Barely a year goes by without the introduction of some new fangled dental gizmo that promises to revolutionise oral hygiene, leaving every tooth cleaner and whiter than the Taj Mahal. In recent years, we’ve witnessed everything from UV whitening trays that make your gnashers resemble a prop from Tron, to electronic dental picks, which allow you to recreate the abject horror of a visit to the dental hygienist in the comfort of your own bathroom.
The vast majority of these contraptions can be done without. But there is one that makes valuable ally when it comes to keeping your pearly whites in peak condition: the electric flosser. This grooming gadget is your new first line of defence when it comes to protecting the nooks and crannies of your gnashers from plaque, food particles and various other nasties.
And if, like us, you floss far less than you tell your dentist you do, it’s also a time-saving way to get into good habits.
Why Should I Use One?
You don’t need an engineering degree to look after your teeth in these modern times, but it probably helps. The human diet has changed dramatically over time and studies have shown that the transition from hunter-gatherer lifestyle to agricultural lifestyle has had a huge impact on the wellbeing of our teeth.
The rise in dietary carbohydrates has caused a change in the bacteria that live in our mouths, while sugary, carbonated drinks especially have made tooth decay rampant. And scientists have even linked gum health with heart health, which is why people get preachy about flossing in the first place.
An electric flosser can help to blast some of the badness away with daily use, preventing harmful build-ups and assisting your regular dental-care routine.
Can An Electric Flosser Replace Traditional Floss?
Sadly, as great as electric flossers are, they’re not a substitute from using traditional dental floss.
Despite one 2013 study which showed that water flossing removed 29% more plaque than string floss, most dental professionals still advise using string floss in conjunction with an electric flosser.
Think of it as an extra weapon in your toothcare arsenal, as opposed to a replacement for one you already have.
Before you rush out and spend your hard-earned cash, there are a few variables to bear in mind to ensure you’re getting the best product for your individual needs.
Here’s what you need to know.
Air Or Water?
“Electric flossers” is really just a catch-all term for two slightly different beasts – water flossers and air flossers.
Water flossers work by firing a constant jet of water between the teeth to blow away debris. They’re highly effective but can be cumbersome, making them a poor choice for those who are looking for something portable.
Air flossers differ in that rather than delivering a constant jet, they shoot out a mixture of air and either water or mouthwash in small bursts to blast away the nasties. The upside is that they’re easily transported. The downside is they’re often less powerful.
Cordless Vs Fixed
The next thing to consider is whether your flosser is cordless or not. Water flossers are often connected to a water reservoir by a hose meaning they can’t really be moved from their home in the bathroom. Meanwhile, air flossers use less liquid and therefore tend to have a small compartment in the unit itself.
This isn’t always the case, though. As technology progresses, cordless water flossers are becoming more common, but they do tend to be a fair bit bigger as they need room to house a significant amount of liquid.
Again, it all comes down to whether you need yours to be travel friendly or not.
Electric Toothbrush Compatibility
If economising on bathroom space is one of your primary concerns then you may want to think about opting for a flosser that is compatible with your electric toothbrush charger. Many of the same brands that produce brushes also produce flossers, so it’s not a bad idea to buy yourself a matching set.
The Best Electric Flossers To Buy Today
Waterpik Whitening Professional Water Flosser
If you’re going to buy a water flosser, Waterpik is an undisputed market leader. The brand was the first to bring the water flosser to your bathroom and has been the one to watch ever since.
This particular device was designed with teeth whitening in mind and claims to be able to restore your teeth’s natural shade of glistening white with just four weeks of daily use by removing stains in hard-to-reach spots.
Philips Sonicare AirFloss Pro
Widely regarded as the best air flosser available, Philips’ Sonicare AirFloss Pro works by delivering small but powerful blasts of mouthwash and air directly between the teeth to eliminate plaque build-ups and food particles.
Cordless, and no bigger than a standard electric toothbrush, this gadget is ideal for packing up and taking away in your wash bag and features three different power settings that can be adjusted according to just how brutal a hosing your teeth require.
For those struggling to settle on whether to opt for an air flosser or a water flosser, this handy offering from Panasonic provides a solid middle point.
Two different settings allow the user to alternate between a constant jet of liquid and pulses of air and liquid together. It also has the benefit of a 130ml water tank which means it isn’t restricted by a hose and reservoir and can go for 35 seconds without running dry.
Waterpik Cordless Freedom
The primary drawback to using a Waterpik system is the giant water tank they’re connected to. It takes up a lot of room in the bathroom and means that once it’s set up and put in place, that’s pretty much where it’s going to stay.
This cordless version eliminates that problem by using a 150ml, self-contained reservoir, making it perfect for travel. It also includes a pressure control in the handle …which is nice.
Oral B Oxyjet
The Oral-B Oxyjet is comprised of a tank, a handle and a nozzle. Just like any other flosser really. However, there is a difference.
Unlike its competitors, the Oxyjet uses a ‘spiral’ jet of water, which the brand claims will wash away particles and plaque whilst gently massaging the gums. Bet you’ve never had a gum massage before. It also has the added benefit of being able to charge an Oral-B toothbrush using the same dock.