I have always been the kind of person who enjoys the ritual of getting ready for bed. I love the process of washing the day off of my face with cleansing wipes, doing my skincare regimen, and brushing my teeth. Both my morning and nightly routines are some of my favorite moments of the day, when I can take a moment to breathe and perform the simple steps that make me feel good.
Lately, I have been looking for ways to upgrade my dental health routine in particular. There are plenty of exciting tools available that make cleaning your teeth more efficient, and one product I am personally considering investing in is a Waterpik.
To learn more about water flossers, I spoke to dentist and Waterpik spokesperson Dr. Chris Strandburg, D.D.S. (who also happens to be a former Bachelorette contestant, for all of the reality TV fans out there). He shared tons of helpful advice on how to best use a water flosser and why I should consider making the switch from regular floss.
Since bacteria tends to accumulate between teeth and below the gum line, the pressure of a Waterpik is helpful in flushing away any build-up in hard-to-reach spots.
"This method provides the same benefit of removing plaque and debris from between teeth, but has the added benefit of gum irrigation, or, in other words, 'washing' your teeth and gums," explains Dr. Strandburg. "The American Dental Association embraces Waterpik water flossers as a suitable interdental cleaner."
As for actually using a water flosser, you should stick to the rule of brushing and flossing twice a day. It is best to floss with a Waterpik before brushing because the stream of water clears away food debris, and it is then easier for fluoride from your toothpaste to coat the sides of your teeth.
For all of its perks, a Waterpik does require a bit more maintenance than your typical dental tools. You have to clean the water reservoir by massaging the valve under warm water for 30-45 seconds and letting it air-dry. To clean the flosser tip, you should soak it in a mixture that is two parts water, one part hydrogen peroxide or white vinegar for five minutes. You should follow these steps every one to three months. And remember to replace flosser tips every three to six months.
Ultimately, Dr. Strandburg understands that though superimportant, flossing is not necessarily everyone's favorite part of the day. For people who don't like to floss, he recommends the Waterpik Sonic-Fusion, an all-in-one device that is both a toothbrush and a flosser.
"After recommending Waterpik Sonic-Fusion to my patients, they almost always tell me that it's actually fun to floss with water!" says Dr. Strandburg. "They mention that Sonic-Fusion has been the best solution to help ensure flossing isn't skipped in their everyday routine, because it's easier and more convenient for them."
Keep reading for Dr. Strandburg's seven tips for making the best of your water flossing experience.
Ideally (but not mandatory), use the water flosser before you brush.
For comfort reasons, make sure to use warm water in the reservoir.
To minimize messiness, place the flossing toothbrush head in your mouth before turning it on and close your lips tightly around the brush head or stylus.
Look into the sink - not the mirror - when using the water flosser mode. This also helps avoid mess.
Tackle one quadrant of your mouth at a time, turning off the water between sections to spit.
Spend one to two seconds on each tooth, remembering to get both the outer and inner side.
For an optional added burst of minty freshness, you can put a capful of your favorite mouthwash into the reservoir!