Keep your gums healthy with this flossing accessory
Your mouth is the gateway to your overall health, so keeping your gums healthy is essential.
You may have been advised by your dentist, friends or family to floss regularly and they would be right to suggest this. However flossing can be difficult and painful for some.
The Waterpik Ultra Water Flosser (view on Amazon) uses the power of water to wash away food particles and bacteria that builds up along the gum line and in between teeth.
How does this large electric powered flosser really work in practice and compare to the cheaper and more regularly adopted standard flossing technique? You can read our detailed Waterpik Ultra Water Flosser review below or watch our hands-on video review.
For a comparison of all the water flossers currently available, you may also like to check out our best water flosser article.
Waterpik Ultra Water Flosser Key Features
- Removes 99.9% of plaque
- 2 times as effective as string floss
- 3 times more effective than string floss when cleaning around braces
- 10 pressure settings
- 3 year warranty
What’s in the Box?
- Waterpik Ultra Water Flosser
- Classic jet tip
- Toothbrush tip
- Plaque seeker tip
- Orthodontic tip
- Pik pocket tip
- Tongue cleaner
The flosser should be used in conjunction with brushing the teeth. Whether you use a manual toothbrush or electric one, the flosser is just that, for flossing, not for cleaning the teeth as a whole. Having said this, there is a toothbrush tip, its not recommended for the best oral hygiene routine, better suited to a quick clean.
Opt for one of the recommended brushes that we have reviewed here on the Electric Teeth site and you should be left with that fresh clean feeling in the mouth.
Waterpik claim that if used daily, within 14 days of using this you will have healthier gums, this of course depends on how healthy your gums are in the first place, but I do believe everyone can benefit. Of course those who are a little irregular with flossing will see the biggest benefits.
Capable of removing 99.9% of plaque and said to be 2 times more effective than regular string floss according to Waterpik, these are bold claims backed up by research.
Design, Usability, Clean & General Use
There is no denying this thing is a little big and bulky for me in my average sized bathroom. It needs work surface or shelf space as well as connectivity to power. It looks like something that should be in a dentist’s office.
However, looks and size aside this piece of kit packs a punch when it comes to flossing.
It is not the traditional solution - string floss tends to ben - but this offers a potentially more effective and better experience for those who use it.
However, data from clinical studies aside, how it works for you and I is really what matters.
Finished in a clinical white with a smart blue water tank this is not the most unsightly thing really, it has been designed as best as it can for a bathroom, with sweeping curves and no sharp edges.
From the power button to the pressure gauge, buttons, parts are easy to use even for those who may have limited movement in fingers and when fingers are wet.
The water tank on the top holds approximately 90 seconds worth of water (600ml) for flossing which will last 1-2 cleans for the average user. Easily removed and refilled, you can fill it with cold or lukewarm water and even drop in a shot of mouthwash if you really want that zingy fresh feeling when using.
On top of the tank itself is the lid which doubles as a storage container for the different tips available. Rather amusingly it holds only 4 tips when 6 are included. Even if one is fitted to the machine that still leaves one without a home.
I am being a little unfair because most will not be choosing to use all 6 regularly.
It is a convenient and useful storage location for them and they are easy to access and remove and replace if required.
The six tips are named and designed as follows:
- Classic jet tip - For general use offering twice as effective results than string Toothbrush tip - For brushing and flossing at the same time
- Plaque seeker tip - Ideal for those with implants, crowns, bridges or veneers targeting plaque in hard to reach areas.
- Orthodontic tip - Great for those with braces offering up to 3 times more effectiveness than traditional floss
- Pik pocket tip - Delivering medicament and rinsing deep below the gumline those with periodontal pockets and furcations benefit most here.
- Tongue cleaner - Freshens the breath by removing bacteria from the tongue's surface.
- The 6 tips are named and designed to do as follows
As you can see it is up to you which suits your needs best. Once you have you can simply attach the tip of choice.
Of course if used amongst several people it needs to be easy to replace heads and it is, taking just a few seconds with a simply click and release style design. Push the tip into the hole on the top of the handle and you will hear a clicking sound to confirm it is in place. To release simply press the small blue button to the left side of the handle and pull the tip out.
Once the tip is connected and the tank filled, switch the power on and use the pressure setting knob to adjust to your preference. 1 is low pressure for those with greater sensitivity whilst 10 is the most powerful setting.
When on the machine does produce quite a bit of noise due to the pump inside. It is a bit noisier than an electric toothbrush.
The handle of the flosser is connected to the machine via a small white hose which is conveniently tucked away within the body of the flosser. Just pull the hose out to extend the reach. When extended the hose has a length of about 86cm or 100 cm is you include the handle too.
Thus you could be up to 2 meters away from the power source, when flossing, if you take into consideration the length of the power cord and the flosser hose.
The elliptical design of the handle fits comfortably in the hand and the large, pale blue button on the front is the key to driving the water flossing power.
From the moment the power button is flicked to the on position this thing is spouting out water. Press and hold the blue button on the handle to stop the flow and then release to allow it to restart.
The tip can be rotated a full 360 degrees thanks to the top of the handle rotating and the ridges around the top make it easy to grip onto to rotate, although it is not all that easy mid floss in my opinion.
The length of the tips certainly meant that I could reach more areas of the mouth more easily than with traditional floss, but you have to be a master of the dark arts to stop yourself from making a mess when using this.
