Waterpiks Good for Kids and Adults?

Updated on October 27, 2010
M.W. asks from Nampa, ID
8 answers

Hi All,

I have been thinking of buying a waterpik or that type of product to use instead of flossing, and maybe instead of brushing, because they have a toothbrush on some of them. I don't like floride toothpastes for my kids because I know they always swallow a little bit, even when I am right there. They are not thorough brushing their teeth and already, one of my kids has had a cavity filled at the age of 4.

Are these products safe or does the water pressure cause gum damage?


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answers from Denver on

Hi M.,

I am a dentist. PLEASE do not use a waterpik instead of brushing and flossing. I actually do NOT recommend waterpiks in the absence of gum disease or braces. Plaque is what you need to clean off your teeth every day and a waterpik does NOT remove plaque. Plaque is sticky like left over butter on your plate. You can spray the plate with water from the sink and it moves around but does not come clean. Brushing and flossing are the only ways to remove the plaque. Toothpaste is not required to remove this plaque but does have valuable fluoride to help strengthen tooth enamel and resist cavities. For young children, use just a smear of toothpaste.

Some other great tips for avoiding cavities: Brush at least twice per day. One time being the last thing before bed. Drink ONLY WATER BETWEEN MEALS. Nothing but water in a sippy cup or bottle to be carried around or left with a napping/sleeping child. For adults or children old enough to spit out the toothpaste: do not rinse with water after brushing your teeth. Use the toothpaste solution you created while brushing as a mouthwash, swishing it between the teeth for an extra minute or two after brushing. Then spit out all you can but DO NOT RINSE, eat or drink for at least 30 minutes. You get a fluoride treatment every time you brush! Hope that helps. G.



answers from Denver on

I was required to use a Waterpik when I had braces back in high school. I wasn't good at flossing around the braces so it was a good help. Didn't do any damage. In fact, my orthodontist required me to use it. However, flossing can often get some of the stuff that is stuck on the teeth (because it is right up next to the surface of the tooth) that the waterpik cannot. The waterpik is definitely not a substitute for brushing.

It sounds like you are worried about ingesting the toothpaste. I switched to a baking soda based toothpaste. The taste took a little while to get used to but now I don't even notice it. And I don't feel like I have to worry about what any of us are ingesting if a little bit gets swallowed. I typically use the Tom's of Maine brand but I think that Arm & Hammer has a baking soda toothpaste, as well. Tom's has both toothpaste and toothpaste gel options. The Gel tastes better than the plain toothpaste.



answers from Casper on

I don't see why they would hurt, be sure to get a fluoride prescription and make sure that YoU brush their back teeth well.

My dentist also told me that it is best if they eat 3 solid meals rather than snacking, that greatly cuts down on bacteria.



answers from Denver on

I know they are wonderful for dental health, but I don't think you're supposed to replace brushing with them. You can buy non-flouride toothpastes -I think most of the natural ones don't have any- but as for brushing, our dentist always told us to do it for them until they really have it down, same as flossing. I know it's not an easy thing to deal with!



answers from Salt Lake City on

Water piks are good for messaging the gums but don't give up brushing or flossing because nothing can replace them. Make sure they have a soft toothbrush to help message the gums also. If the gums are bleeding, it means more brushing and flossing are required. I worked in the dental field for about 20 years and saw a lot of little kids with cavities.


answers from Fort Collins on

I like my waterpik, it's lasted a long time and the water pressure is adjustable so start with it low and adjust it to the comfortable pressure for the person using it.

I put mouthwash in 50/50 with the water and I like that esp. if I don't have time to do a thorough brushing before heading out of the house, but I still brush at least twice a day and my dentist said that you still want to floss at least a few times a week because the waterpik cannot remove everything from between your teeth. Ok, good luck.



answers from Albuquerque on

Waterpiks are great products for kids, as an 'in addition to' product. Nothing can replace a good brushing technique, but if your have kids are too young to floss, oral irrigation can be a great way to get those interproximal areas (between the teeth) clean. The pressure is not going to damage the gum tissue but I would suggest getting a device that has an adjustable pressure setting. Some products can deliver a really high pressured stream that can be uncomfortable and therefore not *fun* to use.
Do not use a waterpik as a fluoride delivery system for children. Tap water will do the job of flushing away food debris, and there's obviously no need to worry if the child swallows any.




answers from Boise on

There was just an article in Reader's Digest "50 Secrets from your Dentist" where a dentist said that he wished everyone would still use Waterpiks. Using that in conjunction with brushing and flossing seems ideal.

Here's a link to the article if you're interested in reading it: http://www.rd.com/living-healthy/50-dentist-secrets-ddms-...

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