Waterpiks and Air Flossers, Should You Use Them?

braces for teens, water picks and air flossersDuring orthodontics, the question often arises, “should I use waterpiks and air flossers?” At Gardner Orthodontics, we understand that orthodontic appliances can make good oral hygiene more difficult, so we encourage our patients to use waterpiks and air flossers in addition to brushing and flossing. Both waterpiks and air flossers are designed to clean between and around teeth to help quickly remove stubborn plaque and debris from hard-to-reach spots.


Waterpiks, also known as “oral irrigators” or “water flossers,” provide a range of water pressures you can choose from to clean between and around your teeth. They also have a “pulsation setting” to stimulate and massage your gums to keep them healthy.

What Waterpiks Do and How to Use Them

Waterpiks are handheld devices that use water to deeply clean your teeth and gums in only 60 seconds! The Waterpik comes as a compact unit that sits on your bathroom sink.   Waterpiks are safe for children as young at six years old with adult supervision. They are especially helpful in children and teenagers with braces or orthodontic appliances that make good oral hygiene more difficult. The steps for using a waterpik are quick and easy to learn:

  • Fill the reservoir with lukewarm water or antibacterial mouthwash.
  • Select your tip (orthodontic tips are available!) and press it firmly into the handle.
  • Adjust the pressure control. It’s recommended to start at low pressure.
  • Lean over your sink and place the tip in your mouth.
  • Turn the unit on. Close your lips to avoid splashing, while allowing water to flow from your mouth into your sink.
  • Start with your back teeth and pause briefly between teeth, aiming the tip just above your gum line at a 90-degree angle.
  • When you’ve finished, turn the unit off and use the tip eject button to remove the tip. 

Air Flossers

Air flossers are handheld battery-operated devices that are about the size of an electric toothbrush. They use “microburst technology”—rapid bursts of compressed air and water droplets—to blast out plaque and debris. They’re extremely effective in cleaning hard-to-reach spots.

What Air Flossers Do and How to Use Them

  • Air flossers have an angled, slim nozzle, so you can easily reach all your teeth.
  • Their point-and-click design makes air flossers easy to operate, even for children.
  • Air flossers’ tips help you aim for the spaces between your teeth.
  • After choosing your “blast” setting, you simply place the nozzle tip against the spaces between your teeth, working from back to front on each row of your teeth.

At Gardner Orthodontics, we are delighted to be able to recommend a new generation of oral hygiene “helpers” to our patients! If you have oral hygiene concerns or orthodontic needs and would like to set up an appointment, please contact us at 804-282-0505 or schedule an appointment online.

Gardner & La Rochelle Orthodontics in Richmond, VA