A water flosser is an effective weapon in the war on tooth decay and gum disease, and using one every morning will help you maintain clean breath and a fresh smile. These handheld devices are fun to use, but a slip of the wrist could lead to face full of the wet stuff or a dripping ceiling. Let's test your smarts when it comes to using a water flossing tool to blast away pesky plaque and germs.
Water flossers typically have multiple water pressure settings. Which setting should you use?
Depending on the condition of your gums and teeth, a high setting may be too aggressive. Until you get the hang of using a flosser, start with the lowest available setting and make adjustments as needed.
Sometimes water and electricity just don't mix. What safety measures are important when using a water flosser?
All of the above. Safe practices when using electrical accessories around water include never handling an outlet plug with wet hands and never using a an electrically powered personal care product when bathing or showering.
Can you eat all your Halloween or other holiday candy in one night and then have a marathon flosser cleaning session?
Restrict your use to the manufacturer's recommendations for the product. Some product instructions recommend cleaning sessions of five minutes or less at not less than two hour intervals. This isn't to keep your gums from drowning. Actually, the motor in the flosser needs time to cool down.
Levi Spear Parmly is widely considered the father of modern dental floss for recommending the use of what substance to clean between teeth?
In 1918, Parmly, a New Orleans dentist, advocated using silk thread to clean between teeth.
Water flossers clean teeth and gums, but some varieties also include a special tip to do what?
Some water flossers offer a special tongue cleaning tip that removes bacteria and odor-causing sulfur compounds.
Water flossing is effective at removing biofilm. What is this sticky stuff, anyway?
Also referred to as tooth slime, biofilm is a thick bacterial aggregate that accumulates on teeth that aren't brushed properly. Once formed, it can be resistant to conventional brushing and lead to tooth decay.
Although you may be able to add your favorite mouthwash to the the water reservoir of some flosser products, what ingredient should you watch out for?
Check the instructions before adding antibacterial solutions to water flossing equipment.
Are water flossers effective in helping to control bleeding and gingivitis?
Used daily, water flossing can reduce gingival bleeding significantly, and may be up to 93 percent more effective than string flossing.
Water flossers rely on water pulsation together with specialty probing and cleaning tips. If flossers use cleaning tips, why is the water important?
Although the rapid compression and decompression removes food particles from between teeth, one of the biggest advantages of using a rapid water pulse is to get deep below the gum line to loosen and remove debris and bacteria. A flosser can get as much as three times deeper than other cleaning methods.
Water flosser products may suggest the addition of mouthwash to the water reservoir, but what do they also recommend?
To prolong the life of the reservoir, rinse it after each use if you've included mouthwash or another additive.
According to the American Academy of Periodontology, what percentage of Americans have some form of gum disease?
Three out of every four Americans, or 75 percent, suffer from some form of gum disease.
Name the ideal location in which to use a water flosser?
Water flossers use a jet of water that can travel a long way. Ideally, you should be leaning over the sink prepared for the flow before you begin flossing. It's a ready-set-go proposition. Otherwise, you may end up with water all over the floor, the walls, your hair, the ceiling . . . you get the idea.
Water flossers can be very effective at removing food and bacteria from braces. About how many new patients receive some sort of orthodontic therapy every year?
Around 2 million patients begin orthodontic therapy every year. If you've just been outfitted with your own set of braces, you're not alone.
Water flossers can help treat gingivitis symptoms before they result in serious gum disease. What are the symptoms of gingivitis? Hey, you need to know what to look for.
Swelling, redness and bleeding gums are all signs of gingivitis.
Is gingivitis painful?
Even though gingivitis can cause bleeding, swelling and redness, and lead to more serious conditions, it typically isn't painful.
Water flossing can help protect gums from peridontal disease. What medical condition causes a greater risk of developing early onset or severe periodontal disease?
That would be diabetes.
What common condition can cause a greater risk for developing gingivitis?
Hormonal changes in pregnancy can increase the risk of developing gingivitis and periodontal disease.
Periodontitis can result pockets or gaps in the gums. Do the gaps disappear after treatment?
Pockets can remain even after treatment, which is one reason a regular dental care regimen is so important. Beyond brushing and conventional string flossing, water flossing is very effective at getting down deep into periodontal pockets to keep them clean and bacteria free.
Can you use a water flosser instead of brushing your teeth?
Mr. Molar says shame on you! Trying to skimp on tooth cleaning is just wrong. Actually, the answer to this one is a definite maybe. Some water flossers include a toothbrushing tip that works a bit like an electric toothbrush but adds the power of pulsing water to loosen and wash away food particles and bacteria.
What activity increases your risk fourfold for developing periodontal disease?
Smoking is one of the most unhealthy things you can do to your gums -- and the rest of you.
What percentage of Americans floss daily?
According to the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP), approximately 13.5 percent of Americans floss every day.
How much do you know about dinosaurs? What is an octane rating? And how do you use a proper noun? Lucky for you, HowStuffWorks Play is here to help. Our award-winning website offers reliable, easy-to-understand explanations about how the world works. From fun quizzes that bring joy to your day, to compelling photography and fascinating lists, HowStuffWorks Play offers something for everyone. Sometimes we explain how stuff works, other times, we ask you, but we’re always exploring in the name of fun! Because learning is fun, so stick with us!
Get smarter every day! Subscribe & get 1 quiz every week.
Playing quizzes is free! We send trivia questions and personality tests every week to your inbox. By clicking "Sign Up" you are agreeing to our
and confirming that you are 13 years old or over.