Orthodontist, Author and speaker Dr. Sam Burrow knows that having great oral hygiene care with routine maintenance can be costly, especially if you don’t have dental insurance. The American Dental Association (ADA) and Burrow and Welchel Orthodontics recommend you see your dentist twice a year for regular checkups and cleanings. However, Dr. Sam Burrow explains, by not keeping up with your routine maintenance and seeing your general Dentist or Periodontist routinely it can be even more costly! If your oral hygiene is lax, the cost of dental care rises, depending upon what it needed to correct the situation, be it a routine filling, root canal, or implant and bridge to replace a lost tooth.
So what does this have to do with Orthodontics?! A lot. Oral hygiene and schedule maintenance recalls with your general dental dentist become even more important during active orthodontic treatment. The appliance can increase the surface area for plaque, food and debris to be retained that can cause demineralization (white spots!), gum disease and eventually irreversible bone loss.
Home care also becomes more vital. The best guarantee for good dental health has always been, and still is, regular brushing and flossing. Flossing can become even more difficult with braces on and is something that many of us do not do nearly as often as we should (some maybe not at all!). And it’s not just our adolescent patients here at Burrow and Welchel Orthodontics, we also have trouble with our adult patients flossing enough.
Due to the time consuming act of having to floss a lot of orthodontic patients look to the WaterPik for a solution. The WaterPik is sometimes considered simpler and faster to use than dental floss, but the question is does it work as well to keep teeth clean rather than regular flossing?
It is no doubt that using the WaterPik is much easier than traditional dental floss, unfortunately it doesn’t do the job as well. The water has a difficult time penetrating between teeth that tightly fit together or are crowded, which prevents proper removal of food and plaque which can cause gum disease and decay.
So, the PLAIN AND SIMPLE ANSWER … Is a Waterpik as effective in removing food and particles from between teeth and around the gum line as good as dental flossing? No!
That being said, it is a great way to dislodge and loosen up pieces of food from between the teeth, especially while wearing braces; so can be a great tool for home care while wearing braces but will NOT take the place of traditional floss. At Burrow and Welchel Orthodontics, we want to stress the importance of both brushing and flossing during treatment to maintain good dental health. If you want to use a Waterpik, that’s great, just don’t use it as a substitute for flossing.
Check out Dr. Sam Burrow on YouTube channel discussing the topic of the waterpik and its place in the orthodontic world.