Not all water flossers are created equal, and it can be difficult to know which features are useful and which are just for show. In this guide, we outline the top considerations to make when choosing a water flosser, including customizability, power source, cleaning, cost and warranty/return policy.
How Customizable is It?
Water flossers can be as basic or as customized as you’d like. Keep in mind that added features tend to be reflected in the price, so be sure to only pay for those that you need. Common features include:
- Tip attachments: Some flossers only come with one tip, which may be sufficient if you’re the only one planning to use the flosser. If your family wants to share the same unit, you’ll want at least one tip for everyone. Some flossers also come with specialized tips, like those designed for use with braces.
- Pressure control: Water flossers with pressure control let users pick a pressure that works for them. This can be great for children or those with sensitive gums, and it can be nice to have the option to increase pressure as you get used to your flosser.
- Timer: Water flossers all come with a recommendation for the length of time they should be used. Models with a timer built in will ensure you’re flossing long enough to be effective.
- Rotating heads: It can sometimes be difficult to point a water flosser into hard-to-reach areas of your mouth. Models with rotating heads allow you to do so with ease.
Countertop vs. Portable
The two primary types of water flossers are countertop and portable. There are also models that connect directly to the faucet, but these tend not to perform as well. Countertop and portable models both have pros and cons, which are summarized below:
- More powerful
- Larger water reservoir
- Usually more features
- Small and compact for travel
- Simpler to use
- Take up more space
- Less powerful
- Smaller water reservoir
Water flossers are intended to keep your mouth clean, so you want to make sure they are as clean as possible. Some types are easier to clean than others. Waterproof models are great because you can simply wash them in the sink, or even rinse them after each use. Some types are dishwasher safe, which makes cleaning even easier. To keep extra tips organized and clean, a water flosser with built-in storage can be helpful.
Portable models tend to be easier to clean because they don’t have a cord to consider. Countertop models that have a rechargeable base, rather than the entire unit plugging in to the wall, are also easier to keep clean because you can rinse the flosser after use without worrying about the cord. If you have a model that plugs directly into the wall, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions to clean without submerging the unit.
Water flossers can cost as little as $20 or as much as $150, depending on your needs. The price tends to go up with added features, so make sure you’re not paying extra for something you don’t need. For those with braces or dental work that requires special attention, it might be worth it to pay a little more for a unit with specialized tips. If you only need the basics, opt for a cheaper model with just one or two tips. You may prefer different pressure settings as you get used to your water flosser. If you’re a water flossing veteran, then one pressure level might be sufficient.
Portable flossers tend to be more affordable than countertop models, but you’ll also have to consider the fact that you have to replace their batteries every so often. If you’re not sure if a water flosser is right for you, consider purchasing a portable flosser to try it out. You can always get a more powerful countertop flosser later and keep the portable model for travel.
Warranty and Return Policy
Especially if you’re investing in a high-priced water flosser, you’ll want to find one with a favorable warranty and return policy. The most common warranty is a two-year limited warranty. That typically means that if you find a defect on your water flosser within two years, it will be replaced. If something breaks due to regular use, however, that won’t be covered. Some flossers do offer longer terms or full warranties, so opt for a model with these terms if that’s important to you.
You’ll also want to look into a product’s return policy to ensure you can send it back if it isn’t the right fit for you. Most water flossers can be returned within a 30-day window, but be sure to read the fine print to make sure you’ll get a full refund.
It may not be self evident, but oral health and sleep health are very much related. In fact, one study found that subjects who flossed every day experienced good sleep and high energy. Why would that be?
One reason is that if we have a solid oral hygiene routine, we’re more likely to have a healthy sleep routine. If you set aside a few minutes each night to take care of your teeth, you’re probably going to bed at a reasonable hour as well.
Bad oral hygiene can also lead to health problems that can negatively impact sleep. Periodontal disease, or gum disease, is often linked to poor or no flossing. Gums become inflamed when plaque builds up around the teeth. If left untreated, periodontal disease can lead to an increased susceptibility to other diseases like cardiovascular disease, infective endocarditis, bacterial pneumonia and diabetes. These health issues will surely impact sleep, not to mention the pain associated with gum disease that will keep you awake.
Periodontal disease can also lead to fluctuations in blood sugar, especially in those who are diabetic. When blood sugar dips, the body releases stress hormones, which can keep us awake.
We’re more likely to skip flossing than to skip brushing, so water flossers can be a helpful addition to a bedtime routine because they’re easier to use than traditional floss. Therefore, individuals are more likely to use them. Water flossers are also easier to use for individuals with limited mobility in their hands.