How to Use a Water Flosser for Teeth and Dental Implants


Water flossing is a great alternative for anyone who dislikes or has trouble using traditional floss. Like conventional floss, a water flosser cleans areas that you can’t reach with a toothbrush. Such as between teeth, around fixed bridges and implants, or just below the gumlines. Our dentist in downtown San Diego recommends using a water flosser on a daily basis to keep your teeth, gums, and dental implants healthy.

What is a Water Flosser?

Water flossers are powered oral care devices that spray a thin, steady stream of water. When aimed toward your teeth and gums, the pressurized stream flushes away food debris and dental plaque from hard-to-reach areas.

Depending on the type of water flosser that you buy, you may be able to adjust the pressure or even change out the various tips. Some even have special designs that make them ideal for cleaning around dental bridges and braces.

There are various types of water flossers on the market. Some attach directly to your bathroom faucet, while others are portable. And then there are countertop versions with their own reservoir. You can even find models that attach to your shower head.

How to Use a Water Flosser

Start Gently: Getting used to using a water flosser can take a bit of practice. At first, your gums might even feel a bit ticklish. As you get used to the stream of water, you can increase the pressure (if applicable) to a comfortable level.

Trace Your Gumlines: Use the tip of your water flosser to slowly trace the edges of the gums, next to every tooth and dental implant. If you have any fixed bridges or implant dentures, take your time to flush the areas underneath the restoration next to your gums.

Pause Between Each Tooth: Each time you reach where two teeth touch, pause for a moment and spend a little extra time at that space, tracing the water flosser up and down and perhaps even angling it a bit more into the gums against each tooth (if you have gum disease.)

Repeat Daily: Like traditional floss, water flossing should be performed at least once a day. The goal is to remove soft dental plaque before it calcifies into tartar. As always, brushing and/or mouthwash does not replace the need for flossing. If those areas aren’t being cleaned with a water flosser or traditional floss, they aren’t being cleaned at all.

Don’t Close Your Mouth: The first few times you use a water flosser will be a little messy. For best results, lean over the sink looking straight down, and keep your mouth open, so that the water can pour out and go straight into the drain. If you’re tempted to look up in the mirror, you might have a bit of clean-up to do.

“Should I Buy a Water Flosser?”

There are several reasons why it may be a good idea to invest in a water flosser (for dental implants or natural teeth.) Such as:

• Dislike for traditional floss
• Trouble using a floss threader
• Multiple dental implants
• Deep periodontal pockets
• Sensitive or tender gums

Water flossers can safely clean down below the gumlines, sometimes making them more effective than using traditional floss. Especially if you have gum disease or recently been treated for a periodontal infection.

If you don’t floss because of how tedious it is, investing in a water flosser could make your oral hygiene routine more effective. Most of our patients who use a water flosser each day have noticeably healthier gums at their dental checkups.

Get a Professional Opinion

Are you due for a checkup? Schedule your next cleaning to talk one-on-one with our dentist or hygienist about the best oral hygiene tools for your smile. Contact Fifth Avenue Dental Arts today for your next exam, cleaning, or dental implants in downtown San Diego.

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