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Water Flossing Is The Best Switch You Can Make For Your Teeth

hands filling a water flosser/blond woman using water flosser

The Many Benefits Of Water Flossing

Last time I had a dentist appointment, we were going over my flossing habits when the hygienist asked me if I had ever used a water flosser. I hadn’t, but she had such great things to say about them that I went online and bought one that same day!

I’ve now been using a water flosser for  several months, and I’ve been loving it so much that I simply have to tell you all about it! :-) In today’s post, I’ll give the scoop on what water flossers are and a bit about how they work. You’ll also learn how water flossing compares to string flossing, and whether a water flosser might be a good choice for you!

water flosser

Water Flossing FAQs

What Is A Water Flosser?

A water flosser is a small machine that produces a thin jet of pulsing water. When aimed at your gums and teeth, the water can dislodge bits of food and plaque that may be lurking between your teeth. The water also helps stimulate your gums, which can help protect against gum disease!

water flosser

How Does It Work?

But do water flossers work as well as string floss? From the research I’ve done, it appears the consensus is somewhere between “they’re equally as effective” and “one is only slightly more effective than the other.”

However, every dentist and hygienist on Earth would agree that any method of flossing is better than not doing it at all! And since many people (including myself!) find that they vastly prefer using a water flosser to using string floss, many dentists recommend them to their patients.

Related: 9 Ways To Use Floss When You’re In A Pickle

water flosser

When Should I Use My Water Flosser?

There’s no right or wrong time to floss! But for me personally, I like to do it at the end of the day, before I brush my teeth. This way, the water flosser dislodges any bits of food that may have gotten stuck in my teeth during the day, then I brush away any remaining grime with my toothbrush!

My nightly floss-then-brush routine leaves my teeth feeling super clean, and my dental checkups have been great too! :-)

water flosser

How To Use A Water Flosser

There’s a bit of a learning curve to using a water flosser, but once you get the hang of it, it’s easy! I use mine every day without fail, because it’s so quick and easy to do. Here’s how it’s done!

water flosser

Step 1 – Add Water

Start by filling the water reservoir with lukewarm water. Avoid using cold water because it can easily aggravate sensitive teeth (and teeth with normal sensitivity, for that matter!)

water flosser

Step 2 – Attach The Sprayer Tip

Next, you’ll choose a sprayer tip to use. Some types of water flossers come with different types of tips that are better for people with braces, gum disease, etc. If none of the special tips apply to your situation, choose the normal sprayer tip.

water flosser

Step 3 – Floss

Put the tip of the flosser inside your mouth and turn it on. (DON’T turn it on before you’ve put it in your mouth, or the water will go everywhere!) Move the tip around your mouth, targeting your gums as well as the spaces between your teeth on both the front and back sides.

Most people hold their head above the sink while using the water flosser, keeping their mouth slightly open to allow the water to drip into the sink. (I personally prefer to close my lips around the tip and floss until my mouth is full of water, then I’ll pause briefly to spit it out. Either way works!)

Once you’re finished, simply turn the water flosser off and put it away. Easy!

water flosser

Which Water Flosser Should I Get?

There are many different kinds of water flossers to choose from, with the Waterpik brand being the most notable. Several of their water flossers have been given the Seal of Acceptance from the American Dental Association, signifying that they are effective at reducing both plaque and gingivitis.

Here’s a quick look at the model I own, as well as a few other recommendations you may find helpful!

My Pick: Waterpik Sonic-Fusion 2.0 Professional Flossing Toothbrush
Price: $179.99

I recently upgraded to this model from an older cordless model, and I couldn’t be happier with it! I love that it has both a water flosser and an electric toothbrush together, like a little all-in-one oral hygiene station! :-)

This combination unit is an ideal solution for those with limited bathroom counter space. Its base measures about 5 x 5″ and it’s only 10″ tall, so it’s actually smaller than some water flossers that don’t include a toothbrush!

