What is a Water Pick?

Watch Dental Video about Water Pick

In oral hygiene, a water pick is an instrument used to remove food scraps and plaque from the interdental gaps and sulcus.

This valuable dental instrument operates with the aid of a water jet, although it doesn’t replace the toothbrush.

The toothbrush only cleans the tooth above the gums, whereas the water pick destroys plaque underneath the gums as well, in the so-called sulcus. In the animation, you see a tooth in a cross-section: One recognizes the bone, the root of the tooth, the periodontal membrane and the gums. These structures are called the periodontium. Normally, the gums start at the enamel-cement boundary, i.e., at the spot where the dental enamel turns into the root. They rise upward and thus form the so-called sulcus, an area where the gums are not connected to the tooth, but normally fit tightly around it. The sulcus may be 0-3 mm thick.

Water Pick

Water Pick

Plaque is the name for tooth deposits; plaque causes caries and periodontitis. This biofilm is formed by bacteria from saliva and food scraps on the teeth. Mature plaque is organized exactly like a small town; more on that in the video "Plaque". By using a water pick, you destroy plaque in the sulcus as well. In the past, people thought that water picks would flush bacteria deeper into the pocket and therefore rejected the water pick. Today it’s known that this is nonsense; for one thing, bacteria are able to move by means of small appendages (so-called cilia and flagella). Also, it’s not about the destruction of the bacteria themselves, but about restricting their ability to organize and become mature plaque!

In the video "Oral Water Jet" you will see the correct application of the water pick – point the stream at the sulcus and, on the outside, move from the back towards the front. Likewise, on the inside, move from tooth to tooth, briefly stopping in the interdental gaps. At the beginning, the gums may bleed, but don't give up – it’s only a sign that the gums are inflamed. You’ll see that with regular daily use, the gums will recover quickly. Set the strength of the water stream to a level that feels comfortable to you – you’ll notice that you’ll quickly increase its intensity.

Click here to see the video: Oral Water Jet


This post is also available in: German

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