why it's not recommended by dentists? I read all the discussion/comments, and it looks like it's a great product to use. why then dentists don't recommend it? I specifically asked my orthodontist about it. he just said: well, you may, if you want to...
R. Eye's post caused me to do some Web research since my own experience with the WaterPik has been very positive and my older, wiser (traits that do not necessarily go together but in his case did) dentist was enthusiatic about it. It appears from what I have read that the key is to use the device properly, ie. to never direct it into the gums but rather at right angles to them and to not use too powerful a setting.
I bought a WaterPik many years ago when I was 23. My Dad was a dentist (specialist in Prosthedontics) working for the Veterans Admin. I used the WaterPik every day and when my family went on a cruise, I shared a room with my Mom and Dad. When I was using the WaterPik my Dad asked me if I was using it on the high setting. He told me to point it at my finger and when I did, it felt like little needles. My Dad said he was greatly concerned that I had dessicated my gum tissue by using the WaterPik on high. We went to the Medical College of VA for a free cleaning and they confirmed that I had early onset periodontal disease (almost juvenile onset). Coming from a family where I had cleaning every six months all my life and braces, it was hard to believe. But my Dad was convinced that I had ruined my gums with the WaterPik and allowed bacteria to travel down the tooth surface down to the bony support area where it did its damage.
Fast forward to several years ago. A friend's daughter (age 21) was having gum surgery to rebuild her gum tissue. I asked if she had been using a WaterPik and her father said yes. I think there are many more people out there who have suffered periodontal disease from the WaterPik. Once you already have periodontal disease, the very nature of the WaterPik, forceful water acts almost like a cavitron (water only) - that machine that uses ultrasound and forceful water to clean below the gum line. Naturally, it will keep the peridontal pockets free of debris, which can exacerbate the situation and create more bleeding and inflammation. If CaribMike needed periodontal work (his condition was not simple gingivitis), then he is simply keeping his mouth situation in a status quo - he has not reversed his periodontal disease. In his later years, my Dad also developed periodontal pockets and rather than have surgery, he went every few months to have the pockets cleaned out, while my mother had her pockets reduced to almost nothing with periodontal surgery. My Mom still had to also have perio cleanings the same as my Dad however. To each his own, but I think the WaterPik has the potential to do great harm to the gums based on my personal experience and that of someone else I know. Maybe WaterPik has put a warning on it since all those years ago, but people (like me) don't always read them or follow directions.
When my WaterPik broke and I didn't use it for a while, my dentist noticed the difference at the next cleaning and suggested I get a new one as soon as possible to prevent further gum problems. In fact, he thought it was doing such good things for me that he decided he would get one for himself.
Why don't dentists recommend it? It must be either ignorance or $$$$ (ie. there is money to be made by doing periodontal work.) In my case, after a routine cleaning, a younger dentist checked my teeth because the older dentist that I usually saw was not it. The younger dentist told me that I needed some heavy duty periodontal work. I waited until the next time I saw the older dentist and asked him about that. He said,"Why don't you try a WaterPik?". I did, and the next time I was in for a cleaning, and the younger dentist checked me again, he saw no need for the periodontal procedure.
OTOH, my wife (implants, crowns,) went to a new dentist yesterday for her initial evaluation and cleaning (previous dentist is retiring from full-time practice and new dentist is much closer to our new home,) she asked her if she used WaterPik, and recommended it strongly.
My dentist advised it as a positive thing, but he added an admonission, "don't squirt it downward (or upward) into the gums... only straight across, or you could blow food particles down INTO the gum pockets."
I have owned a WaterPik for almost 9 years and have used it daily. I even have a portable one for travel. I have dental check-ups every six months and the hygenist is always impressed with the care I give my teeth. I have very little tartar build-up because of the WaterPik and have never been told that my gums have been damaged because of its use. Maybe some folks are prone to gum disease and the machine has nothing to do with it at all. My vehicle's oil is changed every three thousand miles but it doesn't mean that nothing will go wrong with my engine.
I have mold now growing in the device from the water pik that irrigates your mouth. When I took it off and ran water through the machine gunk came out! Now I am worried about what kind of muck and mildew I have allowed in my mouth. Btw I threw away the prior one I had several months ago for same reason. I ran straight vinegar through this one and finally got the gunk to stop coming through but there is still signs of mold inside the thingie that you use in your mouth in spite of soaking it in vinegar for several hours and running water through it :( emily
Actually my (new to me) Dentist told me about this product today and I went out and got one right away. He said that he's seen people with gum disease that then use this waterpik and then return and have amazing results. I love my Dentist. He's very informed and up with new technology.