Instructions for Use of Oral Irrigators

There are various brands of oral irrigators. Before starting to use a product, it is advisable to read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and to be sure you understand how an oral irrigator works.


Fill the water reservoir with lukewarm water, and plug the power cord into the wall outlet. You can use a cup to fill the reservoir. If the unit has removable tips, press the appropriate tip firmly into the irrigator handle. The tip should snap into place because it works under pressure and may shoot away otherwise. Test the oral irrigator before use.

Breathe calmly through your nose. Lean over the sink, and close your lips enough to prevent splashing, while still allowing water to fall from the mouth into the sink. Aim the tip just above and toward the gum line at a 90o angle, and press the switch that allows the water to flow.

Do not attempt to watch yourself in the mirror. You will make a mess! Starting with the back teeth (where your molars are located), follow the gum line. Take your time to get in between teeth. Continue to work slowly forward until all areas around and between teeth have been cleaned.

Use the same sequence each time you use the irrigator so that you do not miss any teeth. At difficult to reach areas you can adjust the angle of the nozzle, for example while cleaning the brackets of an orthodontic appliance or at root furrows

Spit out excess water as needed. Empty any water remaining in the reservoir after use. Dry thoroughly to avoid bacterial growth. Make sure to unplug the unit before cleaning it.

Irrigating is a technique that relies on your sense of touch. At first, it might take a little longer until you develop a routine and become more comfortable with the oral irrigator. Depending on the power level, you might need to refill the water reservoir. Antiseptics can be added if that has been advised by your dental care professional. If so, a mouth rinse or another antiseptic is added to the water in the reservoir.