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. Below, explore the best water flossers and learn how to incorporate the dentist-approved device into your oral care routine.
The best water flossers you can buy:
- Best Overall: Waterpik Aquarius Water Flosser
- Best Cordless: Zerhunt Cordless Water Flosser
- Best for Dental Work: Philips Sonicare AirFloss Rechargeable Electric Flosser
- Best for Braces: Waterpik Cordless Water Flosser
- Best for Kids: Waterpik Water Flosser for Kids
- Best for Sensitive Teeth: Burst Water Flosser
- Best for Beginners: Oral-B Water Flosser Advanced
- Best Toothbrush With Water Flosser: Waterpik Sonic-Fusion 2.0 Professional Flossing Toothbrush
How do water flossers work?
"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. "If you are a patient with crowns or bridgework, a water flosser is essential for long term home maintenance," adds New Jersey-based dentist Dr. Dan Di Cesare of Ironbound Dental. "If you have a prior history of gum disease (gingivitis or periodontitis), a water flosser is also essential."
And for some, it’s an easier and less troublesome way to take care of their oral health. "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.”
Factors to consider when buying a water flosser
As water flossers have become more mainstream, different models that meet different needs have appeared on the market. So before buying just any device, Dr. Di Cesare suggests looking into its cost, design, and features. “I recommend cordless flossers that lend to easier use,” he says. “There are also brands that come with a rotary toothbrush.”
He also recommends water flossers with attachment tips, as they ensure a deeper, more customized clean. For example, if you’re someone with sensitive teeth, existing dental work, or braces, certain attachment tips will allow you to better navigate around your gums and teeth and deliver a more targeted stream where needed. A model with various speed and pressure settings will also come in handy for these conditions.
Remember, like with any new device, there may be a learning curve when you use a water flosser for the first time. Dr. Leonard Umanoff, DDS, suggests beginners experiment with water temperature and the flosser’s pressure settings. “It is easiest to begin from the back teeth and work your way towards the front teeth while directing the water towards the gumline,” he says, adding, “water flossers can be messy and should be used over the sink.”
Below, find the best water flossers that come recommended by the pros for cleaner, healthier teeth.