Best Water Flosser For At-Home Use: Waterpik Aquarius Water Flosser
Price: $79.15

This is the classic countertop model from Waterpik, and it comes at an affordable price. It does need to be plugged in to operate.

Best Water Flosser For Kids: Waterpik Water Flosser For Kids
Price: $49.99

This is a great kid-sized flosser that may actually get your kids to floss their teeth regularly! Plus it’s very affordable, which is a nice bonus.

Best Water Flosser On A Budget: Nicwell 4 Modes Dental Oral Irrigator
Price: $29.99

If affordability is your priority, check out this cordless water flosser from Nicwell! It offers all the features you could want and it’s perfect for travel.

water flosser

I’ve really enjoyed using my water flosser, and my dental checkups have been better than ever because of it. I would definitely recommend one to anyone who has trouble remembering to use string floss as often as they should!

For more oral health and hygiene tips, check out:

Do you prefer string flossing or water flossing?

Jill Nystul Photo

Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.
I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee

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Beauty Tips

  • I have gum issues and use both string and water flosser.but…. I use a large coffee mug filled with old fashioned Listerine (EQUATE, the Walmart knock off) and hydrogen peroxide slightly warmed in the microwave or diluted with hot water. Listerine is an antiseptic and Hydrogen peroxide is well…always good.

  • I’m trying to decide if I should get one. I think my brother in law has one. Also I floss. But, the way the hygienist was showing me with wrapping both ends around my teeth is hard. Also some areas are very hard to get too. I’m wondering if it would make much of a difference with my teeth. I already have been using a rinse for a few years to keep bleeding gums under control.

  • I’m trying to remember if my brother in law has one . I’m thinking of getting one. I do floss but wrapping in around my teeth like the hygienist was recommending is really difficult to do. When she showed me I’m thinking you’ve got to be kidding me. It might be good for some areas that are really hard to get at.

  • I purchased the AquaSonic portable flosser ($29.95 at Amazon) with 4 heads and it works great. While I do use an electric toothbrush, I’m amazed at how many more particles the water flosser gets rid of.

  • I also have the Waterpik Sonic and absolutely love it. I add mouthwash to the warm water for added cleanliness. I also went from a cordless waterpik to this model and will never change (can’t see how they can improve on the Sonic). Best money I ever spent.

  • My hygienist recommended I add a half capful of mouthwash to the lukewarm water for an extra clean. I love it, and my teeth have never been so healthy as they are now. I also use regular string floss but not every day.

  • I love my water flosser/electric toothbrush combination. No matter how well I’ve brushed my teeth and flossed the traditional way, they never feel as clean as they do after using the electric water combo. I do also floss manually, just not every day, to get rid of any residual particles not sprayed out with the flosser. My hygientist did tell me that people who have tight teeth are more likely to need manual flossing in addition to the water flosser.

  • I may ask my dentist about something like this as flossing has always been hard for me. Rope floss shreds in the tight spaces between my teeth, and tape floss is becoming harder to find (even when it’s not cutting my fingers). For now I use brush picks to get between my teeth, but these are disposable and have to be thrown away.

  • P.S. I also use string floss in case anything is lurking that the water pic couldn’t get at. I use the unwaxed as food sticks to it compared to the waxed floss.

  • I’ve been using a water pic since the 1960s and wouldn’t switch! It DOES make a difference when it’s checkup time at the dentist!! Glad you did this article as you may have saved a lot of folks dental problems should they join in and get one and use it faithfully!!

  • That’s a pretty nifty little appliance. But I have an awesome version of a water irrigator called the
    “H2Oral Irrigator Dental Shower Water Floss”, for $21 on Amazon, plus free shipping with Prime. It’s a really simple little unit that hooks into your shower pipe and all the mess stays in the shower. No batteries or electricity. My oral hygienist told me about it and I have been using it when I shower, for years, now.
    Thanks for all the neat stuff you teach me!

