What is better - a Waterpik or an AirFlosser

Charmaine Johnson-Leong Dentist Fort Lauderdale, FL

Dr. Charmaine Johnson-Leong is a Dentist practicing in Fort Lauderdale, FL. Dr. Johnson-Leong specializes in preventing, diagnosing, and treating diseases and conditions associated with the mouth and overall dental health. Dentists are trained to carry out such treatment as professional cleaning, restorative, prosthodontic,... more

What is better - the air flosser or the Waterpik?

AirFloss is a device developed by Philips Sonicare to remove plaque from between the teeth. It uses a rapid burst of air and water droplets to disrupt the food from between the teeth. It uses only 1 teaspoon of liquid. The tip is designed to direct the liquid whether its water, mouthwash, etc to between the teeth. It takes 60 seconds to clean between the teeth. For optimal use, the manufacturer recommends the replacement of the head every six months.

The pro’s of an air flosser is that it is easy to use; it creates less mess; it is cordless, and it takes up less space.

A Waterpik works on large volumes of pulsating water to disturb plaque between teeth. The pointed tip is designed to be directed between the teeth to flush out the food. There is a reservoir that holds the water or mouthwash and you can use it for as long as you need to remove all the debris.

The pros of a Waterpik are that there are extra tips for different users.; it dislodges more food than the air flosser; it is less expensive; it rinses the debris out more effectively.

Researchers found that after a full 2 minutes of brushing and using one of these devices, both groups showed a substantial reduction in plaque. However, they found that the Waterpik eliminated significantly more plaque than the air flosser. In essence, using one or the other is better than nothing. We still advocate brushing for 2 minutes; flossing and using either the air flosser or the Waterpik. As I have always said “ my patients are the ones telling me that after they have brushed and flossed and used the Waterpik, there is still stuff that comes out with the Waterpik”.