Is a Water Flosser Really a Good Idea to Fight Periodontal Disease?

water flosser

Periodontal disease comes in many shapes and forms, but the most common one is gingivitis. You’ll likely notice it one morning while you’re brushing your teeth; your gums seem much redder and more swollen than they usually are, and they might bleed when you try to floss your teeth. If this sounds like you, you’re not alone – 47% of adults over the age of 30 have some form of periodontal disease.

When periodontal disease sets in, your local periodontist will likely tell you that you need to be careful about cleaning your teeth.  Without diligent oral hygiene, plaque will form again, harden into tartar, and sneak beneath your gum line to start a round of periodontal disease all over again. “But wait,” we hear you say, “I’ve heard a water flosser can give me a better clean than I can do on my own with a brush. But they’re pricier than a brush, so are they really worth it?”

Water flossers first came about in the early 1960s, and for a long time, periodontists weren’t really sure what they thought about them. They seemed to work, sure, but did they really make a difference in a patient’s periodontal health?

Today, we’ve got the data to give you a conclusive answer. Read on to discover whether or not a water flosser can help you fight off periodontal disease.

First Things First: What’s a Water Flosser?

A water flosser is a device designed to shoot a super-thin, pressurized stream of water. It usually includes a reservoir to hold the water, a motor, and a small, angled tip to allow you to easily direct the water where you want it to go.

Can a Water Flosser Effectively Fight Periodontal Disease?

The simple answer is: maybe. Bear with us; we’ll explain why.

It depends on your regular oral hygiene routine, how far the periodontal disease has progressed, and whether or not you have any dental implants, braces, gum grafts, or other periodontal treatments.

Braces, for example, can be hard to clean around with traditional floss, which is where a water flosser gains a clear advantage over maintaining better oral health. It can also be easier for individuals who have a motor impairment or have an otherwise hard time manipulating floss. Dental implants must be kept clean to last well, and water flossers provide an easy way to tackle those hard-to-reach areas.

Water flossers do pull ahead of traditional floss in one key aspect, and that is their reach. As periodontal disease progresses, it can create pockets in your gum line, making it easier for bacteria to grow and accumulate. Floss can’t reach into those pockets, but a water flosser can. The pulsating stream of water is also gentler on your gums than regular floss, which means it’s less likely to inflame or irritate the gums as it cleans.

How Do You Know if You Need a Water Flosser?

The best way to know for sure if a water flosser is right for you is to consult your local dentist or periodontist. They’ll be able to give you a recommendation based on the current state of your periodontal disease (or likelihood to develop it), and will additionally be able to provide you with the names of water flossers that have been proven to perform well.

Where Should You Get a Water Flosser?

When your dentist or periodontist provides you with a recommended brand of water flosser, they’ll also likely tell you where you can purchase one if you so choose. In fact, at the Pittsburgh Periodontist, we’re such big fans of water flossers that it’s currently the grand prize in our quarterly giveaway (you can find more details on our Facebook page).

No matter whether you choose a water flosser or stick with your traditional roll of floss, the important thing is to floss consistently every day. Periodontal disease thrives in neglect, so don’t give it that chance. Brush for at least two minutes, twice a day, and floss thoroughly and well, especially around any dental implants or other reconstructive work you may have.

If you’d like to learn more about the services provided by Pittsburgh Periodontist, including same-day dental implants and customized plans for your oral health and care, give us a call at (412) 787-7555. You can also send us a message online.

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