Study focuses on water jet's ability to remove biofilm

March 27, 2009
University of Southern California study evaluates biofilm removal with scanning electron microscope.

A key measure of an effective home care product is its ability to remove plaque biofilm. The Waterpik dental water jet has been tested and proven to remove plaque biofilm since the early 1970s. However, traditional measures of detecting plaque biofilm by staining and viewing with the naked eye only provide a cursory view, limited to the visible tooth surface and not interproximal or subgingival areas. To better understand plaque biofilm removal, a new level of science is needed.

A study recently conducted at the University of Southern California, School of Dentistry with renowned biofilm expert Dr. Bill Costerton, evaluated the removal of plaque biofilm with a Waterpik dental water jet using a scanning electron microscope. Periodontally involved teeth with existing plaque were extracted, and then processed to accelerate biofilm growth. The teeth were then subjected to a 3-second treatment with the Waterpik dental water jet. Viewing the teeth under the highly sensitive microscope, the researchers were able to see far more than with traditional measures. The microscope revealed that 99.9% of the plaque biofilm was removed by the Waterpik dental water jet treatment.(1)

"The results were almost impossible for me to believe the first time through," commented Dr. Costerton, founding director of the USC Center for Bioflims. "One of the difficulties with plaque biofilm is that you really can't see it, it's clear. So we didn't have visual evidence of complete removal. But now with these direct methods, the scanning electron microscopy, you apply the Waterpik to plaque on a surface of a tooth and you look with a scanning scope and it's gone. It's simply gone. And that's unequivocal and unarguable."

This new finding builds on over 50 clinical studies that demonstrate the Waterpik dental water jet is safe and extremely effective in promoting good oral health. In fact, it is the device of choice for patients who will not or cannot floss, demonstrating superior results for bleeding and gingivitis. It is ideal for most patients providing them with a device that is easy to use and effective even in the most difficult to access areas. To learn more about this study go to

1 Gorur A, Lyle DM, Schaudinn C, Costerton JW. Biofilm removal with a dental water jet. Compend Contin Educ Dent 2009:30(Special Issue 1):1-6.