Using a Waterpik vs Flossing

Have you ever wondered whether it is better to use a waterpik vs flossing? You are probably aware that maintaining good oral health is about as important as it gets. However, when it comes to Waterpik vs flossing, which method is best, and which is right for you?


Alright, you are probably vaguely familiar with flossing, even if you have never before bought tooth floss or used it regularly. Either way, right now we want to go over what tooth floss is, what its benefits and drawbacks are, and how to do it properly.

What Is Tooth Floss?

Tooth floss consists of a thin piece of string, often coated in some kind of wax, and it usually always comes on some kind of roll. Flossing your teeth involves passing this thin piece of wax coated string in between all of your teeth, moving up and down and in between teeth, in order to dislodge food particles, maintain gum health, and to remove plaque and tartar.

Yes, it all sounds very easy, and generally speaking, it is very simple. However, the problem with tooth floss is that most people just don’t want to do it. There’s no doubt about the fact that flossing can be a bit of a pain in the neck.

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Benefits of Flossing

Yes, flossing your teeth does come with very many oral health benefits, and they aren’t anything to look down your nose at. Let’s take a look at all of the benefits that come with using tooth floss to floss your teeth.

  • For one, tooth floss is something that you can find literally everywhere. You can purchase tooth floss at a drug mart, a grocery store, online, and even at local bargain stores too. On that same note, tooth floss is super cheap to buy, usually costing somewhere around one or two dollars at the most. It’s a cost effective way to maintain decent oral health.
  • Another benefit that comes with flossing your teeth is that you can do it literally anywhere and at any time, and it does not take long either. Sure, being really thorough when flossing is great, but if you have some food stuck in your teeth, and you want to get rid of it, flossing it out only takes a few seconds. Moreover, tooth floss is super lightweight and portable, which means that you can keep it in a bag, purse, or pocket with ease, and pull it out whenever you see fit.
  • Flossing teeth is indeed a very easy and efficient way to remove food particles that are stuck between teeth. It does also work quite well to remove minor plaque and tartar buildup. The combination of these things reduces the amount of plaque, tartar, and most important of all, it stops the buildup of bacteria which can cause gingivitis, periodontitis, tooth loss, infection, and worse.

Cons of Flossing

For all of the benefits which flossing your teeth comes with, there are some drawbacks to flossing that we feel are quite important to mention, so let’s do that right now.

  • For one, tooth floss is very easy to lose. Unfortunately, it comes in small cases that can be easily dropped or misplaced. Chances are that if you are ever in a pickle and have something stuck in your teeth, you probably won’t be able to find your floss.
  • Now, tooth floss is very inexpensive to buy, once, twice, and even three times. However, depending on how much you floss your teeth, it can start to add up quickly. Even if you buy new tooth floss only a couple times per month, that’s still months and years of money spent on it. Those dollars start to add up indeed.
  • Next, flossing your teeth can be a bit of a challenge. Have you ever had a short piece of dental floss and were not able to grip it properly? To make tooth floss easy to use, you have to wrap it around your fingers and get a good grip on that stuff. Now, add some wet hands to the equation, and things start to get hard real fast.
  • Did you know that if you do not floss your teeth properly, it can actually make things worse? If you do not floss regularly, and then if you go at it a little too hard just once, you can irritate your gums, cause bleeding, and just make things worse than they were before.
  • Finally, for all of the benefits floss comes with, have you ever tried flossing in the back of your mouth, maybe even between wisdom teeth and rear molars? The point here is that it can be super hard to get to some areas of the mouth with dental floss, at least comfortably.

How To Floss Properly

If you want to use dental floss and don’t want to hear about the waterpik at all, although we don’t really recommend it, here are step by step instructions on how to floss your teeth properly.

  1. You want to break off a piece of dental floss around 14 to 18 inches in length. Remember that you want to break off enough so you can wind it around the middle fingers of each hand for a good grip.
  2. Take the floss and pinch it between your thumbs and forefingers, which will serve as your guide. Leaving about 2 inches of floss between your hands should be enough. It’s what you will use to do the flossing.
  3. Pull the floss tight using your index fingers and then slowly guide the floss between two teeth, using a gentle back and forth motion along the sides of the teeth. Hug the tooth and move the floss up and down. Keep doing this for all of the spaces in between your teeth.


