Dental Hygiene,  Products

Best Water Flosser – What Is Water Flossing Waterpik vs. Flossing

Some parts of this article are taken directly from our Tooth Decay Masterclass.

A water flosser, Waterpik, or oral irrigator are all names of a device that sprays water under high pressure to remove food stuck between your teeth. It is highly effective at removing food particles from between your teeth, and it does this job way better than classic floss. But the whole idea of using floss in tooth decay prevention is to remove or disrupt dental plaque and studies show that water flossers are not as good in this field. But compared to floss they are more comfortable to use and more effective for improving gum health (that includes reducing bleeding), so it’s a great idea to use both floss and water flosser. Therefore you should not consider water flosser and classic string floss as alternatives, but rather as complementary tools that work in a synergistic manner.

How to use a water flosser?

Fill the reservoir with lukewarm water, select a tip (if it’s not already attached to the device), then attach the power cord to the wall and put the flosser tip in your mouth. Lean over the sink to avoid a mess – splashing water will be all over the place if you don’t do that. Place the tip in your mouth holding the handle at a 90-degree angle to your teeth, and turn the power on. Glide tip along the gumline and pause briefly between teeth, letting the water flow into the sink. Water comes out in steady pulses, cleaning between your teeth. Be sure to carefully clean the inside and outside of both the upper and lower teeth, the whole process should take about 1 – 1,5 minutes (average water reservoir should last for 90 seconds of flossing time without refilling)

What tip and power setting should I use?

If this is your first time with Waterpik, start with 50% power and gradually move it up to even 100% power as you acclimate to the device. You need to find maximum power at which using the device is comfortable to use (and your gums don’t bleed) – this usually is somewhere between 70% and 100%. Keep in mind that Waterpik is not only removing food debris from between teeth, on a high power setting it should be able to clean most of the plaque, too (but floss still performs this task better).

Water flosser usage recommendations:

In our dental masterclass course, we divide patients into 3 risk groups: low, medium, or high and give recommendations specific to each group. You can assess your risk by checking the application questionnaire (there is no need to purchase anything)
– if you’re LOW RISK you can try to replace classic floss with a Waterpik if that’s more convenient for you, use it at least twice daily, and remember to still floss at least every other day
– if you’re MED or HIGH RISK it’s recommended that you use a water flosser after every meal (if possible), please remember to use your floss too

Tips for using a water flosser:

  • your water flosser needs to be cleaned from the outside, and from the inside too, especially if the water in your area is highly mineralized
  • the cable that connects the handle to the device may wear over time if you use the device frequently, you can prevent it by wrapping it in tape

Recommended water flossers

What’s the best water flosser?
This list will be ready soon.

Questions & answers section

We are aware that this kind of device may be something new to most of the readers, so you probably have a lot of questions to ask. This is why we have decided to answer all of the possible questions we could think of! If you have any other questions just ask them in the comments section and we’ll update the article with an answer!

Is a water flosser a good idea?

Yes, it’s a great idea! It’s a perfect addition to toothbrushing and flossing and it’s the best tool to remove food particles from between your teeth. But if the question is if it’s a good idea to replace flossing with water flosser (Waterpik) then we say no, it’s not! Although according to the ADA (American Dental Association) water flossers with their Seal of Acceptance are able to remove plaque from teeth (bacterial biofilm that may turn into tartar or cause cavities and gum disease) there are studies showing that these devices don’t remove plaque as good as regular string floss. Therefore we recommend water flossers for everyone, but only those without problems with cavities or gum disease may try to use it instead of string floss (but even in that scenario you should remember to floss every other day).

Do dentists approve of water flossers? Do dentists like Waterpik? Do dentists recommend water flossing?

Yes, dentists usually approve of the use of water flossers, and most of them like it, but only some of them recommend it to their patients. Waterpiks are most often recommended to patients wearing braces because it’s the only really effective way to clean them.
If you are asking if dental associations approve/recommend water flossing then the answer is also yes! When we were writing this article the ADA (American Dental Association) had the following Powered Interdental Cleaners on their list (these are products that got ADA’s Seal of Acceptance):
Philips Sonicare AirFloss, AirFloss Pro
and AirFloss Ultra
Waterpik Battery Operated Water
Flossers
Waterpik Sonic-Fusion Toothbrush/Flosser
Waterpik Water Flossers
Waterpik Whitening Water Flosser

Which is better a Waterpik or water flosser?

Actually, there is no difference between the two. A water flosser is a general name for this kind of product, and Waterpik is a name of a top brand that makes water flossers. The company is so well known that its name and the product itself have become synonymous.

How often should you use a water flosser?

Waterpik on their website claims that you should use a water flosser at least once per day. But if possible, we recommend you use it right after every meal to instantly remove all the food particles from between your teeth. Since this product has no side effects like brushing or mouthwash you can’t water floss too much. Frequent use of a water flosser will improve the health of your gums and also reduce your risk of interproximal caries (tooth decay between your teeth).

