Can Waterpiks Damage Your Gums?
For patients who have braces that make traditional flossing difficult, our staff at Prescott Dentistry often recommend a Waterpik as a reasonable alternative. However, many patients initially worry that such a device will hurt their gums. Waterpiks use pressurized water to remove plaque from teeth, which many assume could damage their gums or teeth. So the question remains, can Waterpiks damage gums?
Are Waterpiks and Flossing Bad For Gums?
Many patients have heard stories of how friends or family have experienced bleeding gums when using floss. Such accounts have turned them away from using specialized cleaning methods for their teeth, relying solely upon daily brushing. However, while bleeding may begin when flossing occurs, the root cause usually is not flossing. Generally, when bleeding occurs while using floss or Waterpiks, it results from tartar and bacteria build-up or improper technique.
It may seem odd that your cleaning method will cause bleeding when fighting tartar and bacteria effectively. However, flossing and Waterpiks often reach areas that toothbrushes can not. This means that tartar and bacteria build-up that damage teeth and gums is usually more severe and requires rougher cleaning. This cleaning may cause bleeding initially.
However, bleeding will lessen over time unless the underlying issues are particularly severe once appropriately treated. For instance, clinical trials have found that flossing paired with toothbrushing is more effective for treating mild gum disease or reducing plaque than simply brushing alone. In clinical trials conducted to determine their effectiveness, water flossers such as Waterpiks have likewise been found to fight gum disease and reduce bleeding gums.
As for improper techniques, many patients often have trouble using proper water flossing techniques due to lack of usage and difficulty spotting the differences between proper and improper methods. Of course, improper methods place users at risk of damaging their gums and causing them to bleed. However, this is not a reason to stop using Waterpiks. You should instead take steps to improve your techniques when using a Waterpik, as proper usage will improve your overall oral health.
Are Waterpiks Better Than Traditional Flossing?
Generally, dentists recommend Waterpiks to patients who have trouble using traditional floss due to either physical limitations or braces. These tools are generally easier to use and less painful than traditional floss. However, traditional flossing remains the most effective means of cleaning hard-to-reach points between one’s teeth. Waterpiks aren’t quite as effective, and patients should be aware of this fact when choosing their cleaning tools.
Experiencing Bleeding Gums Even When Using A Waterpik Appropriately?
There may be a point when, even while using proper techniques, your daily routine of flossing or using a Waterpik does not lessen the bleeding you experience. In these cases, you may have a more serious condition that threatens your health that requires specialized treatment If you suspect this to be the case, do not hesitate to contact us at Prescott Dentistry. Our dentists are biomimetic dentistry experts and will work with you to determine a treatment that works best for you.