Brushing three times a day and flossing at least once a day are the keys to optimal oral health. At one time, flossing meant rubbing a string of string floss across and around your teeth. Now, you have a new option: a water flosser.
Water flossers use the power of water and pressure to dislodge and eliminate bacteria from in between your teeth.
The 7 Benefits of Water Flossers
Water flossers offer numerous benefits, and the results are on par with or better than traditional floss. These benefits include:
1. Reduced Risk of Periodontal Disease
Like traditional floss, water flossers remove plaque and food particles from in between the teeth and along the gumline. Plaque removal helps reduce your risk of developing gingivitis and periodontal disease.
If left untreated, plaque can cause tooth decay and other oral health issues.
Water flossing can also reduce the risk of a periodontal infection. The pulsating action of water flossers causes periodontal pockets to expel bacteria at a level similar to what was attained during root planing.
2. Reduced Inflammation
Studies show that water flossers reduce gum bleeding, pocket depth and levels of the inflammatory cytokine Interleukin.
3. Gentle Enough to Be Around on Implants
Maintenance is crucial to the longevity of implants, and traditional string floss can be tricky to use. Water flossers are gentle enough to use around implants and are far more effective than oral rinses recommended by dentists.
In fact, one study showed that those who used a water flosser with a 0.06% CHX solution saw superior results compared to a 0.12% CHX rinse.
- 29% vs. 9% in plaque removal
- 62% vs. 33% in bleeding reduction
- 45% vs. 10% in gingivitis reduction
Water flossers also offer an effective way to remove plaque from in between teeth if you have braces or other dental appliances.
4. Reaches Deeper into Pockets than String Floss
Some studies show that water flossers are able to penetrate 50% of a pocket’s depth. Some models can reach even deeper, closer to 90%. String floss, on the other hand, is only able to reach about 30% depth because of anatomical constraints and the technique used to floss manually.
5. Removes Biofilm
Using a water flosser for just three seconds at medium pressure can remove 99.9% of plaque biofilm from the treated area.
6. Easy to Use
String floss can be tedious to use and requires a certain level of manual dexterity. Water flossers only take a minute to use and the flosser takes care of all the work for you – no moving up and down in between each tooth.
Because it takes just one minute, you’re far more likely to use your water flosser everyday as dentists recommend.
As an added bonus, water flossers only require water for use. The initial expense is higher than string floss, but you’ll save money in the long run.
7. Helps Diabetics
Diabetes causes dental issues, like periodontal disease and gingivitis. Using a water flosser once per day eliminates plaque and bacteria that cause gum disease.
Water Flossers vs Electric Toothbrushes
What’s better: a water flosser, or an electric toothbrush? We hear this question often, but comparing a toothbrush to a water flosser is lot like comparing apples and oranges. The two go hand-in-hand, really. You wouldn’t (or shouldn’t) brush without flossing, and you wouldn’t floss without brushing.
Here’s what you need to know:
Electric Toothbrushes Are Great, But You Still Need To Floss
An electric toothbrush is designed to remove plaque, bacteria and food particles on the surface of your teeth. Many new brushes can also get in between teeth, but not quite as efficiently as floss.
Electric brushes also offer several cleaning options ranging from sensitive to whitening, which polishes teeth to remove stains.
When compared to a manual brush, electric brushes remove more plaque and offer an overall superior clean.
Sonic electric brushes use pulsations to drive fluid in between teeth, similar to how a water flosser works. But the end results are not quite on par with string or water flossing.
Water Flosser: For a Deeper Cleaning
A water flosser uses a pressurized system to push fluid in between teeth. Many models can push out up to 1,600 pulses each minute at 5-90 pounds per square inch.
Water flosser tips can get in between teeth and deep in the gums for a truly thorough cleaning. Attachments are also included to achieve different dental health goals.
5 Things To Consider When Choosing A Water Flosser
There are several things that should be considered when buying a water flosser – aside from your budget, of course.
1. Quality and Durability
Quality and durability are the top concerns. Naturally, you want to invest in a flosser that will give you years of use (hopefully). It’s often better to pay more for a higher quality model than to opt for the cheapest flosser you can find that will probably stop working in a month or two.
