Wendy Parker, RDH
Water Piks – What You Need to Know
Ever walk down the dental isle and feel overwhelmed by all the available products there are to take care of your teeth? You’re not alone! They range from toothbrushes, to toothpastes, floss, water picks, tongue scrapers, etc. It’s difficult to know exactly what is right for your mouth with so many choices!
One of the most frequent questions I get as a hygienist is “So do I have to floss? Can’t I just use a water pik?’’ Each mouth is evaluated by the hygienist and given suggestions. Here is some great information for you regarding water piks if water picks are right for you!
There are 3 main types of water piks: a counter top water pik with a reservoir, a hand held, cordless pik with a reservoir, or a Shower Flosser. Both the counter top and hand-held water piks use water (or antiseptic rinse of your choice) from the reservoir to irrigate tissues the tissues and flush out food trapped in between the teeth. There are different pressure settings so if it seems like there is too much pressure, turn it down till your mouth adjusts to using it and then increase incrementally. The 3rd main type of water pik is a shower flosser. This one you can use in the shower. It attaches to your shower head and uses that water to irrigate the tissues and clean your mouth. A lot of people like this option since the mess is contained in the shower and not on your countertop of mirror! When using the water pik be sure to aim the pressurized water right at the gumline and in-between the teeth to ensure that you are removing as much plaque as possible.
Water piks are a great option for adding into your daily hygiene routine and can benefit mouths that require additional attention like periodontal disease, food traps between teeth, bridges, implants, and braces. These units can range in cost anywhere from $30-$90 depending on how many settings you need and can be found in several local stores like Wal-Mart, Target, and Walgreens or ordered online too!
Here are some simple steps to using your water pik:
- Fill the reservoir with warm water and place firmly on the base.
- Select a tip and click into the handle.
Note: If this is the first use, set the pressure control dial to high. Point the tip into the sink and turn on until water flows. Turn unit off.
Start with the lowest pressure setting, lean over the sink, place tip in your mouth.
- Turn unit on. Close lips enough to prevent splashing, let water flow from your mouth into sink.
- Aim the tip at the gumline.
- When finished, turn unit off and use the tip eject button to remove the tip.
Happy Water piking!
Want to learn more? Visit us at