So, we have now figured out what flossing is, how to do it, why it’s good, and what its drawbacks are. Now it’s time to take a look at the Waterpik. Keep in mind that this method is known as water flossing, and yes, it does come with some pretty big benefits. Let’s do the same thing we did for the floss above, but now for the Waterpik or water flosser.

What Is A Waterpik?

A Waterpik is a special type of tooth flossing machine which uses a direct jet of water to get in between your teeth. It consists of a water compartment and a motor and pump, which forces water through a small handheld nozzle, with the aim of improving gum health and blasting away old food particles, bacteria, plaque, tartar, and more. Yes, Waterpiks are pretty big and they do require electricity to use.

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Benefits Of The Waterpik

A Waterpik or water flosser does come with a long list of benefits, some which may be obvious, and some which you may have never thought about before. If you are really serious about maintaining great oral health, a Waterpik is definitely a fantastic option to go with. Let’s take a closer look at what benefits a Waterpik brings to you.

  • A Waterpik is extremely easy to use. Floss requires a special grip and movement to work right, but a water flosser only requires you to point and shoot, more or less anyway. It’s a really simple way to clean in between your teeth without really having to do any of the heavy lifting yourself.
  • Something else that really stands out about a Waterpik is that the high level of water pressure being forced in between your teeth does a fantastic job at blasting away food particles, other buildups, germs, and more. It’s much easier to blast that stuff away with a water flosser than with tooth floss.
  • There is also the fact that with a water flosser, you can get to those hard to reach places with ease. Instead of using floss to get to the back of your mouth, with means sticking your hands in your mouth and gagging on your fingers, with a water flosser, you simply point in the direction and shoot. It’s much easier to get to hard to reach areas of your mouth with these things. The same can also be said if you have braces. Simply put, if you have braces, you are not going to be able to use floss at all. However, a waterpik works just fine if you have braces, and that’s important to note.
  • Another benefit you get from the water flosser is that it helps to greatly improve gum health. If you don’t brush enough, your gum health will deteriorate, with gum retraction and bloody gums being a big deal. Gums need to be massaged in order to maintain good blood flow and good health, which is something that floss really does not do. However, a Waterpik, due to the stream of water, does in fact massage the gums, thus going a long way to maintain great gum health.
  • The other benefit to note here is that a Waterpik is a long lasting item. If you buy a half decent water flosser, it should last for many years to come, even up to 10 years. Yes, they might be a bit pricey to buy, but it’s a long term investment, and if taken good care of, you won’t need to buy a new one for a long time.

Cons Of A Waterpik

Just like with floss, which has benefits and drawbacks, water flossers are not exactly perfect either. Let’s take a look at the drawbacks that come with using a water flossing machine.

  • For one, yes, Waterpiks can be very pricey indeed. The highest end models will run you several hundred dollars, sometimes even up to a thousand bucks for the best ones. Sure, you don’t need to buy a new one every couple of weeks, like with floss, but it’s still quite the investment.
  • Waterpik machines are certainly not very portable either. They are large, they have a water compartment, and they need to be connected to electricity to work. Therefore, it’s not something you can take on vacation with you, like you can with a small case of dental floss.
  • If you have a small bathroom with a small counter, you might also run into some trouble when it comes to storage space. They take up a fair amount of room.
  • Finally, unlike with tooth floss, water flossers do have mechanical components, and yes, these can break. If you don’t properly maintain your Waterpik, it can break down pretty quickly.

How To Properly Use A Waterpik

Let’s go over a fairly quick step by step instructional on how to properly use a Waterpik to maintain good oral health.

  1. Choose which tip you want to use. There are different water flosser tips for different applications.
  2. Place the tip into the holder and then fill the water reservoir with warm water. Then place the reservoir back into its place.
  3. Most Waterpiks allow you to choose how much water pressure is being generated, so choose the setting which works best for you and your mouth. Keep in mind that it’s always good to start with low pressure, especially if you have not flossed or used a Waterpik for a long time.
  4. Make sure to lean over the sink when you turn it on and place the tip in your mouth, or else you will end up making quite the mess and soaking yourself.
  5. Aim the tip just above the gumline on the bottom of your mouth, at the back, and keep shooting water through your teeth, working from the front to back. Remember to do this from both the inside and the outside for the best results.


The bottom line is that both flossing and using a Waterpik come with their own benefits and drawbacks. One is much cheaper and more portable, but the other is more expensive and produces better results. We would probably recommend using a combination of the two.

To learn more about better dental practices. Check out How to brush your teeth like a dental hygienist