Dental irrigation is the process of using a stream of pulsating, pressurized water to clean below the gum line and the areas between the teeth that a toothbrush cannot reach. This process is also known as “water flossing”, “oral irrigation”, and “pocket irrigation”.

In the past, only a dentist would have the tools to perform a dental irrigation. Nowadays, you can perform a dental irrigation yourself using a product known as a water flosser or oral irrigator. Since their creation in 1962, water flossing devices have been subject to numerous tests and studies to determine their effectiveness.

Benefits of Dental Irrigation using an Oral Irrigator

Oral irrigators have been proven to provide numerous benefits, including:

  • Removal of 99.9% of plaque biofilm in treated areas, which if left untreated can harden and become tartar.
  • Reduction of overall amount of bacteria that can cause gum disease.
  • Reduced risk of gingivitis.
  • Reduced gum bleeding.
  • Removal of bacteria which cause halitosis (bad breath).

By simply adding an oral irrigator into your oral care routine, you can drastically reduce your chances of developing any sort of gum disease.

Though oral irrigation was originally designed to be an alternative to dental flossing, dentists recommend you water floss in addition to using dental floss twice a day.

Who Should Use Dental Irrigation?

Many people struggle to use floss simply because, for one reason or another, they have difficulty with the floss string. Some people simply don’t like it. Others have more legitimate reasons, such as a physical impairment. Perhaps they are equipped with orthodontic appliances, like braces, which make traditional string flossing very difficult when navigating around the metal wires.

Dental implants, sensitive gums, or simply not knowing how to floss; there are numerous reasons why a water flosser can be a viable substitute to dental floss. Studies indicate that people who fit into the categories mentioned above can remove three times the amount of plaque compared to a floss threader, and more than five times compared to those who only use a toothbrush.

People who have diabetes are often at risk of periodontal disease. Even when they have a stable glucose level, they tend to be at greater risk of developing gum inflammation and bleeding that non-diabetics. Thus, they can benefit greatly from using an oral irrigator to clean their teeth and gums.

Individuals who have dental implants must also be careful to maintain a high level of oral cleanliness. Implants can fail if plaque builds up and inflames nearby gum tissue. Thus, a water flosser can eliminate the plaque and prevent the occurrence of gingivitis and gum bleeding.

Lastly, those who simply dislike string flossing should consider using a water flosser. Dental irrigation is very easy with modern devices. You simply need to fill the water reservoir with water, set the appropriate water pressure, and and turn on the device to begin flossing. The water will be pumped out from the reservoir through tubes into the flosser handle and out of the tip. Depending on the product, you may be able to replace the tips with special ones that can provide an even better cleaning experience.

At, we have numerous water flosser reviews that can help you decide on the right product for you. A great starting point is the Waterpik Complete Care series, which combine both a water flosser and an electric toothbrush into a single product. Buying a water flosser and electric toothbrush separately will cost more than this, so it provides unparalleled value for customers looking to get the proper oral care products to take care of their dental health. For users who are on the go, consider getting the Waterpik Traveler – a lightweight, compact water flosser that is designed to be taken with you on long trips.