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Flossing vs. Waterpik — Which is Better?

We get asked a lot about Waterpiks and whether they are more effective than flossing. The short answer is that they are a good idea and even essential for some like those with braces or who suffer from arthritis. A Waterpik can access areas of the mouth that traditional floss can’t. And yet a Waterpik simply won’t remove all the plaque that traditional flossing can.

What is a Waterpik?

Also known as dental water jets or oral irrigators, Waterpiks were first invented in 1962. It’s a device that shoots high velocity water into your mouth to remove lingering food debris. It’s especially helpful at cleaning hard to reach areas of the mouth many simply can’t access with floss. For those who wear braces, a Waterpik can more easily access and remove food that can get caught in the wires. This can help reduce plaque and cavities.

Can a Waterpik Replace Flossing?

Not really. Waterpiks are great at removing food and some plaque, but they won’t remove plaque as thoroughly as traditional floss can.

So ideally, a Waterpik is an addition to your oral health plan, to use alongside brushing and regular flossing. We see you roll your eyes! Don’t you already do enough? If you don’t have enough patience to do all 3, that’s fine. Simply stick to brushing and flossing. Both are critical to preventing cavities and gum disease. A Waterpik can help, but it really cannot replace either of the two.

However, if you wear braces or suffer from arthritis and can’t floss much of your mouth, you might consider a Waterpik. It really can help.

But Really. You Should Floss. Absolutely.

The bottom line is you definitely should floss. It’s critical to your oral health. It gets into hard to reach places your brush simply can’t, like deep within the gumline. This removes food and other debris, removes plaque, and prevents cavities and gum disease. Even if your gums tend to bleed when you floss, keep doing it anyway. That’s fine. The important thing is to do it regularly, at least once per day.

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