The Water Flosser: An ideal device for anyone in orthodontic appliances

water flosser

This article is sponsored content brought to you by Waterpik.

by Carol A. Jahn, RDH, MS

Everyone wants to smile with confidence.  That’s why orthodontic appliances have become increasing popular with both children and adults.  While the vast majority of those in orthodontic treatment are youth, it is estimated that about 20%–30% of those wearing braces in Australia are adults.  Advances in materials and technology, including ceramic brackets and clear aligners make wearing orthodontic appliances more appealing and easier than before.

Regardless of what type of appliance that is worn, data indicates that over time, bleeding and gingivitis worsen.1   

Plaque accumulation is also similar regardless of applicance1, and can lead to the appearance of unsightly and problematic white spots post-treatment.  Meticulous oral hygiene is imperative for those with braces yet brackets and wires make traditional flossing both challenging and time-consuming.  

One product that is both easy to use and effective in those with orthodontic appliances is the Waterpik® Water Flosser. The device comes with a variety of tips including one with an innovative tapered brush that helps to remove hard-to-reach plaque around brackets and wires.   

A four week study found that adolescents who used this specialised jet tip, the Orthodontic Tip, had better reductions in plaque and bleeding compared to those using a manual brush and floss and those using a manual brush only.

water flosser

The study consisted of 106 adolescents ages 11-17. All were in current treatment with full-mouth brackets (bands or bonds) and archwires. They were randomised into three groups2:

1. Twice daily manual brushing plus once daily Water Flossing using the Orthodontic Tip and plain water. The Water Flosser was used at the 5 (50 psi) setting

2. Twice daily manual brushing plus daily string flossing with a floss threader

3. Twice daily manual brushing

Subjects were given written and verbal instructs for brushing and the Water Flosser and floss threader.  They were instructed to not use any other homecare products. They were also given fluoridated toothpaste. The subjects had to demonstrate proficiency with their assigned products at baseline and day 14.2

At the conclusion of the study on day 28, all three groups showed a statistically significant reduction in plaque and bleeding from baseline.  

When comparing the groups, the Water Flosser group was significantly better at reducing plaque and bleeding compared to manual brushing and flossing and manual brushing alone.2

  • Compared to brushing and flossing, the Water Flosser group was 3.76 times better at reducing plaque and 26% better at reducing bleeding2
  • Compared to brushing alone, the Water Flosser group was 5.83 times better at reducing plaque and 53% better at reducing bleeding2

This study demonstrates that adding the Waterpik® Water Flosser to toothbrushing is an effective regime for adolescents with fixed orthodontic applications.  

Importantly not only is the Waterpik® Water Flosser more effective than flossing with a floss threader, it is easier and faster.  

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1. Chhibber A et al. Which orthodontic appliance is best for oral hygiene? A randomized clinical trial.  Am J Orthod Dentofacial Orthop 2018;153(2);175-183.

2. Sharma NC et al. Effect of a dental water jet with orthodontic tip on plaque and bleeding in adolescent patients with fixed orthodontic appliances. Am J Orthod Dentofacial Orthop 2008; 133: 565–571


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