I jest a little, after a few days my technique got a lot better, but I am not lying that for the first couple of uses, the mirror in front of me and my chin and shirt got a bit of a wash too. It is just a bit odd. Due to being attached by a cable and the fact that the laws of physics means the water pumped into your mouth has to go somewhere, you need to do this over a sink.
Some could probably make this look more glamorous than it is, but if you want to impress someone in your life, letting them see you using the flosser will be a test! You will be a dribbler when using this!
In short spend a bit of time practicing before you write this off. It took me a few days but it did get easier and by the end of the 6 weeks, I wouldn’t call myself a pro, but the water hit where it should and I achieved proper flossing results.
Thankfully I do not suffer from sensitive gums so I tended to use this on the pressure setting around 7-8 and found it quite comfortable and effective. It felt like a good balance between power and control.
Adjusting the angle of the tip head can be a little fiddly mid floss, especially if you pause the water flow too. But those with able hands should be able to either use your other hand to twist the top or raise a finger up from your grip and give the top of the handle a nudge.
I quite liked the bit of mouthwash in the water when I was using it to give that zing and freshness to the floss.
I also found it took a week or so to find a routine of how I would actually position the tip in my mouth. Like brushing, I completed it by a quadrant at a time, slowly moving around the teeth and gums.
Whilst my teeth a free from braces now for many years I did wear them and my routine for cleaning seemed a little obsessive had I known then than I could use a product like the flosser.
The different tips are fantastic and I know that this would make many braces wearers life a lot easier than lots of little manual brushes for getting in the small gaps. Offering a reliable stream of pressure as well as stiff bristles there should not be an areas that you will miss.
Powering the Ultra Water Flosser
The flosser requires power, mains power. This does not run off batteries, neither built-in nor rechargeable, nor is there a wind up motor.
You need to connect the Waterpik to a shaver socket using the supplied 2 pin connector, or you can connect it to a standard wall socket with the relevant adapter for your country.
Here in the UK you need a 2 PIN to 3 PIN adapter which are generally readily available from a good hardware store or online for a few pounds.
Most will sit this in a bathroom and there may only be one shaver socket to connect it to, which other appliances may require use of, so it is unlikely (depending on your setup) that this can remain plugged in all the time, but its not much hassle to connect or reconnect to power.
The power cable is approximately 130cm or 52” long so in most bathrooms you can manipulate the position in which it sits.
White is the colour or the power adaptor and the cable.
Price & Where to buy
Available at prices ranging from £50 to £60 generally speaking the Waterpik is not heavily discounted compared to its recommended retail price of £59.99 in the UK. We picked ours up from Amazon, which currently has it discounted slightly.
Is this a fair price? It is a one off purchase, the only ongoing cost is the electric to power it and the water to use for flossing and it's virtually impossible to price that!
There are competing products but many are similar but different. Some are more portable whilst others are designed to stay put like the Ultra water flosser. Those more permanent solutions are similarly priced and should be judged more on their capability and suitability than the overall price.
Using the average price this will set you back £55.
Based on a 3 years of ownership and one user, which is the standard measure for us here at Electric Teeth, the cost will come to approximately just 5p per day.
Compare this to say a conventional string floss which works out at about 1p per day and then a more premium string floss such as Oral-B Floss Picks that would work out at 13p per day and the water flosser sits at the cheaper end of the scale.
Of course use it for longer or between more of you and it can become even more cost effective.
It is also worth noting that this product comes with a 3 year warranty.
Please note that all costs quoted are approximates and prices will vary based on location, supplier, time of purchase. These figures should not be relied on as hard fact but as a guide, based on real information at the time of writing.
Reliability & Long Term Use
We put all products like this through 6 weeks of testing to simulate everyday use and really get a feel for the product.
We have encountered no problems to date with the flosser nor can we really see any major issues with the design or construction. A regular clean should keep the flosser looking as new and operational for many years.
If left unused, it is advisable to run some water through occasionally to keep things in working order and avoid leaving water standing in the container for extended periods of time.
Do avoid to run the tank on empty for too long as this can damage parts as it tries to draw through liquid that is not present. We were unable to simulate in just 6 weeks, but the hose that connects to the flosser may become less taut over time, which could be beneficial to you, but coiling the cable back up neatly will keep it taut.
Research from other users would suggest some can fail which is the case for any product and we have seen no evidence that should pose a concern to you in deciding to purchase this Waterpik flosser.
I come away with mixed feelings on the water flosser. Having spent many years using traditional string floss the water flosser feels like a bit of overkill.
However the experience on the gums and teeth is superb. It feels softer, I can get to more areas of the mouth more easily and I would imagine (no scientific tests completed) actually have been left with a better clean.
For those which tender gums or other conditions that leave the mouth feeling more sensitive the adjustable settings for the pressure along with the broad array of tips make this a winning combination.
Due to my bathroom lacking a shaver socket this is not ideal in my bathroom and the fact you are attached, even with the stretchy hose can be a bit of a hinderance.
It is also noisy so could easily wake people up in the house if you decide to floss early in the morning or late at night.
If string floss fills you with dread or is simply a no for you, if you are serious about clean teeth and gums then the Waterpik Ultra water flosser is a serious solution that has a one off cost and not an ongoing financial commitment, you will just need to find a bit of space on a work surface for it.
Electric Teeth Rating
Height - 21cm
Width - 14cm
Depth - 11.5cm
Hose length - 86cm or 100cm with handle
Power cable - 132cm
All are approximates