbrush? Is it like floss? Does it replace brushing or flossing?
Below is more information about what Waterpiks are, why you should consider purchasing a Waterpik, whether you need to continue to brush and floss when using a Waterpik, and more.
A Waterpik is an oral healthcare device that uses pressurized water to remove plaque and food from between your teeth. Other names for Waterpiks are “oral irrigators” and “water flossers.”
So, do you still need to brush your teeth if you are using a Waterpik? Yes! A Waterpik is not intended to replace a toothbrush. Instead, it should be used in conjunction with your toothbrush. You’ll need to brush your teeth for at least 2 minutes twice a day (all four quadrants), along with using your Waterpik.
Yes, you still need to floss if you use a Waterpik. A Waterpik should be an addition to your brushing and flossing regimen, not a replacement. A Waterpik isn’t as efficient at removing the sticky film of bacteria from between your teeth. By using the Waterpik in conjunction with floss, though, you can get all of those hard-to-reach areas and clean your teeth much more efficiently.
A Waterpik creates a strong, pressurized stream when used which is great for the cleaning of teeth and gums. As it removes plaque buildup and food from between your teeth, it is helpful for improving the health of your teeth and gums. It can also be more comfortable than other cleaning methods and can be helpful for those with braces.
Below is more detailed information about why you should consider using a Waterpik as part of your oral healthcare regimen…
One of the main advantages of a Waterpik is the ability to remove plaque very efficiently (especially with the help of brushing and flossing). Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that forms on your teeth and leads to problems like gum disease and tooth decay. There are some hard-to-reach areas (like the spaces between teeth along the gumline) that a Waterpik can hit. This allows you to remove plaque that could otherwise be difficult to get to.
Waterpiks are also able to reach deeper into the periodontal pockets. These are the spaces between the teeth and gums that are susceptible to infection.
The health of your gums is extremely important. A Waterpik helps to improve the health of your gums and avoid gum disease. (If you do end up with gum disease, though, make sure you schedule an appointment with your dentist).
Waterpiks are effective at removing bacteria from the gums, which helps to both treat and prevent gum disease. The high-pressure water stream can also stimulate the gums, which promotes healing. Use your Waterpik regularly to help keep your gums healthy and prevent the development of gum disease.
Waterpiks are super easy to use and convenient. There aren’t really any special skills or techniques required when using a Waterpik. Just follow the instructions you get when you purchase your Waterpik, or watch a YouTube video. When you first get your Waterpik, fill the reservoir with water. Then point the tip of the water pick at your teeth and gums and let the water do the rest!
Waterpiks can be very gentle on teeth and gums, which can be helpful for those with sensitive teeth or gums. They are unlikely to cause irritation or damage to gum tissue.
With the ease of use and overall comfort, there is no reason to not buy a Waterpik!
Waterpiks are very customizable, and most allow users to adjust the pressure and flow of the water stream. This is important, as different people have unique oral health needs. If you want to get rid of more stubborn plaque, a higher pressure may be the right choice. If you have sensitive gums, a gentler stream may be best to avoid irritation.
Most Waterpiks will come with multiple settings. Make sure when you purchase your Waterpik that there are multiple settings available. More than likely, this will be the case, though.
For those with braces or dental implants, a Waterpik can be super helpful. Anyone with braces knows how difficult brushing and flossing is, and how easy it can be to miss a spot. There are lots of places for food particles and bacteria to hide. With a Waterpik, it’s much easier to keep your braces clean and get to those tough-to-reach spaces. Waterpiks can also be sensitive on implants and will allow you to remove plaque and bacteria without causing damage.
Waterpiks are a convenient option for those that have implants or braces.
Along with brushing, flossing, rinsing, and using a Waterpik, you should visit your dentist every six months for a regular checkup and cleaning. This is very important for your overall oral health. No matter how well you take care of your teeth and gums at home, it is not a replacement for visiting your dentist for a professional cleaning.
Your dentist will be able to diagnose any oral health issues you are experiencing during your visit—which is imperative for the ongoing health of your teeth and gums. Don’t rely solely on your toothbrush, floss, and Waterick to keep your teeth and gums healthy.
Make sure to schedule an appointment with your dentist if you don’t have one in the books!
DOCTOR + FOUNDER