Seriously, you might say? That isn’t what I learned in school. The same is true for me. In fact the only thing I learned in school about oral irrigation was that it didn’t remove plaque so there was no point in recommending it. It wasn’t until I was a practicing hygienist and had a patient who had starting using it and greatly improved his oral heath that I became more informed about the product and its benefits.
Where did this idea that the Water Flosser cannot remove plaque come from? My guess is that it has to do with the word ‘water.’ In school, we learn that plaque cannot be removed by simply swishing with water; mechanical action is required. This is true, and what makes the Water Flosser different is that it utilizes pulsation and pressure to deliver the water.
A 2009 study at USC found that a three-second application of pulsating water from the Waterpik® Water Flosser set at medium pressure removed 99.9% of plaque from the treated area. The researchers concluded that the study demonstrated that the hydraulic forces produced by the Water Flosser can remove plaque from tooth surfaces.
Recently, a study found that not only does the Water Flosser remove plaque, but it does it more effectively than string floss. Subjects abstained from all oral hygiene from 23-25 hours then used a manual toothbrush and either string floss or a Water Flosser. The people who used the Water Flosser had 29% better plaque removal. Looking at the approximal area, the Water Flosser beat floss again being 29% better.
The next time your patient complains they can’t, won’t, or don’t like to floss, recommend the Water Flosser. You and they will be pleasantly surprised!