Can Waterpik Replace Traditional Flossing?

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People hoped the Waterpik would be the answer to their traditional flossing woes. While effective in its own right, this oral irrigator is not a replacement for flossing by any means. It’s a great way to supplement everyday teeth and gum care, but that’s about as far as it goes.

Now that you have your answer to the flossing replacement question, let’s look at where the Waterpik actually fits into the oral care routine. Then again, so much about this accessory’s efficacy is dependent on selecting the right tip, so keep that in mind before incorporating it into your regimen.

How Do You Use a Waterpik?

Flossing is part of the indispensable-three of daily oral care, which also includes brushing and using mouthwash. So, if you think there was no substitute for any of the trio, you would be right.

As implied previously, a Waterpik or water flosser isn’t a substitute for traditional brushing or flossing. You still need to brush your teeth twice a day, followed by flossing. You can, however, incorporate the oral irrigator before or after brushing, specifically in between brushing and traditional flossing. You should also check out this dentist Clackamas for routine cleaning services.

So, how do you use a Waterpik? Just follow the steps.

Step 1: Prepare the Waterpik

Fill the irrigator’s reservoir with lukewarm water and then place the Waterpik’s tip in your mouth. To avoid making a mess, lean over the sink.

Step 2: Start Cleaning

Turn on the Waterpik. Hold the accessory’s handle at a right angle to the teeth and spray. As the water comes out in steady pulses, begin moving it around, making sure to clean in between your teeth.

You’ll want to start from the back and work your way around the mouth to the opposite end. Focus on the in-betweens, gum line, and the tops of your teeth. Don’t forget to clean the back of your teeth, as well.

Step 3: Clean Your Waterpik

After two minutes of cleaning, which is the ideal duration for using a water flosser, empty the reservoir of any excess water. Also, wash it from time to time; otherwise, it could become a breeding ground for bacteria.

How Does the Waterpik Work?

Waterpik flossing is actually similar to traditional flossing in that it helps remove the bits stuck between your teeth. Doing this in tandem with other oral care steps should reduce build-up significantly.


Water flossing makes up for what brushing isn’t able to accomplish, which is work between small spaces and leaves less traditional flossing work for you to do. While not a replacement for flossing, using a Waterpik does help reduce inflammation, bleeding, and gum disease. If you experience either frequently, you may want to incorporate this step into your daily routine.

Waterpik vs. Dental Floss

Since the Waterpik doesn’t replace flossing, it follows that it does not match the dental floss in flossing prowess. It might be good enough to help get rid of plaque, but that is when used in conjunction with other daily oral healthcare activities. Traditional flossing still remains the better plaque and tartar prevention tool.

If you’re looking to try water flossing, incorporate it into your routine instead of using it to replace another. The way it’s done, it may make sense to substitute it for flossing or brushing, but that would be a bad idea. Most dentists would agree, as they consider old-fashioned flossing the best way to remove stuck-on bits between teeth.

Tradition still continues to make its mark even in a product’s latest forms. So much so, in fact, that dental floss still remains relevant in any modern dental care routine. You’re free to integrate newer methods into your regimen, given they are proven effective. Even so, they still won’t be a replacement for the conventional.

Rather, the latest creations should supplement the traditional ways to enhance their efficacy even more. They also address issues that the basic steps don’t, so there is no harm in including them in your routine.

Waterpik Should Make a Good Replacement if You Have No Choice

As great an additional step as water flossing is, there may be situations when it’s better used as a temporary or permanent replacement for flossing. For example, use it if you have trouble using dental floss or had a dental procedure done that doesn’t allow for flossing.

Dental bridges and braces are procedures that can make traditional flossing a nightmare. You may also have periodontal disease or be prone to mouth-drying, in which case a Waterpik would be the ideal method for plaque and tartar prevention.

Outside of oral health issues, you could have problems with your hands, which might not allow you to floss traditionally. Children with braces also find it easier to use a water flosser than dental floss to clean in between their teeth. Whether as a substitute for an activity or addition to a routine, make sure to consult your dentist to know if water flossing is a viable choice.