Our experts agree that pretty much everyone could benefit from using a water flosser daily, before dental flossing and brushing—especially those who have gingivitis, wear braces, aligners, or other hardware, or struggle to maneuver string floss efficiently. “Water flossers are especially great for those with arthritis or limited dexterity, and they are an excellent way to target hard-to-reach spots when you have braces, implants, crowns, bridges, or extensive dental equipment in your mouth. The stream of water is able to work around wires and hardware that string floss is unable to wiggle into and remove pieces of food and plaque,” Sweeney adds.
Water flossers are also often gentler on gums than dental floss, especially if you tend to floss aggressively, or aren’t using the proper technique, which experts say can cause damage to delicate gingival tissues.
“The con of water flossers is that they cannot clean under the gums as adequately as string floss when using a proper technique, and won’t remove all the plaque from the tooth’s surface”, she says. So, it’s important that water flossing is an addition to your oral care routine, not a replacement for dental flossing and brushing.
Sarmento reaffirms this, saying, “Dentists do recommend water flossers, but not as a replacement to regular flossing! Water flossing does not replace regular string flossing or brushing but is a great way to remove food debris and plaque.”
While everyone can benefit from a water flosser, both Sweeney and Sarmento warn that water flossing can be a little messy (hello, splash zone!) and require a little time to get used to.