An oral irrigator (also called a dental water jet) is a home dental care device that uses a stream of pulsating water to remove plaque and food debris between teeth and below the gumline, and improve gingival health.
Since that time, oral irrigators have been evaluated in more than 50 scientific studies and have been tested (and shown effective) on people in periodontal maintenance, and those with gingivitis, diabetes, orthodontic appliances, crowns, and implants.
A 2008 meta-analysis of whether or not 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. 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.
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.
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- Jahn, CA (2010). "The dental water jet: A historical review of the literature". Journal of dental hygiene. 84 (3): 114–20. PMID 20579423.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Svoboda, Elizabeth (August 31, 2009). "In Tonsils, a Problem the Size of a Pea". The New York Times. Retrieved January 8, 2011.
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