Say goodbye to bacteria and plaque with these powerful, dentist-approved water flossers.
If you want super-clean, healthy gums, consider a water flosser. Unlike dental floss, these handy gadgets literally repel food and bacteria from the crevices of your teeth using water pressure. "They're handheld devices that use a small motor to send pressurized water out of a tip," explains Jon Marashi, DDS, a cosmetic dentist based in Los Angeles. "The tip is placed near the gum line in the mouth, and the water pressure removes plaque buildup along the gum line and in between teeth."
It's a smart purchase for anyone, but because water flossing technology is able to reach deeper into the crevices between teeth (and even below the gum line), these products are particularly useful for those who have braces, implants, crowns, or other dental work that makes traditional flossing difficult, as well as those with gingivitis.
"Let's face it, nobody likes to floss, although it is still the preferred method for removing plaque from under the gums and in between the teeth," says Laurence Grayhills, DDS, from the Academy of General Dentistry. Whether you're looking for an alternative to flossing or have dexterity issues, he says, "water flossers are another option for plaque removal."
Dr. Marashi tells Health that he recommends these products to his patients. "It's easier than traditional flossing and can get access to hard-to-reach areas with greater ease," he says.
One important caveat: Dr. Marashi stresses that water flossers should be a supplement to regular floss, not a replacement. "In combination, my patients have much healthier gums as a result," he says.
Waterpik Aquarius Water Flosser
As far as water flossers go, Waterpik is often considered the gold standard brand. There are many different Waterpik models on the market, but the Aquarius boasts 10 different pressure settings, 90 seconds of water capacity, a seal of acceptance from the American Dental Association (ADA), and—impressively—almost 10,000 near-perfect reviews. "I absolutely love this product," raves one reviewer, noting that the Aquarius "cleans and gets all the cracks and crevices."
Zerhunt Cordless Water Flosser
If you're buying a water flosser for the whole family to share, Dr. Grayhills suggests looking for one that comes with different color-coded tips, "so each family member can identify their own attachment," he says. We like this Zerhunt Cordless Water Flosser, which includes three different tips in a portable, easy-to-clean base.
Philips Sonicare AirFloss Rechargeable Electric Flosser
Dr. Grayhills personally likes the Philips Sonicare brand in addition to Waterpik. This sleek model—an Amazon bestseller—can be filled with either water or mouthwash and is gentle enough to use on implants, veneers, or orthodontics.
VAVA Water Dental Flosser
Three modes (Gentle, Standard, and Massage) let you pick the perfect amount of pressure, a plus for anyone with sensitive teeth. Amazon reviewers rave about the VAVA's effectiveness ("This thing removed a ton of food debris from my teeth and gums despite brushing thoroughly first," writes one), as well as how easy it is to travel with. Also good: It's available in two cheerful hues with two different-colored tips in each.