  • Wow, didn’t know so many dentist were on this site! I take extremely good care of my teeth & see my hygienist ever six months and always have issues. My boyfriend of 20 years has never seen a dentist & has never had a cavity! Guess what- he doesn’t floss…Great article…

    • I feel your pain! I’ve always brushed regularly but I still have multiple fillings from either grinding my teeth (which is now a non-issue after bite correction) or from gum recession apparently caused by brushing too hard. Can’t win for losing!

  • I use one of these but also floss. If I don’t use the water flosser regularly, my gums get soft and have sore spots. Be sure to clean the water reservoir occasionally with some vinegar water. I didn’t do this with my first one, and eventually it got moldy. Ick!

  • i use a waterpik every day but i also use floss! Regardless of which i use first, i always find that I get more from between my teeth. My dentist says he can really see a difference since i started using the waterpik.

  • Oh, Jillee, Jillee, Jillee…any dentist will tell you that a waterpik needs to be used WITH regular flossing. The stream of water can’t get to all areas susceptible to plaque.

  • I love my shower flosser. Ordered off Amazon. It is really convenient and I love that you already have warm water flowing and flossing with the warm water is a plus in the comfort department. The pressure is also very adjustable. I t$20.00.

  • I love my Water Pik. When my 1st one died, I bought a highly recommended one- different brand- on Amazon. Hated it. It had way too much pressure and the different picks were horribly expensive. I bought another Water Pik.The one I hated for teeth is now a great tool for cleaning window tracks. The flosser is a great tool for tracks.

  • I have, and use, a waterpik daily. However, it does NOT clean between the teeth. Only dental floss can do that. You should floss at least once a day, preferably at night before bed. A waterpik should be an ADDITION to flossing, not a replacement.

  • Why buy a little machine for good money when a $1 box of floss does the same job even better? And why would anyone who’s too lazy/sorry to floss use that device? Use the floss, people – your teeth will thank you!

    • My dental hygenist recently recommended the water flosser to me and said she has seen significant improvement in teeth and gum health in her patients who started up by them.

  • Water flossing is step 1 of my nightly teeth routine. I think it’s foolish to use the portable one at home because it has to be be refilled at least once in order to do a good job. The portable model is only acceptable for packing. The plug-in-only countertop model is for home.

    Step 2 is sonicare. I cover toothbrush with coconut oil, put one drop of oregano oil on top, and spoon baking soda on top of that. 2 minutes of Sonicare and a good rinse with warm water.

    Step 3 is the ALL-IMPORTANT string floss. I use POH unwaxed extra thin. It’s the BEST. Teeth must be scraped using the up & down motion of the UNWAXED floss. If you do the scraping with waxed floss, you’re wasting your time. Getting in there with unwaxed floss disrupts things, is great for the gums, and is what makes the mouth feel super-duper clean.

    Step 4 is using one brush pik, Doctor’s BrushPicks | Interdental Toothpicks | 275 Count | Pack of 4, from Amazon. I put them on subscribe & save for the best price and keep skipping the order until I actually need to reorder. One trip around using the brush end and one trip around using the pointy end. Then another good rinse with warm water.

    Water pik takes 3 minutes, Sonicare takes 3 minutes, string flossing takes 5 minutes, brush pick takes 1 minute. Once or maybe twice a month I skip steps 3 and 4 and only because it’s late and I have to get up early. I’m trying my hardest to avoid the misery and expense of the extensive dental and restorative work that many people I know have gone through and continue to deal with. 15 minutes a night is a very small price to pay.

    • I’m self-employed and have never had dental insurance. That’s motivation for me, too. Going to sleep with amazingly clean teeth and having them stay clean for the next 12 hours (from last food of the night to first food of the next day) is a big boost towards keeping teeth and gums healthy.

