Everyone wants a great set of pearly whites, but some may not know that properly cleaning your teeth is about more than just having a nice smile. There is evidence to suggest that poor oral hygiene can lead to a host of health issues, including heart disease and respiratory infections.
Brushing and string flossing is great, but if you really want to up your oral hygiene game, consider a water flosser like the Waterpik WP-662 Professional Oral Irrigator. They can flush out food particles and bacteria that those other methods miss.
There are many benefits of using a water flosser, sometimes referred to as oral irrigators. The most notable benefit is getting a more thorough cleaning than just with traditional flossing alone. Regular flossing, while very effective, can often leave plaque, bacteria and bits of food behind. If you use a water flosser afterward, you flush out any of this leftover gunk. This helps reduce the chances of gum disease and inflammation.
They are also very helpful for those with braces, as it is tough to get into all of their cracks and crevices when string floss. Additionally, anyone dealing with arthritis or other issues that inhibit hand strength or dexterity may find a water flosser easier to use.
You can break down water flossers countertop models and portable models. Countertop water flossers have a separate flosser wand and base, the latter of which contains the reservoir and pressure controls. A small water hose connects the two pieces, so you’ll be tethered to the base during use.
Portable models, sometimes called travel water flossers, are self-contained machines that combine the reservoir, controls and flossing tip into a single unit. These are handheld, generally battery powered and small enough that you can pack them into luggage to take on trips. The downside to portable models is the small reservoir, which sometimes needs to be refilled midway through the flossing session.
Water flossers may come with a single tip or several tips, each designed for a slightly different purpose. Every model includes the standard tip for standard oral irrigation. Still, you may also receive an orthodontic tip for braces, a dedicated plaque tip, a tip for deep flushing or even a toothbrush tip that allows for brushing and water flossing simultaneously.
Nearly all water flossers have more than one setting for stream pressure. Some also feature an adjustable spray pattern or more than mode, such as massaging and cleaning. The more settings a water flosser has, the more versatile it will be.
Water flossers have bent tips that make it easier to get deep into the back of the mouth and other hard-to-reach areas. The tips on many models are rotatable to ensure the bent tip doesn’t require any awkward wrist positions or switching hands when moving from one side of your mouth to the other.
The placement of the flow-control switch on a water flosser may be on the handheld unit or on the base. Wherever it is, it should be easily accessible without having to take the tip out of your mouth. Otherwise, you may wind up spraying water everywhere before you can turn off the machine.
The majority of people don’t brush for the recommended amount. Some models feature built-in timers to alert you when it is time to stop or move to a different area in your mouth to reduce the chances of not water flossing for the recommended amount of time.
The reservoir capacity is important for convenient operation. If it is too small, you’ll end up needing to refill it mid-way through your cleaning session. However, you’ll also need to consider how much bathroom counter space you are willing to give up for your water flosser, as those with large reservoirs tend to have a larger footprint.
Unless you are using a self-contained, portable water flosser, the wand will be tethered to the base unit the whole time. This means you want to choose a model with a hose long enough that your movement doesn’t feel restricted and you can stand when using it.
Most water flossers cost $30-$75. You can find some options from lesser-known brands as low as $15, but the quality and durability are questionable.
A. You should use water flossers in conjunction with brushing and traditional string flossing for a more thorough cleaning. They don’t take the place of either of those other hygiene routines.
A. Most manufacturers of water flossers recommend using them once per day for anywhere from 60 to 90 seconds.
What you need to know: If you are looking for a water flosser with all the bells and whistles, the WP-662, which has 10 pressure settings and two modes, is the way to go.
What you’ll love: It can produce up to 1,400 pulses per minute for a thorough cleaning, and it features a built-in timer to let you know when it is time to move to a different section in your mouth. Also, it comes with seven tips, one of which is designed specifically for those with braces.
What you should consider: It lacks a dedicated place to store the tips.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
What you need to know: This space-saving option easily fits onto most bathroom counters yet still offers many of the same features as full-sized models.
What you’ll love: Its reservoir inverts over the top of the machine for a clean and organized look when not in use. Plus, despite its small size, it still has multiple settings and produces almost as much pressure as larger models.
What you should consider: It is advertised as travel friendly, but it doesn’t come with a travel case.
What you need to know: A top choice for travelers, this relatively compact water flosser is completely handheld and cordless.
What you’ll love: It has a contoured handle that makes it easy to hold, despite being somewhat thick, and since it is rechargeable and completely self-contained, you won’t feel tethered to the wall or a separate reservoir unit.
What you should consider: You may need to refill the small reservoir mid way through your cleaning session.
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Brett Dvoretz writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.