Picture yourself in the dentist’s chair. Everything is going fine. The dentist has worked his way around your mouth reeling off those confusing letters and numbers, and his tone seems cheery. The assistant smiles at you. All is well. You’ve clearly nailed this. And then everything changes with a question.
The dentist asks you whether you’ve been flossing, and the mood instantly switches. You start to sweat. The lights suddenly feel harsher and somehow brighter. You can feel the heat on your face. You’re turning red now. Your mouth is so dry. No, you haven’t been flossing regularly, and now you’ve got to come clean. There’s no point trying to avoid the question. The dentist’s eyes are burning into your soul.
You admit it, and the disappointment is palpable. You’ve let everyone down. If only you had just started flossing like you promised you would do on your last visit. It’s just so hard to get into the routine. If only there was an easier way of staying on top of your oral hygiene and not let your dentist down.
We know the struggle, and you’re not alone. Flossing isn’t for everyone, but it is an essential part of maintaining a healthy mouth. For those who can’t commit to traditional flossing methods, we recommend checking out water flossers (sometimes known as oral irrigators).
Do you actually need to floss?
We’re sorry to burst your brushing bubble, but good dental hygiene involves more than just brushing your pearly whites. Brushing is obviously an important part of the process, and still helps to remove plaque and prevent cavities, but you need to do more to keep your teeth healthy and prevent gum disease.
Flossing is the answer, because it get in between your teeth to lifts and removes plaque. Basically, flossing helps keep your mouth sqeaky clean by reaching all the places that your electric toothbrush can’t access. Brushing can only really clean the front and back of your teeth, so what about the sides? If you don’t clean these areas, you’re asking for plaque buildup and gum disease.
Do water flossers work?
It’s clear that flossing is absolutely essential, but can you get away with just using a water flosser? The experts at Oral-B state that it’s “not recommended to replace traditional flossing with water flossing.” Instead, you should incorporate both traditional and water flossing to your daily routine.
Water flossers still do a stellar job of keeping you fresh and clean. They shoot a stream of water into your mouth which effectively removes food particles and plaque build-up. Oral-B states that “they cannot replicate the scraping motion of string floss that removes tartar-causing plaque,” but these devices still have a really positive impact on your overall oral hygiene.
The primary advantage that a water flosser has over the traditional technique is convenience. The process is simply not as physically taxing, and you don’t need to fumble around with some slippery floss. These devices are also better suited to anyone undergoing orthodontic work, as the water can easily clear out food and debris that gets trapped in and around the brackets. Elderly people or anyone with manual dexterity problems could also benefit from a water flosser.
How do you use a water flosser?
Water flossers are easy to use, but we’ll still breakdown the process so there are no doubts. We’re nice like that. This is the step-by-step guide to using your water flosser:
Add water — OK, this might seem obvious, but you’ll need water to use your water flosser. We’re just covering all bases. You’ll need to either connect your water flosser to the tap or fill the reservoir with lukewarm water.
Aim — Whatever you do, don’t start your water flosser without first placing the nozzle firmly in your mouth. We wouldn’t want you to spray water all over your bathroom. We’ll leave you to decide on the best order to floss your teeth, but you should direct the device away from your target area rather than directly against your teeth and gums. This might be a good time to lean over the sink, because there is always going to be a risk of a leak.
Find your perfect pressure setting — At this point you can play around with the water pressure. The pressure should be high enough to actually get the job done, but always start with the lowest pressure setting and work your way up. It’s all about finding the right balance between power and comfort.
Direction — Work your way around your mouth, targeting one tooth at a time. You should direct the water at your gum line and at the areas between your teeth. There is no golden rule for how long you should hold the water over each tooth, but two seconds should be more than enough.
Remove water — We’ve come full circle, and at this point you just need to turn off the device, remove the nozzle, and drain the remaining water from the reservoir. It’s important to not skip this step, because leaving water in your reservoir can result in bacterial growth.
Cleaning — This whole process is about improving your oral hygiene, so it would kind of defeat the point to not clean your water flosser’s reservoir after every session. It only takes a few seconds, but it’s a crucial activity. Don’t forget.
Follow these simple steps and you should quickly see an improvement in your general oral hygiene.
What is the best water flosser?
We’ve covered the benefits of flossing, whether water flossers work, and how to use a water flosser, and now there is only one thing left to cover. There are plenty of water flossers on offer from top personal care brands, but which model is the best?
We have checked out everything out there from top brands like Oral-B, Philips, and Waterpik, and highlighted a selection of your best options. There should be something for everyone and every budget in this list, whether you’re an experienced flosser or total beginner.
These are the best water flossers in 2021.
Rechargeable battery • Travel bag and travel water plug • 360-degree tip rotation • Three pressure settings
Not the largest reservoir • More powerful options out there
A compact and cordless water flosser that’s great for travel and smaller bathrooms.
Waterpik WP-562UKCordless water flosser is lightweight and portable, and comes with a travel bag and water plug so you can always stay on top of your oral hygiene.
This compact and lightweight model is ideal for smaller bathrooms and travel, and comes with a travel bag and water plug. You also get a 200 ml reservoir that provides up to 45 seconds of constant powerful water jets.
The rechargeable battery powers the water flosser for one week of typical use, with a four-hour rapid magnetic charger meaning you should always be able to stay on top of your routine.
Two-week battery life on a full charge • Air and micro-droplet technology • Customisation
Door to the reservoir can be tough to open
Powerful water flosser packed with advanced features that help to remove plaque.
Philips Sonicare AirFloss UltraThis water flosser is packed with advanced features, including air and micro-droplet technology that helps remove plaque in hard-to-reach areas.
It only takes 60 seconds to clean your whole mouth with this water flosser, and you have the option to select your burst frequency. You simply need to hold down the activation button for continuous automatic bursts or press and release for manual burst mode.
The powerful spray can also be customised to match whatever your preference is, with single, double, or triple bursts available to you.
Cordless • Two nozzles • Six cleaning modes • Oxyjet technology
Personalise and customise your clean with this water flosser from a respected oral hygiene brand.
Oral-B Aquacare 6This water flosser has an on-demand button and six cleaning modes that help you control and personalise your clean.
This popular model uses oxyjet technology to enrich the water with microfine bubbles of air that boosts your oral health routine. You can also personalise your experience with six cleaning modes and three intensity settings: sensitive, medium, and intense. Every setting can be used with two nozzle water streams.
When it comes to customisation and precision, it’s tough to beat this water flosser.
Four water jet modes • Enriched with oxygen • Tank is removable • Powerful
This powerful water flosser offers everything you need to blast away plaque.
Panasonic EW1411This water flosser features a powerful water jet that effectively removes bacteria and food residues caught between the teeth.
The EW1411’s water tank is removable, meaning you can easily rinse it with warm water without making a mess. A full tank of water provides about 35 seconds of use between re-filling.
You get the choice of four water jet modes so can always find the perfect pressure for the job.
Four nozzles • Three cleaning modes • Large water tank • Cheap • Lightweight
Impressive water flosser proves that you don’t need to spend big to get the best.
Hangsun HOC700This cheap water flosser offers three cleaning modes, four replaceable nozzles, and a bunch of other clever features.
It uses a combination of water pressure and pulsations to clean deeply between your teeth and below the gum line, with three modes and four nozzles that let you customise your clean.
This water flosser is rechargeable, and can be fully charged in four hours with your computer, power adapter, power bank, or even car charger.