While it requires less dexterity than traditional flossing, the Waterpik is not safe for anyone who has a compromised swallow, and doesn’t get your teeth as clean as flossing would.
I don’t recommend this to anyone who (like me) has a compromised swallow.
I bought it because flossing ones teeth requires dexterity, and my teeth are very crowded, making it hard to get the floss between them, and meaning I didn’t really do it. I tried with the little orange toothpicks but they didn’t work brilliantly for me either, so I gave up with them. A water flosser sounded like the solution – switch it on, point it at the teeth, have it do the work, and I was convinced by the excellent reviews.
In practice this isn’t able to cope with my teeth. I point it at the gaps, but even on the highest setting, the water couldn’t get through those gaps to clean them. It hasn’t made my gums bleed like traditional flossing does, but I think the counterbalance of that is that it hasn’t been as effective as traditional flossing.
I didn’t think about it in the context of my swallow, and would suggest that anyone with swallowing difficulties avoid this like the plague. I can’t use it without ending up coughing on water, and I only have mild dysphagia, anyone with more problems could be putting themselves at risk.
I don’t think this is as effective as flossing would be, especially with crowded teeth, but this is something I can do myself, whereas flossing just wasn’t doable (and having someone else floss ones teeth sounds like a horrible experience). I do think this is probably very good for the gums and for healthy blood flow there, but it doesn’t match the hopes I had for it.
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