Waterpik vs. Floss: Which Is Better

Dental Health
By: Spirit Dental
April 2, 2019

Woman shopping for dental health supplies in store

Flossing is an integral component to any great oral hygiene routine. If you are brushing at least twice a day and flossing at least once a day, you’re on the right track towards maintaining healthy gums, strong teeth, and fresh breath.

When it’s time to floss, even though you might think that you need to reach for good ol’ string floss, you do have another option that might appeal to you more: the Waterpik. This is the most well-known water flosser brand on the market, and there are quite a few different Waterpik products to choose from.

How does a Waterpik stand up against regular floss, and is it worth your hard-earned cash? We cover the pros and cons of these two products below.

Waterpik: An Easy and Modern Way to Floss

If you find it a little challenging to use string floss the right way, you aren’t alone. Many people struggle with using the floss correctly to thoroughly clean between their teeth and beneath the gumline to remove plaque without causing irritation in the process. So this is where the Waterpik can come in really handy.

Here are some of the reasons why the Waterpik has grown in popularity and become a highly recommended alternative to traditional flossing:

  • It’s easy to use! Just fill it with water, turn it on, and move it slowly along your teeth to remove debris and plaque from between your pearly whites and along your gumline.
  • A study found that the Waterpik is 29% more effective, compared to string floss, when it comes getting rid of plaque. It is also 33% more effective at removing plaque on marginal surfaces, and 29% more effective at cleaning approximal surfaces. In other words, every surface of your teeth could be cleaner when you use a Waterpik correctly.   
  • If your gums tend to bleed, a Waterpik might be able to help. In a study, experts discovered that, after 14 days of use, the Waterpik was twice as effective, compared to regular floss, when it came to reducing bleeding from the gums. And, after 30 days of use, there was even more improvement. Not bad, right?
  • If you’ve been diagnosed with gingivitis, switching from string floss to a Waterpik might be a wise move. In another study, experts found that the Waterpik is 52% more effective at reducing gingivitis when compared to string floss, regardless of what type of toothbrush is used. And they also determined that the Waterpik is up to 93% better at reducing bleeding.

String Floss: Tried-and-True Effectiveness

When it comes to regular string floss, you do have a few different options to choose from. For example, there’s waxed floss, which has a light coating of wax that makes it more durable, and there’s unwaxed floss that makes it easy to clean tight spaces between teeth.

Other options include polytetrafluorethylene floss (PTFE), which is less prone to shredding and can easily slide in between your chompers, and dental tape, which is flatter and broader to provide comfort to those who have more space in between their pearly whites.

No matter what type of string floss you opt to use, there are certain steps to follow in order to be sure you’re making the most of your flossing routine:

  1. Begin by taking out roughly 18” of your string floss. Wind the majority of it around both of your middle fingers, but leave about 2” that you can hold between your index fingers and thumbs.
  2. Slide the floss in between your teeth, curving it around the base of the teeth and moving it up and down to remove as much plaque as possible. Make sure that, when you get to the base of a tooth, you gently go just below the gumline with the floss, too.
  3. When you’re ready to move to the next set of teeth, shift the floss in your hands so that you can use a clean section. Repeat until you have cleaned in between all of your teeth.

Waterpik vs. Floss: What If You Wear Braces?

Those who wear braces have to take extra steps to ensure they keep their mouths clean, and flossing is a must. But string floss might not be able to get into all of those hard-to-reach places under and around your braces, so a Waterpik might be a nice addition to your hygiene routine.

Basically, the stream of water produced by a Waterpik could help remove any leftover food particles and plaque that your toothbrush and regular floss didn’t reach. It’s a good idea to talk to your orthodontist to learn how to thoroughly clean your braces, and to find out if a Waterpik is the right product for your needs. It's also a good idea make sure you have dental insurance that covers braces so you can save money and get the coverage you need.

Hate Flossing? You Might Want to Give the Waterpik a Try!

Do you tend to avoid flossing because you just can’t stand using string floss? Then it’s worth considering switching to a Waterpik. You might find that, because it’s so much easier to use, and because it allows you to floss your teeth more efficiently, you’ll be more inclined to stick to this extremely important part of your oral hygiene routine. Then, when you make an appointment for your next checkup, you might even impress your dentist with how much cleaner your mouth is, especially in between your teeth!



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