What Is a Waterflosser
A water flosser is an oral health appliance designed for dental care at home
- Less abrasive:
- Improving gum health:
- Thorough cleaning:
- Suitable for braces:
A water flosser is an oral health appliance designed for dental care at home.
A water flosser or also named oral irrigator sprays water to remove food from between your teeth. Water flossers may be a good option for people who have trouble with traditional flossing — the kind that involves threading string-like material between your teeth.
Although sizes and features vary, all Water Flossers include:
- Motor with pump
- Water reservoir
- Special water flosser tip
The motor and pump cause a stream of pressurized, pulsating water to flow from the reservoir through the tip and into the mouth.
The targeted stream of water removes plaque, food particles, and bacteria in a way that’s more effective, more comfortable, and easier than traditional string floss. The pulsating action also stimulates gum tissue for added health benefits.
How to Use It
A water flosser doesn’t replace your toothbrush or traditional flossing. You still need to brush your teeth twice a day, but you can use the water flosser before or after.
Fill your water flosser’s reservoir with lukewarm water, then put the flosser tip in your mouth. Lean over the sink to avoid a mess.
Turn it on and then it’s time to clean. Hold the handle at a 90-degree angle to your teeth and spray. Water comes out in steady pulses, cleaning between your teeth.
Start at the back and work your way around your mouth. Focus on the top of your teeth, the gum line, and the spaces between each tooth. Remember to get the back of your teeth, too.
The process should take about 2 minutes. Empty any extra water from the reservoir when you’re done so bacteria doesn’t grow inside.
Benefits of Water Flossing:
- Are less abrasive. Oral irrigators offer a more gentle alternative to traditional floss and are less likely to cause our gums to become inflamed or bleed.
- Improve gum health. Water flossers allow you to easily remove the plaque, food particles, and bacteria that get stuck in hard-to-reach places. By being able to clean those often overlooked places you can reduce your chances of developing gingivitis or other gum-related diseases.
- Offer deep cleaning. Many dentists recommend using an oral irrigator, especially for individuals who have already begun to develop gum disease. Unlike traditional floss, water flossers are able to clean deep into our periodontal pockets, removing plaque and food particles that traditional floss can’t reach.
- Are ideal for braces. Braces and other orthodontic appliances make good oral hygiene a challenge because they act as barriers to regular cleaning devices. Water flossers are an excellent alternative for individuals with braces because the jet stream is able to easily clean around and behind the wires and flush out the leftover food particles that lead to plaque buildup.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD I USE MY WATER FLOSS?
The frequency of use depends on individual needs and oral health goals. Generally, using a water flosser once a day is recommended to supplement your regular brushing and flossing routine. Here are a few factors to consider when determining how often to use a water flosser:
Personal preference: Some individuals may find it beneficial to use a water flosser more frequently, especially if they have specific oral health concerns such as gum disease, orthodontic appliances, or difficulty with traditional flossing.
Oral health condition: If you have gum disease or other dental issues, your dentist or dental hygienist might recommend using a water flosser more frequently, possibly even multiple times a day. In such cases, it’s essential to follow their guidance.
Overall oral hygiene routine: Using a water flosser is not a substitute for regular brushing and flossing. It should be used as an additional tool to enhance your oral hygiene routine. Be sure to brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss using traditional dental floss or interdental brushes.
Time availability: Some people may find it more convenient to use a water flosser once a day, while others may prefer to incorporate it into their routine after every meal. The key is to be consistent with your oral care habits.
Ultimately, it is best to consult with your dentist or dental hygienist for personalized recommendations regarding the frequency of water flosser use. They can evaluate your oral health needs and provide specific guidance based on your individual circumstances.
The best way to prevent tooth decay is to floss at least once per day and brush at least twice per day.
Simply swap out your traditional flossing routine for a water flossing routine. You should also make sure that you floss before you brush. Flossing before you brush removes more plaque than flossing after you brush, and also ensures that more fluoride remains on your teeth when you are finished. Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay by making our teeth more resistant to the acids that form because of plaque.
VIDEO – How Water Flosser Works
Is Water Flossing as Good as Dental Floss?
The American Dental Association says water flossers with the ADA Seal of Acceptance can get rid of plaque. That’s the film that turns into tartar and leads to cavities and gum disease. But some studies find water flossers don’t remove plaque as well as traditional floss.
Don’t throw away your traditional dental floss just to try something new. Most dentists still consider regular flossing the best way to clean between your teeth. The old-fashioned stuff lets you scrape up and down the sides of your teeth to remove plaque. If it gets stuck in small spaces, try waxed floss or dental tape. Flossing might be uncomfortable at first if you’re not in the habit, but it should get easier.
Consider a water flosser if you have trouble using dental floss. If you have braces or dental work like permanent or fixed bridges, a water flosser might be helpful. They can be good for people with periodontal disease or with extremely dry mouths.
You also might want to try one if you have arthritis or other problems using your hands. Kids or teens with braces sometimes find water flossing easier than traditional flossing. Ask your dentist if it’s a good idea to switch to a water flosser or add it to your routine.
7 Best water flossers for cleaner, healthier teeth and gums – 2022
Philips Sonicare cordless power flosser 3000
This was the priciest water flosser we tested but we really noticed the difference. The relatively slim handle meant it was also one of the easiest to use, even though it still had a fairly decent 250ml reservoir which lasted around a minute before needing an easy refill.