Can Waterpik damage your teeth or gums?

No, it cannot. Water flosser does not cause enamel wear, even if used right after a meal, and is considered to be safer for your gums than regular floss. If it’s your first time using a Waterpik just make sure you increase the power gradually use after use so that your gums can get adapted to it.

Can a water flosser remove tartar (or calculus)?

Short answer is no, the water flosser can’t remove tartar or calculus. But the good news is it can remove plaque from your teeth (all of the plaque dislodged by brushing or flossing, and some of the sticky plaque on your teeth), and by doing this reduce your chance for new calculus deposits in the future.

What is the most effective water flosser?

Please check the paragraph on recommended water flossers above.

Do you brush your teeth before or after using a Waterpik? Do you use the Waterpik before or after brushing?

We recommend that you use the Waterpik first, then floss, and finally, brush. If you plan to skip flossing at that time we recommend using the Waterpik first, then brush your teeth.

What should I look for in a water flosser?

Waterpik is a pretty simple device – it sprays water under high pressure. Most of the water flossers on the market offer similar pressure, so it may be confusing which one you should choose. We recommend simple models manufactured by top brands so that the product is high quality and will be reliable. Also, keep in mind that this device will frequently get dirty so the simpler and cleaner body it has, the better.

Can Waterpik damage crowns?

No, a water flosser cannot damage crowns or any other types of restorations. If your restoration got damaged when using a Waterpik it means that it was loose already and needed to be replaced anyway.

Can a family share a water flosser?

Yes, but you need to use separate tips and only use your own tip, sharing a tip is not recommended because you can transfer bacteria between family members.

Can you put Listerine in Waterpik? Can I use Listerine in my water flosser? How much mouthwash should I add to my Waterpik?

According to the manufacturer, it is perfectly safe to use standard mouthwash, antiseptic mouthwash, and antimicrobial solution in a water flosser – meaning it will not damage the device. The only forbidden liquids to use are pure essential oils (ie. tea tree oil), iodine, and saline solutions (this only applies to cordless units, it’s okay for countertop units). The recommended maximum ratio in the solution is 50:50 mixed with water (so less than 50%, ideally around 30%). Do not use mouthwash instead of water in the irrigator as it foams and significantly reduces the pressure of the jet – using it mixed with water reduces this problem. Keep in mind that the only mouthwash we recommend at dentalfreak is alkalizing hydroxyapatite mouthwash without antimicrobial agents, and we do not recommend using these with waterpik – just because it’s more effective when it’s in your mouth for an extended period of time (and not diluted).

Does a Waterpik make your teeth whiter? Does Waterpik whiten teeth?

Waterpik acually offers product called Whitening Water Flosser, and the company claims that it’s clinically proven to remove an additional 25% of teeth stains vs. brushing alone. It’s supplied with 30 Fresh Mint Whitening Tablets which should be added to the water reservoir (starting package should last for 1 month). We are not able to say how effective this product is because we have not tested it.

Why does my water flosser hurt?
soon.

Is it OK to use Waterpik twice a day?
soon.

How many times a day should you use a Waterpik?
soon.

Are water flossers better than string floss?
soon.

How long does a water flosser last?
soon.

Can WaterPik reverse gum recession?
soon.

How do you use a water flosser without making a mess?
soon.

Can WaterPik damage receding gums?
soon.

How do I keep mold out of my WaterPik?
soon.

What is the difference between a water flosser and an oral irrigator?
soon.

How do I clean my tongue with a WaterPik?
soon.

How much hydrogen peroxide should I use in my Waterpik?
soon.

Can I use salt water in a water flosser?
soon.

Can a water flosser replace flossing?
soon.

Why do my gums bleed when I water flosser?
soon.

Is using a Waterpik messy?
soon.

Can a Waterpik cause infection?
soon.

Will a Waterpik remove coffee stains?
soon.

Does a Waterpik help with yellow teeth?
soon.

Does Waterpik do deep cleaning?
soon.

Do you use toothpaste with a Waterpik?
soon.

Should you use a Waterpik in the morning or at night?
soon.

Is water flosser a gimmick?
soon.

Why isn’t my Waterpik flossing?
soon.

Can you Waterpik too much?
soon.

Can a Waterpik cure periodontal disease?
soon.

What is the black stuff in my Waterpik?
soon.

Can I use baking soda in my Waterpik?
soon.

How do you use a Waterpik?
soon.

How do you clean a Waterpik?
soon.

Which Waterpik tip is best for braces?
soon.

What is the life expectancy of a Waterpik?
soon.

What can you put in a Waterpik besides water?
soon.

Is it worth buying a Waterpik?
soon.

Should I use distilled water in my WaterPik?
soon.

Will a WaterPik remove hard plaque?
soon.

What are the disadvantages of using a Waterpik?
soon.

Should you use a Waterpik in the morning or at night?
soon.

This article is still a work in progress and was last updated on September 24, 2022.

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