Waterpik Water Flosser

The best way to appreciate the Waterpik Water Flosser is to understand the material that this tool is designed to work on. That’s not exactly your teeth – it’s the bacterial biofilm that perpetually forms on the surface of teeth and that never quite gets cleaned away by toothbrushes, dental floss, and various gum-recess cleaning gizmos.

A Waterpik is not really any kind of “flosser” – that’s just market-speak to hook people who don’t like to use floss. It-s really a needle-jet pressure-washer that does a brilliant job of demolishing the dental biofilm that harbors you mouth’s complete bacterial ecosystem, including the bad guys that produce tooth decay and bad breath. This micro-bacterial-mat adheres with micro-tenaciousness to the surfaces of teeth, especially to the otherwise-hard-to-clean surfaces between teeth and under gum lines.

I’m not sure why it took 60 years before I found a dentist or dental hygienist who could clearly articulate what’s really going on on the surface of teeth, but the use of this tool for less than 6 months has vastly lowered plaque and tartar build-up on my teeth and cured a chronic case of bad breath that was annoying, perplexing and persistent.

I’ve always been a decent tooth-brusher and my teeth and gums are in reasonably good shape for a 65-year-old, but they’re in so much better shape after a few months of daily cleaning with a Waterpik that I wish I had started to use one ten years earlier. There are other brands of this type of tool that I haven’t tried yet, that may be as good. The key is adequate water pressure delivered through the small, needle-like plastic tip that you direct around the inside of your mouth, like a miniature fire-hose, aiming at every gum line and inter-tooth space.

After 90-seconds of this your mouth feels like its been to a very clean water park where they’ve added a bit of hydrogen peroxide, sodium bicarbonate or some mint-oil (your choice) to the water. Those additives are not essential but add (according to my hygienist) a bit more anti-bacterial punch to the high-pressure stream the does the real work.

If you’re in a hurry to get your teeth brushing out of the way then this may not be for you – it does add about 2 minutes to the ritual. But if you’re more interested in taking care of yourself I believe that thing will pay for itself many times.

-- Craig Umanoff  

Waterpik Ultra Water Flosser
$45

Available from Amazon