Waterpik vs. Flossing

Portable oral irrigator kit in bathroom, waterpik for family use

Everyone wants to have a pearly white smile, but keeping and maintaining that smile takes a lot of work. Forgetting to practice good dental hygiene can cause all sorts of problems —from cavities to tooth extractions to some forms of gum disease, there are all sorts of pesky issues that can surface from not cleaning your teeth properly. Luckily for you, there are plenty of great tools to help keep your teeth feeling good, and looking white, bright, and nice — like classic floss or the more modern Waterpik. 

First, let’s talk floss. 

Ahhh dental floss, the tried and true classic. Floss has actually been around since 1815! It was invented by a dentist who wanted something thin to clean between his patient’s teeth, and that’s exactly what it’s still used for today. How to floss: take your floss and cut a two-foot string. Then wrap some floss around both of your pointer fingers, creating a tight line of floss. Slide the floss in between your teeth, going up to the gum and then back down along the sides. Do this to each side of the tooth and then repeat on all your other teeth. Even if you have braces it is important to floss — here are a few tips on how to floss with braces properly. 

Floss today is still one of the best tools for preventing gum disease (no wonder your dentist always berates you to do it every day!) floss helps get rid of bacteria, plaque, and food particles. Floss is also great for removing plaque since you can wipe each tooth clean of all the plaque stuck on your teeth before it hardens and turns into tartar.

One thing you have to be careful about when using floss is making sure not to apply too much pressure to your gums. Flossing too hard around the gum line can cause them to bleed and become inflamed. 

Introducing…. the Waterpik (floss alternative)

The Waterpik is a great tool to show how dental technology and tools have advanced through the years. Waterpiks (water flossers) are tools that do a similar job to what floss does. It uses pressure to shoot out water at your teeth, cleaning and removing food particles away from your teeth and gums. Waterpiks are great tools for cleaning when you may have complications going on in your mouth. Things like braces, dental implants, or post-wisdom tooth surgery may make it hard to floss, so the Waterpik makes a great option for cleaning your teeth in nearly any situation. Using a Waterpik is great for those hard-to-reach areas of the mouth and periodontal pockets. A big plus is that the Waterpik is easy to use. 

Dentists recommended starting by cleaning the back teeth and working up to your front teeth. You will need to clean both the inside and outside and upper and lower teeth to ensure top cleanliness. In the beginning, you’ll have some testing to figure out which setting is best for you. Things like the power settings and the temperature of the water will all be up to your personal preference. For the best results, make sure you place the tip of the Waterpik in your mouth so you are close to your teeth and gums. 

Now that you know and understand each tool, let’s look at the pros and cons of each. 

Floss Pros

  • Easy to control where you clean
  • Ability to clean a full tooth at once
  • Affordability
  • Very good at removing plaque

Floss Cons

  • Unable to reach some areas in the back of your mouth
  • Can cause your gums to bleed
  • Incorrectly flossing will not improve dental hygiene, and can harm or damage your gums

Waterpik Pros

  • Very easy to use
  • Ability to clean hard-to-reach areas
  • Cleans tight spaces

Waterpik Cons

  • Not the best for plaque removal
  • Can be expensive
  • Messy