Waterpik Water Flosser


Demolishes dental biofilm

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 10/13/13