Water flosser is a great complement to your daily brushing and flossing routine as it helps to remove any food that may be stuck between your teeth. While only water is required for an effective water flossing, can you put actually mouthwash in it?
The answer is YES; it is perfectly safe to use a mouthwash in your Waterpik water flosser. In fact, the habit is recommended by several dentist due to the health benefits of mouthwash. However, there is currently no clinical study or scientific research to support the any claim that the use of mouthwash in your water floss routine will provide any additional benefits beyond the use of warm water alone.
What is a Water Flosser?
Water flosser, or oral irrigator, is a dental device that jets out water to dislodge food particles that are stuck between your teeth. This is achieved through the use of a motorized pump which pumps out pressurized water out of the nozzle tip and into the mouth.
A water flosser helps to removes plaque and prevents tartar, a brown colored deposit that forms when plaque hardens, from forming on the teeth. According to American Dental Association (ADA), water flossers that have received the ADA Seal of Acceptance are all proven to have shown efficacy in removing plaque from the teeth.
Plaque is a sticky film made up of millions of bacteria. These bacteria feeds on any leftover food particles in the mouth and produces acid which over time, destroys the tooth enamel and leads to periodontal diseases such as gingivitis and periodontitis.
While water flosser should not replace your toothbrush, it serves as a great alternative to traditional flossing. This is especially so for people who have had dental work (such as braces) where waxed string flossing would be difficult to use.
In fact, a 2013 clinical study found out that the water flosser group was 29% more effective than the waxed string floss group at removing plaque from the surface of the tooth. This is primarily due to the ease of using a water flosser as compared to a string floss; the latter requires skills to identify areas where plaque still lingers as well as the dexterity to utilize the string floss.
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There are generally three types of water flosser:
- Countertop. This is the most common and heaviest of the three. It offers a larger water reservoir, more pressure settings, and more advanced features, making a favourite among those who uses a water flosser at home.
- Cordless. A cordless (also known as travel) water flosser is essentially a miniature version of its countertop counterpart. However, it has a smaller water reservoir, less settings and a lower water pressure.
- Shower/Faucet: This style of water flosser is attached directly to your sink and shower and does not require any electricity. While it offers much less feature and control over the water pressure, it does not require a water reservoir.
Today, Waterpik remains the most popular brand of water flosser.
How to Use Mouthwash in Waterpik?
Here are the steps that you should take when using mouthwash in your Waterpik water flosser:
- Fill up the water flosser reservoir with warm water.
- Add your preferred mouthwash to the reservoir. Ensure that you do not exceed the ratio of one unit of mouthwash per unit of water)
- Carry out your water floss routine as per normal
- After your routine, clean the unit by filling up the reservoir with warm water. Rinse the inside of the nozzle by pointing the tip into the sink
There are many who believes that mouthwash should not be put in a water flosser as the mixture could cause damage to the device. This is partially true, as a high concentration of mouthwash could ruin the plastic parts of the device. There are several other things you need to take note of when adding a non-water solution to your water flosser:
- Avoid exceeding the 1:1 ratio of mouthwash to water.
- Avoid adding essential oils (such as eucalyptus oil, tea tree oil, or spearmint oil)
- Avoid adding bleach or a diluted bleach solution.
- Avoid adding iodine or a diluted iodine solution
- Always rinse the machine (including the water reservoir and the nozzle) after using a solution other than water.
Ignoring any of the above warning may dramatically reduce the performance and lifespan of your Waterpik water flosser. Also, be aware that the addition of any additives into your water flosser may void the warranty of the product.
Recommended Mouthwash for Water Flosser
Looking to use a mouthwash for your water flosser? Here are a list of mouthwash products that are recommended by dentists and are safe for use in most major water flosser devices in the market:
- Listerine Freshburst Antiseptic Mouthwash
- TheraBreath Fresh Breath Dentist Formulated Oral Rinse
- Tom’s of Maine Natural Wicked Fresh! Alcohol-Free Mouthwash
- Crest Pro Health Multi-Protection Mouthwash
- Colgate Total Pro-Shield Alcohol Free Mouthwash
If you are unsure about which mouthwash or how to operate a water flosser, consult your dentist for advice.
To conclude, it is safe to include a small volume of mouthwash into your Waterpik water flosser. However, the effectiveness of using a mouthwash over warm water is still to be debated and researched on. Furthermore, the benefits of a water flosser comes down to how experienced an individual is with the device.
It is also recommended to consult with your dentist to determine the best mouthwash for you, as they will take into account your individual oral health needs and any specific oral health conditions you may have.