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Inside Dentistry
September 2009
Volume 5, Issue 8

Dental Water Jets = Easy, Effective Oral Hygiene

By Roger P. Levin, DDS

Two thirds of Americans of all ages do not floss regularly, while only 22% demonstrate proper technique.1 Many people claim flossing to be too time-consuming, say they forget to floss, or admit that they are simply too lazy.2 It can also be challenging trying to fit floss between crowded teeth and below the gingival margin.

So, how do dentists promote better oral hygiene if the majority of patients find flossing too burdensome or do not floss at all? There is a vast difference between telling patients to practice better oral hygiene and actually offering them the proper tool to use.

The new leading-edge technology that proves to be an excellent alternativeto dental floss is the dental water jet.Effortless to use and highly effective at cleaning between and around teeth, dentalwater jets help patients to maintain optimalat-home oral health. Dentists who provide dental water jets to their patients create a greater sense of caring for their patients, while adding value to theirpractices. Today, dental water jets proveto be one of the strongest value-added toolswithin dental practices to enhance patient care and practice productivity by:

  • improving the oral health of patients (by providing an effective alternative to flossing)
  • increasing practice production (through the sale of the dental water jets)
  • ensuring better at-home care for patients (dental water jets are easy to use)

Using a unique combination of 1,200 pulsations per minute with a pressure setting in the range of 60 to 90 psi, a dental water jet can clean interproximallyand subgingivally. Other benefits of dental waterjets are that they:

  • remove bacteria in hard-to-reach places
  • massage and stimulate the gingival tissue
  • clean subgingivally
  • easily clean around braces or other appliances
  • are safe to use with mouthwash
  • leave the mouth feeling clean and refreshed

Dental water jets are improving the oral health of adolescents, teenagers, and adults thanks to their design and impressive effectiveness.

More than 50 clinical studies have found a significant decrease in one or more of the following conditions: bleeding,gingivitis, inflammatorymediators, and subgingival pathogenic bacteria with the useof a dental water jet.3 In addition, studies have also shown that a dental water jet is a more effective alternative to dental floss, but not all dental water jets are the same. Each product should be evaluated based on the clinical studies done on that particular device.

One study conducted by the University of Nebraska tested the effects of manual brushing combined with dental floss vs manual brushing with the use of dental water jets.4 The dental water jet proved up to 93% more effective at reducing gingival bleeding and up to 52% more effective at reducing gingivitis than did brushing and flossing.

As dentists and parents know, cleaning braces is not easy. For those wearing braces, dental waterjets also come with orthodontic tips, whichprove extremely effective at cleaningorthodontic appliances.

A random study gathered 105 adolescents with fixed orthodontic appliances.5 The study concluded that the water jet removed three times more plaque than dental floss and up to five times more plaque than just toothbrushing. This study also shows that adolescents with braces using the dental water jet reduced dental bleeding by 85% in just 4 weeks.6

From braces and implants to bridges and crowns, dental water jets are safe to use on all appliances. Considering the benefits and proven success of dental water jets, how can you successfully incorporate these ancillary products into your practice?

To effectively promote and sell dental water jetswithin your practice, you and your team mustcreate value for the product. Some ways to goabout building value are:

  • Talk to patients about new research on at-home care products. Reinforce the importance of proper oral hygiene and explain why the product is an effective solution. Both the hygienist and the dentist can make a tremendous difference in the practice-patient relationship through this communication.
  • Offer outstanding customer service by reducing prices for your ancillary products. You want patients to save money buying them through your practice vs purchasing them elsewhere.
  • Rely on scripting to help promote ancillary products. There is a right and wrong way to promote ancillary products. Through proper scripts, you and your hygienists ensure you are promoting and educating patients as effectively as possible. For example, you would not want your hygienist to sound “salesy,” but rather concerned and educational. Proper scripts—such as Levin Group’s PowerScripting—can help to ensure ancillary products are promoted properly.

Creating value for any product—especially in today’s economy—involves effective communication with patients. Scripting can help to ensure that effectiveness, while discounted prices help to justify the purchase and ensure that revenue stays in-house. In today’s economy, your practice needs that extra production.

Dental water jets have become one of the most beneficial technologiesfor both patients and dentists. These toolsprovide aneffortless alternative to flossing while protectingteeth and gingival tissue from plaque biofilm,gingivitis, and periodontal disease. Byoffering dental water jets within your practice and promoting optimal oral hygiene for young patients, you create a greater sense of caring while increasing practice production. It is a win-win situation.

To learn more about dental water jets, visit, where you’ll find proven clinical studies about dental water jets, plus information about how to offer them within your practice.

The Levin Experience™ has shown thousands of GPs how to achieve total practice success. In today’s economy, more and more dentists are turning to Levin Group experts to transform their practices. To learn more about The Levin Experience, visit: where you can also find out about Dr. Levin’supcoming GP seminars.

The author has a financial interest in Waterpik.


1. Lang WP, Ronis DL, Farghaly MM.Preventative behaviors as correlates of periodontal health status. JPublic Health Dent. 1995:55:10-17.

2. National Consumer Survey, Opinion Research Corporation. February 2005.

3. Clinical study examines Waterpik Dental Water Jet. Dental Economics. 2005. Availdisplay_article/244419/56/none/none/Onlin/Clinical-study-examines-Waterpik-Dental-Water-Jet. Accessed February 3, 2009.

4. Barnes CM, et al. Comparison of irrigation to floss as an adjunct to tooth brushing: effect on bleeding, gingivitis, and supragingival plaque. J Clin Dent. 2005;16(3): 71-77.

5. Comparison of the Waterpik® Dental Water Jet with Orthodontic Tip to Manual Floss in Orthodontic Patients. Available at: Accessed February 3, 2009.

6. Waterpik® Dental Water Jet—Clinically Proven Results. Available at: February 3, 2009.

About the Author

Roger P. Levin, DDS
Chief Executive Officer
Levin Group
Owings Mills, Maryland

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