Waterpik vs. Flossing – Do You Know Which one is Better and Why?

Nowadays we have lots of options from which you can choose your preferred form of the inter-dental cleaning device. So, if you don’t like the conventional dental floss then you can use the inter-dental brush, wood stick or water flosser. Among the new products, water flosser has been gaining popularity. Water flosser is also referred to as an oral irrigator or Waterpik.

You are probably aware of how important flossing is for your oral health. Flossing helps to remove food stuck between teeth and plaque. Flossing also helps to clean the areas where a toothbrush cannot reach.


In this article, we will discuss the differences between Waterpik and flossing, their advantages and disadvantages, etc.

Waterpik vs. flossing

Both dental floss and water flosser are used to clean interdental regions where the toothbrush is unable to reach.

Dental floss

Dental floss is a thin, fine cord which you can slide between two teeth. Dental floss helps to clean the plaque, and food debris stuck between two teeth.

It is the commonly used method for cleaning the inter-proximal areas (the space between two teeth). If you do not know the correct technique then using dental floss can be tricky and painful.

Water flosser

Water flosser is an inter-dental cleaning device. The water flosser uses a thin jet of water between teeth and along the gum line to remove food debris and plaque.

The most popular brand of water flosser is Waterpik. The Waterpik removes plaque very effectively thereby reducing the incidence of gingivitis. (3)

The effectiveness of dental floss and water flosser

Dental floss

Flossing daily along with brushing reduces the abundance of bacteria in the mouth and promotes oral health. If you floss correctly then you can save your natural teeth well into your 60s.

Water flosser

Studies have reported that water flosser is more effective in reducing gingivitis, gingival bleeding and plaque removal as compared to traditional floss. Also, oral irrigator is easy to use, and you need to use it once daily for one minute.

You can use the water flosser to reach areas where both dental floss and tooth are unable to reach such as periodontal pockets or pockets around the wisdom tooth.

Which is better for a braces patient – Waterpik or flossing?

Water flosser is more effective than dental floss when you have braces in your teeth. With braces in your teeth, cleaning interdental areas with dental floss is difficult. If you try traditional dental floss, you may end up hurting yourself.

You can manipulate the jet of water to your advantage when you use the water flosser. Water flosser helps prevent gum injury and also is easy to use plus less time-consuming.

If there is food stuck in your braces, it is easier to clean it while using a water flosser. You do not have much flexibility when you use dental floss.

Just because water flosser is around five times more effective than brushing, you shouldn’t stop brushing. Instead brush twice daily and use the water flosser once daily.

Which is simpler to use – dental floss or water flosser?

To use both dental floss and water flosser, you need skill, but using a water flosser is easier than the traditional floss. If you don’t follow the correct technique while using dental floss, you can end up hurting your gums.

Whereas even if you don’t know how to use water flosser correctly, you will not cause harm to your oral tissues.

While using the water flosser make sure that you lean over the sink so that the water drips out of your mouth into the sink. Also, make sure that the tip of the flosser is inside your mouth before you turn on the water pressure.

Advantages of dental floss and water flosser

Dental floss

  • Dental floss is inexpensive, and you can buy it from anywhere.
  • You can carry it with you, and the floss pouch won’t even take up much baggage space.
  • It is quick and easy (if you know the correct technique). Also, you can use a dental floss almost anywhere.

Water flosser

  • The water flosser is feasible for people with braces or dental bridges.
  • People with limited manual dexterity will find the water flosser easy to use.
  • Water flosser can reach the areas which are difficult to reach with either dental floss or toothbrush. (2)

Disadvantages of dental floss and water flosser

Dental floss

  • Reaching certain areas of the mouth using dental floss is difficult.
  • Dental floss can cause injury when not used properly
  • Someone with not much manual dexterity will find it challenging to use dental floss.

Water flosser

  • Water flosser is expensive.
  • Water flosser occupies more space than dental floss.
  • Water flosser requires water and electricity.

Over to you

If you have braces, then it is a no-brainer that you must go for water flosser. In other cases, you need to weigh the advantages and disadvantages before you decide which interdental mechanical device you want to use.


Water flosser is a promising product, and if you use a combination of dental floss and the water flosser along with brushing, then you’d get the best of both worlds.

At home, you can use the water flosser. Similarly, on a trip, you can carry your dental flosser along with you. (1)


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