    • You are quite wise. Heredity and surgeries have affected my teeth. I have had 9 implants. Even with insurance they cost me about $3k each, including the crown. You can buy a lot of dental supplies for $27,000!

      • Oh, man, Joan, sorry for all that dental misery and spending! I’m trying very hard to avoid that and so far so good. I might even pack my water pik for a week vacation next month. When I drive somewhere, it’s a no-brainer. I take it. This will be the first time taking it on a plane but it’ll be one week of mediocre water pikking with the travel model, so I think I’ll bubble wrap my counter-top water pik and not worry that I’m going to ruin my teeth. GOOD LUCK TO YOU!! May your implants last forever and be healthy and comfortable!

  • I’ve used the Toilettree water flosser for years. I use it in the shower. I love it and hate flossing yet my dental hygienist still told me I needed to floss and kept giving me interdermal picks. I just recently started using them and they’re very useful immediately after eating…in the privacy of my home…..before brushing and using the water flosser.

  • I have been a dental hygienist for 45 years (love it) and I have recommended a similar product for a long time. It’s called a HYDROFLOSS and is available on line through various sources. It does not work by pushing food out from around the teeth but instead the water is given a positive charge (you do not feel this) as it passes through the tip and, since bacteria has a natural negative charge, it attracts the bacteria into the water. It has adjustable power settings and lasts a very long time. My husband has had his for about 8 years and uses it nightly. I have had patients who present with 4-5 mm pockets be able to reduce them to a normal 2-3 mm in a matter of weeks. Hope this information helps.

  • I love these things–I have the Waterpik model with an electric toothbrush, Waterpik combo and it is much more enjoyable for me than floss. My hygienist said I should use both, but I am not so good about that, so using the Waterpik is definitely better than nothing

  • Thanks Jillee, my daughter is a dental hygienist and has been talking to me about these. I’m going to get one. You explained everything so well that it answered most of my questions. Have a great day.

  • Love mine. My dentist always comments on what beautiful teeth I have. I didn’t have dental insurance until my 50’s. He was amazed at how clean they were without seeing a dentist. I had seen them in earlier years but it had been 30+. My husband’s teeth are much better also. They no longer complain that he needs to floss more. Definitely recommend!

  • Thank you for posting this ! I follow you and am so glad plus fortunate to have found you . You have wonderful idea but this one told the cake for me . I didn’t grow up under the best circumstances and well I just never knew how to floss properly . Even after being taut or shown at school it wasn’t something I ever got the hang of . Now they have those little pick things and with those the job isn’t done properly . I could never figure out how to get behind the teeth between the gum & tooth . I’m between my teeth is not the issue at all . This will make my dental hygiene so much better . I don’t have the best teeth in fact there are too many issues . Some sad to say I had no control over being born with 4missing adult teeth 2 of those I only found out about at 25 years old . There 2 spaces from the front and well they were but baby teeth shouldnt have lasted that long so I guess they tried to help . No dentist even told me of the other 2 I had to find out when I visited another dentist to have 1 of the baby teeth refilled from a filling that fell out from a previous cavity . That is when the new dentist have me the news that she could do nothing it would fall out and said the same would happen to the same tooth on the opposite side . DEVIstation doesn’t even cover ,becauas insurance doesn’t cover implants for that it’s considered cosmetic surgery . That’s life though right unfair . If I did what would cause me to lose them like drugs or maybe never brushe d mayb that would serve me right but to be judged at 33 on first look especially where I’m from is hard and truly unfair . I mean i have heard not so good people get implants and these people weren’t born missing teeth they just neglected there and caused them harm . Well either way m dentist told me to floss more often and this post brings me not and hope that I now have an extra tool to help me to not lose anymore teeth . I thank you this means more then you know . Thank

  • I totally agree! I love this. I fill mine up 3/4 water & 1/4 mouthwash to kill any germs.
    It’s so much easier to use than floss & you will feel great when you see the food particles that this knocks out from between your teeth.

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