Once we got the hang of flossing, this was almost enough time to manage our whole mouth thanks to a nozzle that rotates 360 degrees and pulse wave technology that guides the device from tooth to tooth in Deep Clean mode. When using the quad stream nozzle, we could finish cleaning even faster as the flow is separated into four water jets, which cover more surface area between teeth in less time. Just keep your mouth closed while you do it or you’ll get an unexpected soaking.
There are three intensity settings and two flossing modes and even the standard clean mode left our mouth feeling super-fresh, visibly dislodging any food particles trapped between teeth. The device comes with a travel bag, power adaptor, and a USB charging cable so you won’t be able to charge it in your bathroom, but our battery showed no sign of fading even after nearly two weeks of daily use.
Our one grumble is that, for the price, we would’ve loved a tongue scraper included as well as the quad stream and standard nozzle. Still, our mouth has never felt cleaner.
Spotlight oral care water flosser
Best: For traveling
Space is always tight in a bathroom cupboard so it makes sense to choose the most compact water flosser you can find. Developed by dentists Dr. Lisa and Dr. Vanessa Creaven, this dinky device was one of the smallest and most portable we tested, and is cordless and rechargeable just like an electric toothbrush making it one of the few flossers small enough to take on holiday.
Its water tank is fairly easy to fill and has a 190ml capacity, but we did have to refill this more than once during cleaning. There are three operating modes – normal, soft, and pulse – which are useful so you can build up from the gentlest setting when you first start using it. We especially liked the 360-degree rotating nozzle which really made us feel like we were getting into every nook and cranny, and our mouth felt sparkling clean afterward.
The device also comes with four different tips so you can really adapt this flosser for your needs and these include a classic jet tip, an orthodontic spray tip, a periodontal pocket sprinkler and even a tongue scraper for a full mouth makeover.
Waterpik cordless plus water flosser
Best: For newbies
Waterpik are the world’s best-selling water flosser brand and therefore knows a thing or two about keeping your teeth clean. The brand claims that its flossers are scientifically proven to be more than 50 percent more effective than traditional dental floss for improving gum health and removing up to 99.9 percent of plaque from treated areas.
And this cordless and rechargeable flosser certainly feels like it’s getting the job done. It has a 360-degree rotating head and four tips – classic jet, orthodontic tip, plaque seeker tip and tongue cleaner. There are just two pressure controls but the lowest setting is perfect for sensitive gums or those trying water flossing for the first time, without being too weedy. The non-slip grip makes it easy to hold when wet and it’s straightforward to operate without too many gizmos to complicate matters.
Our only grumble is the 210ml. water capacity needs refilling around every 45 seconds, but we liked the fact this kept the flosser compact. You can even add a small amount of mouthwash to the water for minty freshness, making this an all-around great buy for anyone new to water flossing.
Waterpik whitening water flosser
Best: For whitening
This whitening water flosser delivers a double whammy when it comes to keeping your teeth and gums in tip-top condition. As well as water flossing, this clever device whitens as it works, with Waterpik claiming it removes an additional 25 percent of stains versus brushing alone.
Simply pop one of the included fresh mint whitening tablets into the flip-top tablet compartment and floss as normal – we definitely thought our teeth looked a little brighter after a couple of weeks of use. When the initial supply of 30 tablets runs out, it can then be used as an ordinary water flosser although replacement tablets can be bought whenever you need a whitening boost.
It’s an excellent flosser even without the additional tablets with a choice of ten pressure settings – though start low if you’re new to water flossing as the higher ones are quite forceful. It comes with four tips including two jet tips, so could even be shared between a couple if needed. That’s handy as the separate reservoir – attached by a cord to the device – does take up quite a bit of space on a bathroom shelf, although this means the water lasts for a whole flossing session without needing to be refilled. It’s definitely not one you’ll be able to travel with though.
Fairywill electric toothbrush + cordless oral irrigator water flosser
Best: Combined brush and flosser
Not sure you’ll stick to water flossing? Give it a go without blowing the budget by trying this fantastically priced flosser from Fairywill and even if you don’t keep it up, at least you’ll have a decent new toothbrush.
However, we were suitably impressed with the results from the flosser for the price. Though it’s fairly chunky to hold, it comes with a large 300ml capacity water tank for uninterrupted use and three operational modes with LED indication including a massage mode. Impressively, four classic tips – and four replacement toothbrush heads – are included in the box, although anyone with braces or a lot of dental work would be better off choosing a flosser that comes with alternative heads.
Also be aware that both the toothbrush and flosser are charged with the included USB cable rather than a traditional shaving socket, so both will need to be charged outside the bathroom.
Panasonic rechargeable oral irrigator with ultrasonic technology EW1511
Best: For healthy gums
Our teeth felt so clean after using this Panasonic flosser just once that we’re certain we beamed at everyone we met. The Ultrasonic technology works a treat, with increased water jet speed that generates water vapor bubbles on the surface of the teeth to amp up the cleaning power. This also helps clean sensitive periodontal pockets to target plaque left after brushing and gently stimulates gums for an all-around healthier mouth. It can be used on orthodontic braces and bridges too.
The device doesn’t feel too hulking to maneuver when it’s in the mouth either. The slimmer top half of the cordless flosser makes it comfortable to hold, although it still has a decent 200ml water tank. This lasts around 60 seconds on the level 5 water pressure setting but we did need to refill once during cleaning. Otherwise, it’s a fuss-free addition to any nightly routine as it charges in just one hour and remembers your last chosen water flow strength so is ready to go whenever you are.