Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Waterpik 101

What is a Waterpik?

While most people are familiar with and use the term Waterpik, this term actually pertains to the home oral care or hygiene device that is known as the dental water jet or the oral irrigator.

What a dental water jet does is it utilizes a stream of pulsating water for getting rid of plaque and food debris that gets caught between individual teeth. Ideally, the gum line is targeted as well while one uses the oral irrigator for the improvement of periodontal or gum health.

Not surprisingly, a dentist, alongside an engineer, was responsible for developing the dental water jet. This was all the way back in 1962 in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Benefits of using dental water jets

At present, over fifty scientific studies have been conducted on the effectiveness of oral irrigators for maintaining gum health. Light has also been shed on the effect of using dental water jets on those who suffer from gingivitis and diabetes. People with crowns and implants were also part of some studies.

Recent research has shown that oral irrigators have an edge over dental floss when it comes to the alleviation of bleeding while cleaning the teeth. Results have also reflected that it is just as effective for maintaining plaque reduction.

Anecdotal evidence also points to the fact that oral irrigators have been demonstrated to be beneficial for the prevention and treatment of canker sores. This is because when one uses a dental water jet, the pulsation of the water through the soft tissues in the mouth helps keep the formation of canker sores at bay. For canker sores that have already formed, the low pressure pulse that hits the sore is helpful for reducing its lifespan.

For some people, the uses of dental water jets extends even to other non-oral care related purposes such as jewelry cleaning.

Popular Waterpik brands on the market

Now that you are aware of the purpose of oral irrigators and how exactly they can benefit you, lets take a look at some of the most reputable brands and models available:

1.         Waterpik Waterflosser Ultra and Waterpik Traveler Flosser plus 12 Accessory Tips & Tip Storage Case

This retails for $99.99 on Amazon and based on its 4.5/5 review, it seems that its price is well worth paying for. It guarantees the removal of plaque by up to 99.99 percent from the areas that are treated.

This package includes 1 ultra Water Flosser, 1 traveler Water Flosser, 1 deluxe travel case, and 12 accessory tips.

2.         RediBreeze Oral Irrigator

Made in America by a veteran owned company, this oral irrigator has received a 4.5/5 as well on Amazon. It retails for only $29.95 exclusive of shipping.

The RediBreeze Oral Irrigator works a little differently than other dental water jets on the market as it has a tool-free setup and comes with its own faucet. One can seamlessly switch between irrigation and a normal faucet.

3.         Waterpik Aquarius Professional Water Flosser

Rated 4.4/5 on Amazon, this Waterpik model retails for $54.99 on Amazon. It is marketed as the easier and more effective way to floss. It promises the same benefits as number one. It is also touted as a suitable choice for anyone with implants, periodontal pockets, or crowns.

Caveat: the Aquarius Professional Water Flosser can only be used in North America.

4.         Waterpik Waterflosser for Kids

Its never too early to teach your kids proper oral care and what better way to start than with the Waterpik Waterflosser for Kids. Its priced at $37.99 with free shipping on Amazon and it is designed for kids aged from 6 to 12. There are three pressure settings to choose from to accommodate children with sensitive teeth or gums. This comes with a two year warranty.

In all, Waterpiks are a very useful oral irrigation device that provide numerous benefits to oral hygiene. There are many products on the market that serve as excellent examples of waterpiks. If you want a better clean with less stress to gums than floss, an irrigating Waterpik may be the perfect device for you.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Understanding Remineralization

Dental enamel is composed largely of hydroxyapatite, otherwise known as crystalline calcium. Ions are often removed from enamel via plaque and acids while leaving the overall structure of the tooth intact. Much like the popular table game Jenga, one ion is removed here and another there, until the structure is eventually compromised. This will at first cause a visible browning of the enamel affected, making that area weak and vulnerable to acid erosion. Fortunately, there is a way to put the pieces back into the framework of the tooth.

The body has in place a function capable of remineralizing lost ions in teeth.  Dental enamel is a living stone, as such the minerals contained therein are unavoidably leeched out in acidic solutions. How then would the body put these minerals back into the living stone of the teeth?

The answer lies in the very air we inhale. Our bodies use saliva and carbon dioxide from the air we breath to create a substance known as carbonic acid. Carbonic acid is an unstable, mild acid that works behind the scenes to accomplish the magic of remineralization. As with other acids, carbonic acid dissolves minerals in saliva. What makes carbonic acid different is that it rapidly converts back to carbon dioxide and water. During this process, mineral ions contained within precipitate out as ions capable of binding to enamel structure. However, for this process to occur there must be a few conditions present.

First, saliva must contain a plentiful amount of nutrients. Some nutrients that help are: zinc, phosphorus, calcium, folate, iron, vitamin d, vitamin a and vitamin c. Secondly, the carbonic acid must be produced in perimeter to the mineral molecule. From here it dissolves the mineral into an ionic block capable of binding to the demineralized portion of enamel. For the ion to bind, teeth must be free of plaque and any other debris. Once these above conditions are met, the ion is attracted to the demineralized portion via opposite polar attraction. Finally, the carbonic acid converts back to water and carbon dioxide, precipitating and incorporating the newly formed mineral into tooth structure.