We’ve all been told that brushing and flossing at least twice a day, every day, is critical to maintaining good oral health.
But floss has its downsides: it’s an ongoing expense, and using it can be awkward, messy, irritating to inflamed or diseased gums – and in some cases, can even dislodge fillings or damage orthodontic appliances.
There is a better solution: water flossing. And today, I’ll show you the best water flosser available to buy in the UK, and a complete guide on this ingenious dental hygiene technology.
What are Water Flossers?
Water flossers – also called oral irrigators or water picks – are cleaning machines that blast a fine stream of pulsating, pressurized water between your teeth and below the gumline.
Water flossers consist of a motor, pump, water reservoir, and a special tip through which the water flows. A water flosser cleans deep between teeth and along the gumline – much as string floss does, but by a different mechanism of action.
The Benefits of Water Flossing
Water flossing provides myriad benefits, foremost among which is a reduction in periodontal infection and inflammation.
The pulsating action of a water flosser creates a small-scale compression and decompression effect that forces disease-causing subgingival bacteria out from deep within gum pockets (the spaces created around teeth when gum tissue and bone are destroyed), where ordinary floss can’t reach.
Research shows using a water flosser regulary reduces pocket depth, bleeding gums, and inflammation – the latter of which is correlated to a reduction in inflammatory cytokine interleukin (an inflammatory substance secreted by the immune system).
Keeping teeth and gums clean is important – especially for patients with dental implants, braces or other orthodontic appliances, which can harbour food particles and microorganisms responsible for tooth decay and periodontal disease.
Though no substitute for brushing, water flossers help to remove significant quantities of plaque – a sticky, teeth-damaging bacterial biofilm.
Water Flossers vs. Manual Flossing
Regular dental floss is cheap; by comparison, a water flosser can seem downright expensive – but pays for itself over time, proving to be less wasteful and more economical. Water flossers offer additional advantages, including:
Ease of use. Water flossing requires less fine motor control than manual flossing, and is easier on the fingers and wrists—a real benefit to those suffering from arthritis. Water flossers are fast, too—most can clean the entire mouth in one minute or less.
Designed for but not limited to water. Some water flossers can accommodate liquids such as mouthwash or other antibacterial rinses (though you should always check the product manual to ensure compatibility).
Superior performance. A number of studies have demonstrated the superior clinical efficacy of water flossing as compared to manual flossing, showing a considerable reduction in plaque, bleeding and gingivitis (the latter two metrics showed improvements of as much as 52 and 93 percent, respectively).
The Best Three Water Flossers UK
Even in the crowded world of dental care devices, three water flossers stand out: the Philips Sonicare AirFloss HX8212/02 Rechargeable Power Flosser; the Panasonic EW1211W Dental Care Cordless Oral Irrigator; and the Waterpik Ultra Water Flosser. They’ve been carefully selected for their features, performance, quality and value.
1. Philips Sonicare AirFloss HX8212/02 Rechargeable Power Flosser
Philips is a global leader in the design and manufacture of innovative electronic products, including the excellent Sonicare line of oral health appliances.
The name Sonicare is most frequently associated with Philips electric toothbrushes, but we’d be remiss in failing to highlight the excellent Sonicare AirFloss HX8212/02 – a rechargeable flosser that harnesses the power of water and air to deliver incredible cleaning performance.
The AirFloss sends bursts of highly pressurized air and tiny water droplets deep within your gums, loosening and removing stubborn food debris, plaque and harmful microorganisms.
It’s compatible with mouthwash (except mouthwashes containing isopropyl myristate), maximizing its antibacterial effect and making breath ultra-fresh. Philips’ AirFloss cleans in record time, blasting away plaque from the entire mouth in a mere thirty seconds.
It’s also precise: an Autofire mode automatically releases focused bursts of air and water as you move the flosser nozzle’s tooth-shaped guidance tip along your gum line. It’s a simple matter of allowing the tip to rest briefly between each tooth—the AirFloss takes care of the rest.
Philips products tend to be well-designed, and the HX8212/02 is no exception. The nozzle is long, slim, and angled to access even the hardest to reach areas of the mouth – this design feature is especially helpful for people whose jaws don’t easily open.
Despite its high-powered cleaning action, the AirFloss is virtually mess-free, thanks to the easily filled reservoir that requires very little water. Of note is the long-lasting integrated battery, providing up to two weeks of regular use on a single charge.
At well under £100 from most retailers, the Sonicare AirFloss HX8212/02 is the perfect, economically-priced water flosser.
2. Panasonic EW1411 Dental Care Cordless Rechargeable Oral Irrigator
Slightly larger in size and higher in price than the Philips AirFloss, Panasonic’s EW1411 Oral Irrigator was built for both performance and comfort – qualities which aren’t often mutually inclusive.
The EW1411 boasts a 130 millilitre tank volume, and features washable, waterproof construction – essential for an electronic device that comes into close contact with water.
Despite its dimensions, Panasonic’s water flosser is easy to hold, thanks to a carefully thought out ergonomic design that tapers near the top of the unit, allowing it to be gripped comfortably.
Filling the EW1411 couldn’t be simpler – the hinged cap flips open, revealing the reservoir hole, which can be placed under a running faucet. And for extra convenience, the included charging stand is wall-mountable, freeing up valuable space on your bathroom counter.
Cleaning is fast and effective – the strong jet of water easily blasts away trapped food particles and plaque-forming bacteria while massaging gum tissue (an often overlooked but important aspect of maintaining healthy gums – massage stimulates blood flow and new growth).
Smart design, good ergonomics and multiple cleaning modes – Jet, Normal Air In, and Soft Air In – make the Panasonic EW1411 Dental Care Cordless Rechargeable Oral Irrigator an excellent, versatile water flosser.
3. Waterpik WP-560UK Cordless Advanced Water Flosser Review
In the world of water flossing, the words “Waterpik” and “water flosser” are one in the same.
The largest – and costliest, though not by too significant a margin – of our three most recommended water flossers, the Waterpik Advanced WP-560UK Flosser features a generously-sized (20.3 oz.) reservoir, ensuring you won’t run out of water mid-session.
The Advanced Flosser is Waterpik’s most recent – and improved – iteration of its popular water flosser.
The smaller footprint takes up less counter space, and the mains-powered motor is quieter.
The reservoir’s lid doesn’t just keep debris out – integrated into the lid is storage for the irrigator tips, six of which (Classic Jet, Tongue Cleaner, Pik Pocket, Orthodontic, Plaque Seeker, and Toothbrush) are included with the Ultra Flosser.
Waterpik Cordless Advanced Water Flosser is backed by science, clinically proven to be considerably more effective at removing plaque and reducing gingivitis than manual flossing, and many other water flossers currently on the market.
Ten pressure settings – ranging from 10 to 100 psi (pounds per square inch) let you control the water pressure, while an integrated pause button, conveniently located on the handle, makes it simple to stop the flow of water at any time.
Whether you choose Philips, Panasonic or Waterpik, an electric water flosser is a sound investment in your oral health. Use one regularly, along with a top quality electric toothbrush, and smile at the benefits you’ll reap.