Oral Care History
Water Pik's success story started in 1955 when a Fort Collins, CO, dentist, Dr. Gerald Moyer, began experimenting with oral irrigators, known today as dental water jets. By 1958, Dr. Moyer was collaborating with John (“Matt”) Mattingly, a hydraulic engineer at Colorado State University. Over the course of the next few years, the two worked nightly on this device making 145 attempts before finding success. Through their teamwork, on their 146th try, the two inventors hollowed out a piston, and developed a device that did not leak. What they also achieved was pulsation; neither wanted it initially, but it helped them to get a patent. Their patent was received in 1962, the year they also began attending dental conventions and in Dallas, had a crowd so large, the Fire Marshall was called.
Early on, Matt built the units at home and Dr. Moyer sold them to his patients. One patient used the device for six months and was so pleased, he raised $50,000 to market the units. Later, he became the first president of Water Pik, Inc., then called Aqua Tec. In 1964, the company decided to make its product available to the public, and by 1967, consumers could purchase an oral irrigator in department, drug, appliance and hardware stores.
Research soon followed, and one of the first studies showing calculus and gingivitis reductions was published in 1969.1 Today, more than 50 studies have been conducted on the Waterpik® dental water jet in over 25 independent and university-based research centers. Clinical trials have shown that it is safe and effective on people in periodontal maintenance,2-8 and for those with gingivitis, 1,9-15 orthodontic appliances, 16-18 crowns and bridges, 19 implants,20 diabetes,2 or those who don't use floss.15 Research into the physics of the product has shown that pulsation appears key in the dental water jet since that is what helps clear bacteria and debris.
Today's Waterpik® dental water jet oral irrigator is based upon the same principle and design as the original model – a powerful miniature pump sends a pulsating jet of water through a plastic syringe-like tip to clean the teeth (sweeping away debris from over, around and between teeth, and under the gumline) and stimulate the gum tissues.
The company also introduced a line of sonic power toothbrushes that operated at a sonic speed of 30,000 brush strokes per minute for the professionally recommended time of two minutes. The high speed frequency removes plaque and reduces surface stains such as coffee, tea and tobacco.
2004 brought the Waterpik® dental water jet to the United Kingdom with the introduction of the cordless dental water jet (WP-360)
Today's dental water jet is recognized as a product ahead of its time. The dental water jet's unique ability to disrupt bacteria that contributes to gum disease is now recognized by dental professionals; so much so that the Waterpik® dental water jet is the dentist's #1 choice. Over the years Water Pik, Inc. has continued to work closely with dental professionals and consumers to develop and introduce products and accessories that help people improve their oral health. Today's Water Pik, Inc. offers a full line of power oral care products that include Waterpik® power flossers, Sensonic® Toothbrushes and a variety of different models of Waterpik® dental water jets.
- Lobene RR. The effect of a pulsed water pressure-cleansing device on oral health. J Periodontol, 1969; 40:51.
- Newman MG et al. Effectiveness of adjunctive irrigation in early periodontitis: Multi-center evaluation. J Periodontol, 1994; 65:224.
- Flemmig TF et al. Adjunctive supragingival irrigation with acetylsalicylic acid in periodontal supportive therapy. J Clin Periodontol, 1995; 22:427.
- Jolkovsky DL et al. Clinical and microbiological effects of subgingival and gingival marginal irrigation with chlorhexidine gluconate. J Periodontol, 1990; 61: 663.
- Walsh TF et al. Clinical effects of pulsed oral irrigation with 0.02% chlorhexidine digluconate in patients with adult periodontitis. J Clin Periodontol, 1992; 19:245.
- Fine JB et al. Short-term microbiological and clinical effects of subgingival irrigation with an antimicrobial mouthrinse. J Periodontol, 1994; 65:30.
- Cutler CW et al. Clinical benefits of oral irrigation for periodontitis are related to reduction of pro-inflammatory cytokine levels and plaque. J Clin Periodontol, 2000; 27:134.
- Aziz-Gandour IA, Newman HN. The effects of simplified oral hygiene regime plus supragingival irrigation with chlorhexidine or metranidazole on chronic inflammatory periodontal disease. J Clin Periodontol, 1986; 13:228.
- Chaves ES et al. Mechanism of irrigation effects on gingivitis. J Periodontol, 1994; 65:1016
- Flemmig TF et al. Supragingival irrigation with 0.06% chlorhexidine in naturally occurring gingivitis I. 6 month clinical observations. J Periodontol, 1990; 61:112.
- Ciancio SG et al. Effect of a chemotherapeutic agent delivered by an oral irrigation device on plaque, gingivitis, and subgingival microflora. J Periodontol, 1989; 60:310.
- Brownstein et al. Irrigation with chlorhexidine to resolve naturally occurring gingivitis: A methodological study. J Clin Periodontol, 1990; 17:588.
- Hoover DR, Robinson HBG. The comparative effectiveness of a pulsating oral irrigator as an adjunct in maintaining oral health. J Periodontol, 1971; 42:37.
- Lainson PA et al. A longitudinal study of pulsating water pressure cleansing devices. J Periodontol, 1972; 43:444.
- Barnes CM et al. Comparison of irrigation to floss as an adjunct to toothbrushing: effect on bleeding, gingivitis and supragingival plaque. J Clin Dent 2005; 16:71.
- Burch JG et al. A two-month study of the effects of oral irrigation and automatic toothbrush use in an adult orthodontic population with fixed appliances. Am J Orthod Dentofac Orthop, 1994; 106:121.
- Phelps-Sandall BA, Oxford SJ. Effectiveness of oral hygiene techniques on plaque and gingivitis in patients placed in intermaxillary fixation. Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Path 1983; 56:487.
- Hurst JE, Madonia JV. The effect of an oral irrigating device on the oral hygiene of orthodontic patients. JADA, 1970: 81:678.
- Krajewski J et al. Evaluation of a water pressure-cleansing device as an adjunct to periodontal treatment. Periodontics, 1964; 2:76.
- Felo A et al. Effects of subgingival chlorhexidine irrigation on perio-implant maintenance. Am J Dent, 1997; 10:107.