Waterpik vs Dental Floss

Many people want to have good oral hygiene, and yet, often times finds themselves with lack of time. Others want to take up flossing, but have trouble maneuvering the floss the way they want it to go. And so people will wonder if oral irrigators are any better than dental floss.

With the use of modern technology, we have been able to make new and useful tools to help us in our lives as a whole. But how great are these new ‘fancy’ products as compared to the normal things we’re used to using. Let’s take a look and find out!

Dental Floss

Dental FlossWhile brushing your teeth is a great way to get rid of surface plaque, flossing has been reported to remove 40% of food particles and other buildup around the teeth.

In the early 1800s, a dentist in the area of New Orleans started having his patients use silk string to clean their teeth. Patented dental floss has been around since the late 1800s. It was first patented by a company called Johnson & Johnson.
At the time, J&J were making silk string for doctors to use as stitching string. Using the same material they used to make their silk stitch string, they made silk dental floss for people to buy and use.

In the 1940s, silk floss was replaced by nylon string. Around that time waxed dental floss became popular. Nylon dental floss also help give way to making dental tape that people could use.

So all that to say, there are many different kinds of dental floss. But we’ll just be taking them all as a whole and look at the pro’s and con’s of dental floss

Dental Floss Pro’s

  • Price. Dental Floss is way cheaper than most oral irrigators and oral irrigators. A waterpik can go anywhere from $40 to $90 whereas you can find dental floss for less than $2 in most places.
  • Test of time. People have been using dental floss for over 100 years, and very few have complained that it doesn’t work. This has helped show the benefits and effectiveness of flossing, because of how many people have done it, and how long they have done it.
  • Simple technology. Floss is easy to pack away and has no buttons, or electronics that you have to worry about.
  • Cleaning. With some dental floss, you are able to get right up against the tooth, and effectively clean all around the tooth. With a waterpik, it’s much harder to do.
  • Easy to use and control. Like the previous one, you have a lot more control over how you can use your floss. You can usually get to those ‘hard’ places that seem to have things get stuck in them all the time.

Dental Floss Con’s

  • Tightness of the string. While cleaning with floss, you have to be careful to not break the skin of your gums as floss has been known to dig in and cut the gums.
  • Tightness around the fingers. Ever had marks on your fingers from holding the floss so tight? It’s one of those sacrifices that we take to use floss. What’s happening is your actually cutting off blood circulation to the tips of your fingers when you floss. Doing it for a minute or two isn’t going to hurt your fingers, but if you go longer than that, there can be unhealthy consequences.
  • Flossing around braces. There has been useful flosses that have come out that help with this problem, but many times people will have a hard time trying to floss while having braces one.
  • One time use. Unlike oral irrigators, you can only use your dental floss once. Well, you should only use it once. After using it, it loses some of its flavor (if it’s flavored), it gets more frayed, and has plaque and other things on it, that you don’t want to put back in between your teeth.


Water Flosser WaterpikOral Irrigators were first invented around the 1960s by a company called Waterpik. Back then the irrigator was a small pump like product with a pointed syringe at the end to help guide it to where you want the water to go.

In the 80s leading up to the 2000s, Waterpik improved on its technology and helped make advances in oral irrigators and their benefits. In 2004, the company came out with their Waterpik Cordless Water Flosser, bringing out a product that had a rechargeable battery pack, so that people could carry their irrigator where ever they went.
Oral irrigators came about because of people wanted to floss, but not being able to, for one reason or another. Many times, when you have sore gums, pain, or you are just a little clumsy, dental floss is not the right option for you.
How waterpik’s work are by compressing water and squirting it gently or forcibly at the places you want to shoot it at, mostly between your teeth.
There are many different types of oral irrigators, but in this post we’ll only be talking about the waterpik and how it holds up against dental floss.

Waterpik pro’s

  • Clinical studies. Studies have shown how beneficial oral irrigators are. They have been shown to be better at removing plaque, creating an environment that gingivitis, and helping cut down on gingivil bleeding.
  • Time it takes. Most dentists will tell you that you should go around your tooth 8-9 times with dental floss. Doing that with each tooth adds up. With a Waterpik, all you need to do is point, squirt and move on to the next tooth. It cuts down a lot of time that you would have spent with normal flossing.
  • Reusable. With a waterpik, you can use over and over again, which is something you can’t, or shouldn’t, do with dental floss.
  • Easy to learn. Some technology is hard to understand and figure out, I will admit. But a waterpik is a really simple device that most anyone should be able to pick up and learn to use quickly and efficiently.
  • Getting to those hard to reach places. You can use oral irrigators to get to those places where it is sometimes a challenge to get to with your dental floss, or where it’s just a proverbial pain to clean.

Waterpik con’s

  • Watery Mess. If you are new to how to use a waterpik, often times you may leave a mess. If you are still learning how to point correctly, you can miss and send water squirt all over the place, over you, your sink, and bathroom.
  • Cost. Like said previously, waterpik was way more expensive than dental floss, about 40 times more. This is one of the main reason people won’t try a waterpik, because of how expensive it is.
  • Plaque buildup. Because it’s only water that you are using, and not something you can put more force behind, like dental floss, sometimes oral irrigators can’t remove plaque that has plastered itself to the teeth. Other times, the force of the water may not be able to remove all the plaque from between the teeth and on the gums.

And the better one is…

Whichever one you choose. All people are different, and all situations are different. What I would recommend for one person could very well be the wrong choice for another. I don’t think there necessary is a right or wrong answer. It all depends on if dental floss isn’t working out for you, if you have funds for a waterpik, and other questions like those.

If you have the funds for a waterpik, you can take a look at this one here. It’s cheaper compared to others, and if you act now, you can get a 10% discount on the price.

Or if you don’t have the funds, you could pick up some Johnson and Johnson waxed floss to keep your teeth clean and healthy.


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