The 9 Best Water Flossers
9. Nicefeel Oral Irrigator
- completely waterproof
- short connection hose
- needs to lean to empty reservoir
|Rating||4.1 / 5.0|
8. Belmint Professional
- 30-second pacing alarm
- handle falls off holder if jostled
- tips over easily
|Rating||3.7 / 5.0|
7. Profloss 4190
- extra heads for multiple users
- coiled hose won't dangle in the sink
- easily installs in 5 minutes
|Rating||3.7 / 5.0|
6. Panasonic EW1211A Cordless
- removes food jammed beneath gums
- 3 different cleaning modes
- only includes one nozzle
|Rating||4.1 / 5.0|
5. ToiletTree Professional Series
- large water reservoir
- comes with four tips
- has a small footprint on the counter
|Rating||4.2 / 5.0|
4. H2Ofloss Quiet Design
- also works as a nasal irrigator
- operates at 1200 pulses per minute
- 6 water pressure settings on handle
|Rating||4.0 / 5.0|
3. Waterpik Complete Care WP-950
- travel case included
- multiple pressure settings
- 5 specialized tips for various needs
|Rating||4.8 / 5.0|
2. ToiletTree Poseidon
- wide reservoir opening for easy fill
- bpa-free construction
- ergonomic grip and easy-release tip
|Rating||4.5 / 5.0|
1. Waterpik Aquarius WP-660
- 1-minute timer with 30-second pacer
- special tips for braces and implants
- led mode display
|Rating||4.8 / 5.0|
Lurking Between Your Teeth
For most people, a quick smile in the mirror won’t betray any horrific dental problems. They won’t see little green goblins growing out from the spaces between their teeth, nor will they encounter visible cavities into which small children may fall. That’s because the real dangers threatening your oral hygiene are mostly invisible to the naked eye.
There’s a saying shared by western religions that choose to personify the devil that says, “The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was to convince the world he didn’t exist.” The idea is that anyone ignorant of evil is complicit it its perpetration. The same goes for your teeth; ignoring the basic tenets of dental care will result in all kinds of problems that, at the end of the day, are your responsibility to prevent.
If you aren’t flossing on a regular basis, a litany of miserable experiences is sure to plague you. Least concerning from a health standpoint (though certainly disconcerting both socially and for any disease implied by the symptom), is bad breath. Food particles caught between your teeth will exacerbate tooth decay, which combines with all that rotting food to give you some hair-raising halitosis.
Beyond any unpleasant aromas, not flossing can result in a massive buildup of tartar on the teeth, as well as around and below the gums, leading to gum recession and periodontal diseases like gingivitis and periodontitis, none of which end well for your mouth or for your bank account. After all, even with good insurance, there’s a significant out-of-pocket cost for root canals, bridges, crowns, caps, and the dozens of other painful and complicated therapies for failed teeth. Down the line, plaque buildup and loss of teeth can also contribute to very serious aliments ranging from kidney and heart diseases to diabetes.
A Better, Waterier Way To Floss
Fortunately for those of us who disdain the experience of flossing, water flossers, also known as gum line irrigators, provide a completely different experience with remarkably similar–and some might say improved–results.
Traditional flossing is meant to drag a line of nylon or Teflon polymer into the space between your teeth and your gums, to drag it back out (laden with bacteria, tartar, and food particles), and to repeat. Sometimes this polymer is waxed for smoother movement, and sometimes it isn’t. The process is uncomfortable at best and painful at worst, contributing to the fact that only about 50 percent of Americans floss on a daily basis.
Water flossing works a little differently. A concentrated stream of water takes the place of a chemically derived line of flat rope. Since water is at once significantly soft and powerful, it’s a method that proves far more enjoyable than traditional flossing. Water’s ability to conform to any space allows it to reach deeply into your gum line without feeling too invasive, and its natural erosive abilities remove just as much bacteria and food material as traditional floss, provided your unit creates sufficient water pressure.
What’s more, you don’t have to worry about reintroducing bacteria from one set of teeth into another. With traditional floss, if you accidentally drag the same section of floss between two or more teeth, you could actually spread dangerous bacteria around your mouth. This also occurs as bacteria from between your teeth collects on the fingers around which you secure a long string of floss. With a water flosser, each drop of water moving between your teeth is fresh and clean, resulting in a safer, cleaner experience.
The debate between advocates of water flossing and those committed to the traditional method isn’t likely to settle down any time soon, but that debate usually focuses specifically on the cleaning capabilities of each. A more appropriate bottom line should be whether you floss at all, how comfortable that experience has been, and whether a water flosser would increase the frequency and variety of your oral hygiene routine. If one of these units is likely to get you flossing once or more per day, you'll be well ahead of the hygiene curve.
Your Favorite Flosser
Choosing from among the water flossers on our list will have a lot to do with where you perform your oral hygiene rituals, what water temperature you prefer to use, and whether you want to use filtered or unfiltered tap water in that performance. There are three basic types of water flosser available to you: tank-based, faucet-based, and shower-mounted.
Tank-based flossers have a small tank attached to them that holds a reserve of water. These models use a motor to force water through the unit’s hose and handle, and into your mouth. You can also fill the reservoir with filtered water, which some units will then heat up, so if you have a good filtration system in your home, you can use the same quality water that you drink to clean your teeth. The downside here is that if your water reserve runs out before you finish flossing, you have a wait in store.
Faucet-based units have an endless supply of hot water (or at least as big a supply as you have a hot water heater in your home). They attach directly to the faucet in your bathroom sink, and their pressure comes not from a motor, but from your home's water pressure itself. Of course, if you have weak water pressure in your residence, you might not be able to generate enough of a flow to achieve a total clean.
Shower-mounted options install directly in your shower line, just behind the showerhead. These allow you to perform your flossing routine in the warmth and comfort of your shower, combining many of the good and bad points of faucet-bases systems, but with the added advantage of a toggle to switch the water flow between the flosser and the shower.
Once you’ve decided where you want to floss, you can look for amenities like multiple flosser heads that can hygienically accommodate an entire family, or portability among tank-based units should you want to travel with your system.