2. Countertop, or Cordless?
There are two primary types of water flossers: countertop and cordless models.
A countertop flosser is larger in size and can be bulky. It plugs into an electrical outlet, and tends to offer higher jet pressure and more preset pressure options. It holds more water in the tank, which makes it ideal for home use.
A cordless flosser is more portable, so if you travel often, this type may be the better option for you. These models have rechargeable batteries and smaller tanks, so they’re highly portable. The only drawback with a cordless model is that the initial price tag is usually higher than a countertop model.
3. Combination Models
Some water flosser makers, like Waterpik, offer combination models that come with both a sonic toothbrush and a water flosser. This is a convenient option for people who want optimal oral health. Like a water flosser, sonic brushes drive fluid in between your teeth and along the gums to remove plaque.
If you’re in the market for an electric toothbrush and a water flosser, these combination models give you the best of both worlds.
4. Water Tank Size
How often do you floss? How many people will be using the flosser each day? These are two important questions to consider when thinking about tank size.
Countertop water flossers have the largest water tanks, while cordless models have small tanks to allow for handheld use.
With a cordless model, tanks are usually large enough for one use. If more than one person will be using the flosser or if more cleaning time is needed, the tank will need to be refilled.
If you only plan on using your flosser at home, a countertop model is usually the better option. The tanks are larger and require fewer refills.
5. Warranty or Guarantee
Before buying a water flosser, check to see if a warranty is offered. If so, find out how long the warranty lasts and what the terms are. Every manufacturer offers its own warranty period, but most last just 12 months. Top quality models offer long warranties of three years or more.
Choosing The Best Water Flosser: Our Top 3 Picks
“What water flosser should I get?” You asked, and we delivered – Here are our reviews for our favorite water flossers.
1. Review of the Waterpik Aquarius
The Waterpik Aquarius is our top pick, and after months of using this water flosser, we still look forward to our daily flossing session. It’s truly the best water flosser for us.
Part of the reason why we’re so fond of the Aquarius is because we can get longer cleanings out of each tank (90 seconds), and it comes with a number of different tips to use for any occasion or dental need.
You only need to use this flosser for 60 seconds a day to get cleaner, healthier teeth, but we sometimes go a little over that mark to be extra thorough. The larger water tank lets us enjoy those extra-long cleaning sessions without having to refill the tank.
While the larger water reservoir is nice, this isn’t the only feature that makes the Aquarius our favorite water flosser.
Aquarius Features and Specs
- 10 Pressure settings
- 90-Second water capacity
- 7 Water flossing tips
- 1-Minute timer; 30-Second pacer
- Two modes
- Ideal for use on brace and other dental work
One of the first things that really impressed us about this flosser is that it included so many tips – 7 in total.
There are three classic jet tips, which are the normal daily-use tips. Because three are included, each member of our family was able to have their own, which is a nice bonus.
A toothbrush tip is also included, which can be used daily. Now, the great thing about this tip is that it also acts as – you guessed it – a toothbrush. You can floss and brush at the same time, which is convenient, albeit a little messy at times.
If you have gum issues and plaque build-up, the Plaque Seeker tip is excellent. It’s great for use on crowns, bridges, implants and natural teeth. What this special tip does is remove debris and bacteria from those hard-to-reach places, especially near dental restorations.
While we haven’t had use for the Orthodontic tip, it’s a valuable addition if someone in your family has braces. As you may have guessed, this tip is designed exclusively for use with braces. The contoured design can reach areas around brackets and wires to demolish plaque.
The Pik Pocket tip is ideal for periodontal pockets and furcations. It’s a gentle tip that gets deep below the gumline.
Aside from the seven included tips, we also loved that the handle of the flosser allowed you to control the water flow. In total, there are ten pressure settings, so you can choose the appropriate one for your comfort level/hygiene needs.
2. Philips Sonicare HX8332/11 Airfloss Ultra Review
From the same brand that brought you the iconic Sonicare toothbrush, the Sonicare HX8332/11 Airfloss is one of the best portable water flossers we’ve ever tried.
