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Much to the chagrin of dentists everywhere, flossing is somewhat of the ugly stepchild of the oral care world. Brushing your teeth twice a day? Doable. Flossing twice a day? For some reason, that feels like an obscene request. That’s where the beauty of a good water flosser comes in, making the once-dreaded task easier than ever yet still offering the same efficacy as the OG method. As the name suggests, these handheld devices rely on a pressurized stream of water to help flush out food and any other debris from spaces in between your teeth.“One of the biggest advantages water flossers have over traditional floss is that they require less manual dexterity,” says expert Dr. Angelique Freking. (i.e. no more trying to wrangle a tiny piece of floss in the back of your mouth.) She adds that they’re also great for patients with dental work such as bridges and an especially good pick for anyone with braces, which are extremely hard to keep clean.
Meet the Expert
- Dr. Angelique Freking, DDS, is a general and cosmetic dentist and the Director of Dentistry at Park Slope Dental in New York City.
- Dr. Sanda Moldovan, MS, DDS, is a double board-certified periodontist and nutritionist in Beverly Hills. She is also the founder of Orasana, an All-Natural Oral Health & Wellness brand understanding the connection between the mouth and the overall health of the body.
Keep reading for more on the best water flossers out there.
Best Overall: Waterpik Aquarius Water Flosser
Comes in various colors
Takes up a lot of counter space
According to Dr. Freking, Waterpik makes the gold standard of water flossers: “They’ve been around the longest, and dentists trust the brand,” she says. (Some of the brand’s products have even been studied head-to-head against regular floss and shown to be more effective.) She likes this model in particular because it has great power and a large reservoir tank, so you won’t have to refill it as frequently. It also touts an impressive range of 10 pressure settings, seven tips, and a massaging mode for gum health.
Pressure Settings: 10 | Tips: 7 | Power: Electric | Special Features: Massaging mode for gums, built-in timer
Best Overall, Runner-Up: Philips Sonicare Power Flosser
Has the ADA seal of acceptance
Can fill reservoir with mouthwash
Takes up a lot of counter space
Another great overall option, this is the only Philips brand interdental cleaner to receive a Seal of Acceptance from the American Dental Association (and one of only five total devices that have that distinction). It features a unique, X-stream shape of water to help thoroughly clean both in between teeth and along the gums and is engineered to be super quiet, too, always a win in our book.
Pressure Settings: 10 | Tips: 2 | Power: Electric | Special Features: Quad stream tip creates four streams of water
Best Cordless: Waterpik Rechargeable Cordless Plus Water Flosser
Portable and lightweight
Has less pressure than corded options
If you are looking for a good cordless option, Dr. Freking recommends this one. While they do have less pressure and a smaller tank, the upside is that you can keep cordless models in the shower (just make sure to clean them regularly), and they’re easy to pack for travel, she says.
Per that point, this one is waterproof, charges quickly, and has a convenient indicator that shows the status of the battery. It comes with four tips, all of which rotate 360 degrees.
Pressure Settings: 10 | Tips: 3 | Power: Battery, rechargeable | Special Features: Rotating tips, rapid charging system
Best Cordless, Runner-Up: Burst Water Flosser
Long-lasting battery life
Comes in various colors
Has less pressure than corded options
Dr. Freking also likes this cordless option. At the risk of sounding vain, it’s one of the more aesthetically pleasing water flossers we’ve seen, featuring a sleek design and available in white, black, pink, and purple. Charge it overnight, and you’ll get up to 80 days of battery life; it also comes with a convenient travel bag. It does only have three pressure settings, although they do offer a nice array of options.
Pressure Settings: 3 | Tips: 1 (2 others can be purchased separately) | Power: Battery, rechargeable | Special Features: 80-day battery life, rotating tips
Best Multi-Tasking: Jetpik JP200 Elite Dental Power Floss System
Combines multiple dental tools
Can be charged via USB
Must repurchase entire system if battery dies
This one device pretty much does it all. The innovative tool acts as a pulsing water irrigator, electric dental floss, and sonic toothbrush all in one, leaving your teeth and gums healthier and saving real estate on your countertop.
Pressure Settings: 3 | Tips: 1 (2 others can be purchased separately) | Power: Battery, rechargeable | Special Features: Works as toothbrush and electric floss
Best for Deep Cleansing: Orsana WaterJet
Safe for kids 8 years and up
Only has three pressure-settings
This product was created by Dr. Sanda Moldovan, who says water flossing is her preferred flossing MO. “The pulsating water stream can reach up to 6 millimeters under the gum and 360 degrees around the tooth,” she explains. Most people don’t reach that deep with other flossing methods, she adds. Still, the adjustable three pressure levels are gentle enough that this can even be used on kids ages eight and up.
Pressure Settings: 3 | Tips: 3 | Power: Battery, rechargeable | Special Features: Easy-fill reservoir, comes with a travel case
Our top pick is the Waterpik Aquarius Flosser because it's equipped with everything you need to keep your gums healthy, like 10 pressure modes, seven tips, a large reservoir tank, and a massaging gum mode. The Philips Sonicare Power Flosser is also a great option because it has a quiet operation, a unique X-stream of water to deep clean your gums, and it is approved by the American Dental Association.
What to Look For in a Water Flosser
Consider Your Usage
Are you going to be taking your water flosser with you to the office and on frequent trips? You may want a cordless, portable model that can easily be tucked away into your bag. If you require deeper cleaning, one product on this list combines a water flosser with an electric toothbrush and floss. Or if children will be using the water flosser, you'll want an easy-to-use model that makes it fun for them to floss. Additionally, if you are planning on using your water flosser in the shower, be sure to find a water-resistant model.
Different Pressure Modes
Everyone has different preferences for how soft or strong they want the water pressure against their teeth and gums to be. This is particularly important for those with sensitive and sore gums. Many models have multiple settings to ensure your water flossing experience is comfortable. Lighter pressure modes can also be more suitable for children as they get used to using the water flosser.
Some models come with different-sized tips to place into the water flosser depending on if you have dental work like braces. Our pick for kids on this list has two tips, one for regular cleaning and one for braces. Having more options means you can find the fit that works for you.
Do dentists recommend water flossers?
Yes, many dentists recommend water flossers to their patients. And the American Dental Association awards the ADA Seal of Acceptance to water flossers that meet certain criteria, noting that they can help remove plaque from the gum line and between teeth. Studies have generally found that water flossers are at least as effective as using string floss to remove food particles from between teeth.
Do water flossers damage gums?
No. Water flossers have undergone testing as to how they affect plaque formation, bleeding, and gum pocket depth. The consensus is that water flossers help remove plaque and are effective and safe to use.
Do water flossers help with bleeding gums?
They can. One study showed reduced bacteria in gum pockets as deep as 6 millimeters, and another study showed that patients who reported gum inflammation and bleeding showed reduced bleeding after using a water flosser.
Why Trust Byrdie
Byrdie contributor Melanie Rud has over a decade of experience in the beauty industry, writing for some of the biggest magazines and websites out there. After resolving to floss daily (and continuously falling short of her goal), she has recently re-committed to making it a part of her daily routine. Since floss picks are her preferred method, she relied on the input of experts and consumer reviews to write this story.
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