The short answer is yes, water picks do work.

However, you might want more of a detailed explanation on why I’m telling you they work. Here’s my list of reasons why water flossing works effectively at improving your oral health.


A Waterpik is Clinically Proven to Remove More Plaque than String Floss

A clinical study was done that compared the use of a manual toothbrush plus string floss versus the use of a manual toothbrush plus a water flosser. The people who used the water flosser had a 74.4% reduction in plaque as compared to only 57.7% for those who used string floss.

Forgive the inclusion of medical terminology but it helps drive home my point: The water flosser group was more effective in removing plaque from the tongue-facing surface of the teeth (lingual – 39%), edges and spaces between other teeth (marginal – 33%), and lip-facing surface of the teeth (facial – 24%). The effectiveness of water flossing is on full-display in these results.

Water Picks are Easy to use!

Not only is a water pick incredibly easy to use but it also saves you from the pain of string floss being wrapped tightly around your fingers, cutting off your blood circulation. Not to mention reaching the teeth in the back of your mouth… Trying to fit your fingers and hands into your mouth while navigating string floss is tedious, painful, and not very effective. Read more about water flossing vs string flossing in my article here.

A water flosser uses a long, slim, tube to deliver water to the deepest and darkest pockets inside your mouth. Some models (Waterpik Ultra review) feature 360 degrees of tip rotation to allow you to hit every surface of your teeth and gums without wrenching your wrists in awkward angles (if you have arthritis this is a huge benefit). This reason alone, to me, is what makes using a water pick over string floss the deciding factor.

Water Flossing is Safe Around Dental Implants

water floss bracesIf you have had dental work such as implants, braces, bridges, bonding, or gum surgery then I highly recommend getting a water pick to use in your daily flossing routine. Water flossing around implants is gentle and safe, especially compared to the violent up-and-down jerking motion of string floss.

Most water picks have variable pressure settings that allow you to control how soft, or strong, the water pressure comes out of the flosser tip. When flossing around delicate dental work you can turn the water pressure down and massage those areas more safely, comfortably, and effectively.

Depending on the model of water flosser you purchase you will get water jet tips that perform specific functions. In other units, you may need to purchase the extra specialty tips. For dental work there are a couple of tips that Waterpik provides:

Plaque Seeker Tip: This tip is great for use on implants, crowns, bridges, retainers, and general use.

Orthodontic Tip: This tip is perfect for use on braces as it’s designed to reach underneath wires and around brackets to remove plaque.

Water Pulsations are Proven to Reduce Gum Bleeding

A clinical study was done by the UNMC College of Dentistry that provided proof that water flossing reduces gum bleeding, gingival inflammation, and increases plaque removal. The study was 28 days long with a total of 105 testers. I won’t hash out the nitty-gritty study details, but feel free to read more on the study here:

As you certainly know, string floss can be tough on your gums and cause bleeding due to trauma. However, water flossing gently massages the gums and helps to promote blood circulation for a healthier gumline. With the aforementioned water pressure settings you can always start low and work your way up to a desired level of comfortability. Not only that, but some water pick units have a built-in massage option to help you work on your gums and tongue.

Water Flossing is Faster and More Efficient than String Floss

water floss vs string flossThis will vary per person, but typically it takes around two minutes of your time of string flossing to yield decent results. With a water pick you can cut this time in half and see the same, if not better, results. The ease of use combined with tips geared towards specific uses amounts to a flossing system that just makes string flossing look archaic and tedious.

Another way water flossing saves you on time in the bathroom is by allowing you to add any medicaments or mouthwash to the water reservoir. If you have any oral work or oral ailments that require a liquid medicine application, simply use your water flosser to apply the liquid. It gives you greater control on where you apply the medicine and can help you avoid canker sores and other painful areas of the mouth.

If you want to add a splash of mouthwash to your water, feel free to do that as well to freshen your breath while you clean. Antibacterial mouthwash would be most beneficial here.

Water Picks do Work… So, Which One is the Best?

This is a bit of a loaded question. All water flossers provide great benefits but all are not created equal. I give a much more detailed break-down on what types of features you should look for, pricing, consumer reviews, and even provide a handy comparison chart for the best water flossers of the year.