Accolades for Water Floss

 

Over the years I have been reluctant to recommend any kind of oral irrigation to my patients. Yes, it does remove debris and may get some of the surface plaque off of the teeth. Also, it may make the patient’s mouth feel and taste better. But on the down side,some patients quit flossing altogether and sometimes don’t even brush and their mouths look terrible. I  have also noticed this with some sonic brushes – the gums looking pretty bad when the patient returns for their regular cleaning appointment.

However, this isn’t the case with everyone.  Recently I have seen challenged patients come and look much better when using water floss. In the first case, and patient of 10 years who has a significant gag reflex and thick fingers, came in looking significantly better when using this tool. He spends the time to use it daily and regularly, and also brushes correctly. I have seen him 3 times since he first reported water floss use, and he is stable at a much improved level, having had a deep cleaning when we first saw him.

Another patient in his mid 70’s has had Parkinson’s disease for many years and is truly challenged in his home care. I am not only concerned about his gums, but he had some significant decay that came about very quickly requiring root canal therapy and crowns. Patients who are challenged with home care and also are taking a lot of medication, well, they need extra help. After 3 months of using the water floss he looked so much better.

Patients who have had a lot of restorative work benefit from this extra level of home care. The point to remember is that this is an extra level of work, not a replacement for brushing, and for some flossing. If an inadequate amount of time and effort are spent on home care efforts, the result will be disappointing.