Oral irrigator

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An oral irrigator

An oral irrigator (also called a dental water jet, dental water toothpick, water flosser, or water pick) is a home dental care device. It uses a stream of pulsating water to remove plaque and food debris between teeth as well as below the gum line. The oral irrigator improves gingival health. The devices can also provide easier cleaning for braces and dental implants.


The first oral irrigator was developed in Fort Collins, Colorado, in 1962, by dentist Gerald Moyer and engineer John Mattingly.[citation needed]

Since that time, oral irrigators have been evaluated in more than 50 scientific studies and have been tested (and proven effective) on people in periodontal maintenance,[1] and those with gingivitis, diabetes, orthodontic appliances, crowns, and implants.[2]

A 2008 meta-analysis of whether oral irrigation is beneficial as an adjunct to tooth brushing concluded that "the oral irrigator does not have a beneficial effect in reducing visible plaque", but suggests it may be beneficial to gingival health in addition to regular oral hygiene measures.[3][4] A study at the University of Southern California found that a 3-second treatment of pulsating water (1,200 pulses per minute) at medium pressure (70 psi) removed 99.9% of plaque biofilm from treated areas.[5][6]

Other uses[edit]

An oral irrigator, while having a specific intended purpose, is just a device to produce a pulsating jet of water, and can be and has been used for other purposes. It has been recommended to remove tonsil stones in those subject to them.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Sharma, N; Lyle, D; Qaqish, J; Galustians, J; Schuller, R (2008). "Effect of a dental water jet with orthodontic tip on plaque and bleeding in adolescent patients with fixed orthodontic appliances". American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics. 133 (4): 565–71, quiz 628.e1–2. doi:10.1016/j.ajodo.2007.12.008.
  2. ^ Jahn, CA (2010). "The dental water jet: A historical review of the literature". Journal of dental hygiene. 84 (3): 114–20. PMID 20579423.
  3. ^ Jin, Lijian (2009). "Is oral irrigation beneficial to gingival health as an adjunct to toothbrushing?". Evidence-Based Dentistry. 10 (2): 40–41. doi:10.1038/sj.ebd.6400644. ISSN 1462-0049.
  4. ^ Husseini, A; Slot, DE; Van der Weijden, GA (2008). "The efficacy of oral irrigation in addition to a toothbrush on plaque and the clinical parameters of periodontal inflammation: a systematic review". Int J Dent Hyg. 6: 304–14. doi:10.1111/j.1601-5037.2008.00343.x. PMID 19138181.closed access
  5. ^ Gorur, A; Lyle, DM; Schaudinn, C; Costerton, JW (2009). "Biofilm removal with a dental water jet". Compendium of continuing education in dentistry. 30 Spec No 1: 1–6. PMID 19385349.
  6. ^ "Benefits of water flossing". Oralglow.com.
  7. ^ Svoboda, Elizabeth (August 31, 2009). "In Tonsils, a Problem the Size of a Pea". The New York Times. Retrieved January 8, 2011.