Every six months or so, we’re presented with a question that never fails to send our hearts aflutter: “Have you been flossing?” Flossing is nobody’s ideal past-time, but pick up one of the best water flossers, and it may become something you look forward to doing every day. New to the idea of water flossing? Let’s break it down.
What is a water flosser?
According to the American Dental Association, an interdental cleaner, such as a water flosser, is a tool designed to “help clean hard-to-reach tooth surfaces and reduce the likelihood of gum disease and tooth decay.” Also known as an oral irrigator, water flossers use a small amount of pressurized water to drive a stream of water, aimed at the gum line and the spaces between teeth, to drive out any food debris, bacteria, or plaque that may be present.
Water Flossers vs. String Floss: Do water flossers work better?
With all the buzz around water flossers lately, you may be wondering: Is water flossing better than traditional flossing? While the debate is still going, there’s no doubt that water flossing is as effective as string flossing when paired with good brushing habits. Aside from removing food remnants left behind from the day, water flossers are great for people who have sensitive gums. The pressure from the water massages gums, which soothes it while getting deep into the gum line to remove plaque and bacteria. They’re also great for people with limited mobility. Unlike regular flossing, you’ll never find yourself contorting your body to ensure you reach every spot of your mouth.
When should you use a water flosser?
Like traditional flossing methods, water flossing should be done twice a day and preferably before brushing your teeth. Why is that? Well, by removing larger pieces of food debris before you brush, your toothbrush is able to get into the nooks and crannies of your teeth it otherwise couldn’t. Think of it like this: You wouldn’t scrub a dish without making sure you threw out any lingering food scraps that may have been left over, would you?
How to Use a Water Flosser
While it may seem a bit technical at first, a water flosser is simple to use once you get the hang of it. First, you’ll want to fill the water resevoir with lukewarm or room temperature water (cold water could irritate sensitive teeth.) Following that, you’ll want to select the proper nozzle. Some flossers come with additional nozzles for people who use braces or have gum disease, but the general nozzle should work fine on a day-to-day basis. After you’ve selected your tip, lean over the sink, place the flosser in your mouth, and turn on the machine (never turn on the machine outside of your mouth, or else water will get everywhere). Be sure to keep your mouth slightly agape to let water out as you move the device across your mouth, aiming at the gum line and spaces between the teeth. Once you’ve completed it, simply turn the device off and follow up with cleaning. Simple as that!
The Best Water Flossers
Ready to make flossing a celebrated part of your daily routine? Keep scrolling for FIRST’S picks for the 8 best water flossers on the market today.
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1. Best Cordless Handheld Water Flosser
Looking for a water flosser that's cordless, won't take up too much real estate on your counter, and can comfortably fit in the palm of your hand? Try this rechargeable flosser from MOSPRO. Featuring a newly-upgraded water tank for easy, thorough cleaning, this flosser comes with three pressure mode settings, two interchangeable tips, and a rotatable nozzle for difficult-to-reach angles. And with a lightweight construction and USB charger, it's also a great option for the travelers among us.
Where to buy: $42.99, Amazon
2. Best Waterpik Flosser
If there's one company you've heard of when it comes to water flossers, it's Waterpik. The first water flosser to receive the seal of approval from the American Dental Association, Waterpik makes a variety of dental flossers, with the WP-660 Aquarius Water Flosser being one of the best on the market today. With 10 pressure settings and seven tips for various dental needs, in just a minute a day, you'll be on your way a happier and healthier mouth.
Where to buy: $57 (Originally $89.99), Amazon
3. Best Water Flosser for Braces
Whether you're the parent of a child with braces or going through the process of straightening your teeth yourself, you're likely aware of just how important it is to keep your mouth clean when you have braces. With a million ways to get food caught, water flossers are a necessity to keep teeth clean and healthy along the journey. So if you're looking for the best water flosser for braces, pick up this one from iTeknic. This powerful dental irrigator quickly and deeply sweeps away anything that may get caught in braces, while also getting hard-to-reach places between teeth and the gum line for a superior clean.
Where to buy: $38.99, Amazon
4. Best Water Flosser for Families
We all want our family's teeth to be healthy and strong, so why not invest in a water flosser that everyone can use? Made with families big and small in mind, this flosser from ELLESYE is one of the best water dental flossers around. Great for everyone from children with braces to adults with bridges, this flosser comes with nine multifunctional tips, including four classic jet tips, two tongue cleaners, one dental plaque tip, one orthodontic tip, and one periodontal tip. With an adjustable 10-speed pressure system and 1,300 pulse-per-minute frequency (ideal for children and those with sensitive gums), your whole family will have healthy smiles for years to come.
Where to buy: $35.99, Amazon
5. Best Water Flosser for Gum Disease
When searching for the best water flosser for periodontal disease — better known as gum disease — you'll want to find something that will be gentle enough for sensitive gums but powerful enough to get you the clean you need. With over 1,600 pulses per minute and three sensitivity modes, this flosser from Hangsun uses a combination of water pressure and pulsations to safely clean below the gum line where regular floss just can't reach. Made with an extra quiet design and charging stand, you'll find yourself wondering how you ever lived without it.
Where to buy: $32.99, Amazon
6. Best Water Flosser for Bridges
Looking for a way to keep those smile-saving bridges squeaky clean? Anyone who has had any bridge work done before knows they can be a pain to keep clean and make flossing even harder than before. Say goodbye to those frustrating moments with this water flosser from Belmint. With an adjustable pressure range, you can customize your power level to get the clean you need. Complete with a set of color-coded nozzles to avoid confusion with other users, its great for every bridge-wearer in the family. But don't take it from us, customers are raving about it! Amazon buyer Stephen K. Callaway calls it an "awesome product" saying, "Great pressure regulation, does the job and a must have for dental bridge wearers!"
Where to buy: $39.99, Amazon
7. Best Water Flosser for Travel
While some water flossers aren't suitable for travel, many of them are — especially this one from KOOVON. Collapsable and complete with a travel-friendly USB charger, this foldable flosser effectively removes 99 percent of food debris, making way for proper brushing and supreme oral hygiene on the go. With four settings — normal, soft, pulse, and sinus — it also comes with a removable water tank for easy cleaning and a storage box to keep your flosser and its five interchangeable cleansing tips safe wherever your travels take you.
Where to buy: $39.99, Amazon
8. Best Water Flosser Toothbrush Set
If there's one thing most people love about getting their teeth cleaned, it's just how clean their mouths feel afterward. We all know the feeling and we all know how hard we've tried to keep up that same clean at home to no avail. While you should never skip your regular visit to the professionals, there is a way to get that clean at home thanks to the Home Dental Center from AquaSonic. Complete with a smart water flosser, an ultrasonic toothbrush that vibrates at an astounding 31,000 vibrations per minute, and a whole host of additional dental tools, keeping your mouth fresh and clean has never been easier.
Where to buy: $48.95, Amazon