An effective tool for cleaning braces: Waterpik
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While it is possible to have excellent oral hygiene during orthodontic treatment with a traditional manual toothbrush and floss, it does require great dexterity, time and patience. Many of our young patients are busy with school, homework, sports, and a host of other extracurricular activities that limits the amount of time and energy they can spend each evening and morning cleaning their braces. Or they may have difficulty with the technique of thoroughly removing all the plaque on their teeth and around their brackets without their parent’s help.
I always recommend that patients transition to a power toothbrush once they begin orthodontic treatment. Studies have shown that plaque removal in braces patients is significantly more effective with 2 minutes of brushing with a power brush compared with a manual toothbrush.
More recently, I’ve also begun to recommend that patients try a Waterpik. It is an effective tool for cleaning braces that sprays pressurized water through a small tip that can be maneuvered between the teeth and around the gumline to remove dental plaque. In a 28 day study on patients who had braces, one group was given a Waterpik and the other only floss. The Waterpik group had significant reductions in plaque and bleeding gums even in the short 4 weeks in which the study took place. Anecdotally I find that many of the patients with the cleanest braces in our office use a Waterpik nightly.
For more information on Waterpik Water Flossers, visit their website:
“Effect of a dental water jet with orthodontic tip on plaque and bleeding in adolescent patients with fixed orthodontic appliances.” AJODO April 2008; 565-571. http://www.ajodo.org/article/S0889-5406(07)01349-2/fulltext