If you are serious about taking care of your teeth, then brushing should only be the first step. Yes, you should floss often too, and to help the cause, you may also want to invest in a good Waterpik.
In case you are unfamiliar with the term, Waterpik (with no “c” in the spelling) is actually the brand name that’s become synonymous with the overall category of water flossers. They’re devices that shoot a stream of water into your mouth and between your teeth to dislodge food, plaque, and other types of gunk that might get built up over time. Waterpiks (or water flossers, if you prefer) can help reduce the risk of gum disease and gingivitis.
But what’s the best Waterpik or water flosser for you? We asked some dentists which ‘piks are, well, worth picking.
Dr. Rhonda Kalasho, of GLO Modern Dentistry in Los Angeles, has seen great success with the Waterpik Aquarius. “It has a tank you can fill lukewarm water in, which I suggest to be lukewarm if you have sensitive teeth, and you adjust the pressure setting. It can be a bit more expensive than all the other brands, however it is the most easy to use,” she says. “I also love that Waterpik has so many tips I can choose from, and they include ones you can use to brush over your teeth, even tips used for below the gumline and behind and around crowns, and implants. I personally have seen a major reduction in my patients’ gum disease, staining and bad breath after including a waterflosser like the Waterpik as part of their oral hygiene home regimen.”
Waterpik Cordless Water Flosser: From $79.99
If you are always on the go for work, Dr. Mike Golpa can relate. Based in Las Vegas, he’s the CEO of the G4byGolpa dental implant centers, and he recommends the Cordless Waterpik. “This one is extremely portable. Because I travel very often, this is a significant feature for me,” he says. “I can take it everywhere and it saves space on the counter, while stationary models are quite bulky.”
Philips Sonicare AirFloss Ultra: $59.95 (list price $89.99)
If you’re one of the millions of Americans who know they need to floss more, Dr. Lata Stefano has a recommendation for you. Based in Ohio, Dr. Stefano likes the Philips Sonicare AirFloss Ultra because of its “user-friendly” nature. “It’s known to be the 60-second flosser,” she says. “It has targeted cleaning and can improve gum health.”
Nicefeel Cordless Water Flosser: $33.69
Dr. Ashley Paré is a Florida-based cosmetic and general dentist and founder of Shoreline Smiles. Partly because she has many patients who have permanent retainers, braces, or dental implants, “my personal favorite would be the Nicefeel Cordless Water Flosser Teeth Cleaner,” she says. “The reason I like this particular model is the price and convenience it provides. It’s truly portable, or at least as portable as an irrigation machine can be. The reason I place such value on this unit is that for those of us with cosmetic dental work or orthodontics in place, having access to a tool like this can be a lifesaver. I don’t literally mean life-saving, but getting something properly stuck in your permanent retainer can be super frustrating, so being able to take care of it while at the gym, at work, on business or personal travel, and so on is unique.”
If you’re trying to keep your teeth clean while sticking to a budget, and you also have chompers that are a bit on the gentle side, Dr. Stefano recommends the H2ofloss Dental Water Flosser. “This choice can be less expensive, has lower pressure which many users like, and has a quieter motor than many of the other options,” she says.
The Waterpik brand was the overwhelming pick of the dentists interviewed for this piece, and the company has enough variations to suit multiple needs. Dr. Ana Ortiz is the founder of Madison Green Family Dental in West Palm Beach, Florida. “I particularly like this model because of its relatively compact design, while still having a large reservoir for your cleaning solution, whether water alone or mixed with baking soda, mouthwash,” she says via email. “This is important because to get into a daily habit of using a Waterpik a patient needs the machine to be readily accessible (i.e., it needs to stay out so you use it daily) and to be enough water to do a thorough job of cleaning your teeth and gums. And this is silly, I know, but lots of patients like it because it comes in both white and black so they can incorporate it into their design preferences with a little more ease.”
She adds, “I would be doing a disservice to my patients if I didn’t mention this, but don’t assume water picking is an equal substitute for flossing. While it’s certainly better than doing nothing at all, flossing really is the best method to prevent oral issues, however, a Waterpik can compliment most preventative measures really nicely.”
Best Mouthwash to Use Before a Waterpik
Crest 3D White Luxe Glamorous White Multi-Care Whitening Mouthwash: $19.95 for Pack of 3
Dr. Pia Lieb knows how valuable a good smile can be. She is the founder of Cosmetic Dentistry Center NYC and was the exclusive dentist for Victoria Secret supermodels, as well as the go-to for top modeling agencies worldwide including: The Society Management, IMG, DNA, Next, Soul Modeling, Elite Model World and Women Management. “Before using a Waterpik, you must ultrasonically and manually clean all of the debris and plaque off your teeth through brushing and flossing with run-of-the-mill dental floss,” she says. She swears by “Crest Glamour Push Mouthwash, as its effervescent action helps remove all organic debris.”