Featuring triple-burst technology, this flosser blasts away plaque, food particles and bacteria in between teeth with a simple touch a button. It’s easy to use, looks great in the bathroom, and gives you a superior clean.
Sonicare Airfloss Features and Specs
- Three intensity settings
- One-minute flossing sessions
What we like about this flosser is that you can fill it with either mouth rinse or water. The device uses a combination of liquid (water or mouth rinse) and air to drive the fluid in between your teeth and along the gumline. The high performance nozzle is easy to get between your teeth, and we never had an issue using this flosser around dental restorations.
Philips includes three spray options: single, double or triple bursts. All it takes is a press of a button (the power button actually) to change the intensity. If this is your first time using a water flosser, we recommend going with the single or double bursts.
The product advertises that you’ll see healthier gums after two weeks of use, and that the device can remove up to 99.9% of plaque. While we can’t verify these claims with total accuracy, we can say that our gums look and feel healthier. We did have some bleeding when we brushed before we started using this flosser. Now, we have none.
A single flossing session takes just 60 seconds to complete. All you have to do is choose your intensity setting and hold down the power button for continuous use. Releasing the button will set the unit on “manual burst mode,” which puts you in control of burst frequency. We prefer the continuous mode, but some people may be more comfortable going the manual route at first.
We were a bit disappointed that this model didn’t have a timer feature. With that said, the water reservoir only holds enough water for a single session, so you’ll always get about a minute of cleaning. There’s no quadpacer either, so you’ll have to be mindful of how much time you’re spending on each quadrant.
We love the ease of use and portability of this model. If you’re on the road often or just don’t want a bulky countertop model, the Airfloss is a great option. It’s lacking timers and additional tips, but it’s easy to use and does the job well.
3. ToiletTree Rechargeable Oral Irrigator
The new and improved version of the ToiletTree oral irrigator is our final pick, and it’s an excellent option if you’re on a tighter budget or travel often.
The convenient water tank is situated on the back of the unit. It’s easier to fill than the previous version of this irrigator. A quiet motor makes this irrigator a pleasure to use. We’ve tried other portable water flossers and some are so noisy, we might have woken up our hotel neighbors.
There are so many reasons to like this model. Just take a look at some of its features:
ToiletTree Oral Irrigator Features and Specs
- Three modes: soft, normal and pulse
- Quiet motor
- Easy-to-fill tank
- Tip-release button
- Two colored tips for multiple users
- Rechargeable battery
ToiletTree’s oral irrigator is very easy to fill and use. Just pop open the tab on the water tank, and fill. The opening is wider than the previous version of this irrigator, which makes refilling a breeze.
Although this model does not have multiple pressure settings, it does have three cleaning modes. Normal is great for everyday use, while Soft is ideal for sensitive teeth and those with dental restorations and braces. The Pulse mode gives you short bursts of greater cleaning power, so you can get into those areas that need a little more attention.
We appreciated that ToiletTree included two color-coded tips, so multiple people could use the irrigator without having to share. The convenient tip release button makes it easy to switch tips when needed.
This water flosser runs on a rechargeable battery, which has a pretty impressive lifespan. And the Universal Voltage feature is a nice bonus, especially if you’re traveling overseas.
Although it’s simple in design, we really enjoy using this water flosser. It’s highly portable, and it gets the job done in 60 seconds. We would have liked to see a timer included, but at this price point, it’s hard to complain. This is one of the most affordable water flossers we’ve tried, and it was highly impressive. Our teeth and gums felt cleaner and healthier after just a few weeks of use.
Our only complaint? The tank doesn’t hold enough water for a complete flossing session. You’ll have to refill midway through to get a through, one minute cleaning. Most portable models have the same issue, but if this is something that concerns you, we recommend trying the Aquarius instead.
Conclusion: Make Your Choice
Water flossers are a great addition to any oral care routine. They’re just as effective (or more effective) than string floss at removing plaque, and they get the job done in just one minute per day. To find the right flosser for your needs, consider whether you’ll be flossing mainly at home, how large of a tank you need, whether you want a combination model (flosser and sonic toothbrush), and the warranty offered by the manufacturer.