Oral irrigation is the process by which a pulsed water-jet device is used to remove plaque and debris. Oral irrigators were introduced into preventive dentistry from as early as 1962. It was common knowledge that brushing, flossing or using antimicrobials to rinse, will only remove plaque located about one or two millimeters, subgingivally. There became an apparent need for cleaning the base of the pocket since the periodontal disease process usually occurs subgingivally. Therefore, oral irrigators became a key part of the required home care aid especially for patients with periodontal disease.
Over the years, oral irrigators were mainly recommended to orthodontic patients, given that the brackets prevented patients from cleaning their teeth thoroughly. Patients with food impaction or malaligned teeth were also given oral irrigators because of the potential to remove plaque that built up in hard to reach places.
There are significant health benefits to be derived from using oral irrigators.
Removes Plaque and Dilute Harmful toxins
The first obvious benefit is that the act of flushing the subgingival area with water, 0.06 chlorhexidine, stannous fluoride or any other irrigant, removes plaque and dilute harmful toxins.
Keeping your Breath Fresh!
Secondly, oral irrigators help to improve or get rid of halitosis. Reducing the pathogens that cause bad breath is important not just for the sake of having a “fresh” smelling breath, but also for the fact that less bacteria means a reduced risk of further complicated conditions. However, it is usually a plus to encourage patients to use oral irrigators for the purpose of getting rid of bad breath, since that would have been an immediate concern of theirs.
Having and maintaining healthy gums and teeth goes beyond appearances. A buildup of bacteria in the mouth, especially in patients with periodontal disease can indirectly result in bacteremia; a possibly fatal condition where bacteria passes from the mouth into the blood. Therefore, it is imperative that patients do everything possible to keep bacteria levels at a minimum. Also, patients who do not or cannot perform interproximal hygiene derive health benefits from using oral irrigators, as they are able to control gingivitis. This added homecare aid helps patients with diabetes, crown and bridge, implants, orthodontic appliances and periodontal disease, pay more attention to taking care of their gums and teeth.
Oral irrigators have proven to significantly improve tissue health. They are a very vital part of the homecare line up that will substantially benefit patients who use them daily. Oral irrigators are effective tools in the promotion of healthy gums and teeth and the fight against gum disease.