Most patients are familiar with the practice of flossing and brushing. They are the two staples of a daily oral hygiene routine. But therea��s another option that is supposedly able to replace the act of flossing. Water picking, otherwise known as water flossing, is a lesser-known method for cleaning gums and in between teeth. Water picking is a seemingly great option for patients who dona��t want or like to floss, but is it a suitable replacement?
Read on to learn more about water picking, its benefits, and if ita��s a suitable replacement for flossing.
Students in Dental Hygienist Training Should Know How Water Picking Works
There are many different water picking products on the market, but they all essentially do the same thing. They shoot a small, concentrated stream of water out of the tip of the pick into the mouth and onto the surfaces of teeth and gums. Most water picks allow the user to adjust the strength of the stream of water and also set a timer so they know how long to water pick for. Some water picks even have a function that shoots the water in pulsations for further cleaning action. When the stream of water meets the area between the tooth and the gum, the pressure of the water rinses bacteria, leftover food, and plaque away from the tooth and gums.
The Benefits of Water Picking for Students in Dental Hygienist Training
In a study published in the Journal of Clinical Dentistry, the practice of water picking had impressive results on dental hygiene. Seventy participants were divided into groups that either water picked and brushed or flossed and brushed. The group of adults that water picked reduced the amount of plaque they had by 74.4 percent, while the group that used traditional flossing only had a 57.7 per cent reduction. Clearly, in this study, water picking was more effective.
However, in the big picture, studies have shown favourable results for both flossing methods, and dental health professionals seem to be at a crossroads as to which is actually better. Despite this, water picking does have some unique benefits that regular flossing cana��t match. To start with, water picking is a great solution for individuals who cana��t floss, like patients with gum disease and sensitive gums, braces, or who have problems with dexterity in their hands. It can also be a great solution for patients who, no matter how hard they try, cana��t incorporate flossing into their daily oral hygiene routine. Graduates of dental hygienist training will agree that water picking is also excellent for cleansing hard-to-reach gaps that can form between the gums and teeth.
Using Water Picking as a Supplement to Other Dental Health Practices
While water picking does have positive research to back up its effectiveness, most dentists would agree ita��s not suitable as a complete replacement for flossing. As students in dental hygiene courses know, traditional dental floss can be used to clean areas of the mouth that water picking cana��t reach. In addition, the pressure of scraping the dental floss along the tooth is more effective at removing plaque. Plaque build up can lead to cavities and gum disease, and if left untreated, plaque hardens into tartar, which can cause a tootha��s sensitive enamel to break down.
If you have a patient asking if using a water pick is the right choice for their oral health, ita��s best to advise them to use it as a supplement to their daily brushing and flossing. Using the three together will help keep your patienta��s mouth clean and cavity free.
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