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Updated on August 16, 2022

How to Use a Waterpik

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Waterpik Water Flossers

A Waterpik water flosser shouldn’t replace regular flossing or brushing, but it can be a great addition to your oral hygiene routine. Water flossing may be able to clean the hard-to-reach places your toothbrush or floss can’t. 

Everyone can benefit from a Waterpik flosser. People with braces, periodontal disease, or dry mouth may find water flossing particularly beneficial.

waterpik on a counter 1

How Does a Waterpik Work?

A Waterpik water flosser is an oral health tool that can be used to supplement your oral hygiene routine. Waterpik flossers use a targeted and pressurized water spray to remove bacteria and plaque between the teeth.

Unlike traditional floss, Waterpik water flossers have a motor with a pump and a special water flossing tip.

The motor and the pump use a pressure setting to create a pressurized, pulsating water stream. This water flows from the system’s reservoir through the tip and into the mouth. 

Waterpik offers multiple tips that have different cleaning effects. A classic jet can be used for everyday cleaning. An orthodontic tip is best for braces and orthodontics, while a tongue cleansing tip may help freshen breath. 

How to Use a Waterpik in 7 Easy Steps 

There are 7 easy steps to follow to use a Waterpik water flosser correctly: 

1. Fill the reservoir with warm water

Start with filling the reservoir with water. The location of the reservoir may vary depending on the product.

2. Press down firmly on the device’s base

Press the base of the flosser firmly together with the reservoir to snap them together. 

3. Choose a tip and click it into the handle

Most Waterpik flossers come with multiple tips. Some tips are used for cleaning around orthodontic equipment like braces. Others may be best for implanted teeth. Click your desired tip into the top of the handle.

4. Turn the unit on and start with the lowest pressure setting

Turn the unit on and begin flossing on the lowest pressure setting. Turn the tip into your mouth while leaning over the sink to avoid spilling water.

5. Let the water flow from your mouth into the sink below

Look down at the sink and make sure your mouth is slightly closed. Allow the excess water to flow from your mouth and into the sink as you floss.

6. Aim the tip at your gum line

Aim the tip at your gum line at a 90-degree angle for best results. You may want to start on your back teeth and work your way to your front teeth. Pause between teeth to clean in between.

7. Turn the device off

When complete, turn the device off and press the “eject” button to remove the tip.

Find the perfect water flosser. 7 Best Water Flossers 2022

Do You Brush Before or After Using a Waterpik?

Researchers have found that flossing before brushing your teeth is likely the most effective way to get rid of dental plaque.

Also, flossing before brushing your teeth with a toothbrush is the best method to increase fluoride concentration that is delivered via toothpaste. This fluoride helps strengthen enamel and fights against tooth decay.

Is a Waterpik as Good as Flossing?

The ADA awarded five Waterpik Water Flosser devices its Seal of Acceptance:

  • Waterpik Aquarius Professional
  • Waterpik Aquarius Professional Designer Series
  • Waterpik Ultra
  • Waterpik Nano
  • Waterpik Traveler

An ADA Seal of Acceptance means the devices are safe and effective at removing plaque along the gumline and in between teeth. In fact, one study found that when it comes to reducing gingival bleeding, a water flosser had better results than traditional flossing methods.

Dentists still consider dental floss as the best way to clean your teeth and gums to avoid gingivitis and cavities between the teeth. In addition, traditional string floss effectively removes plaque in hard-to-reach spaces between teeth.

Thinking of purchasing a water flosser? Best Water Flossers 2022

waterpik water flosser portable e1607638643241

Who Benefits From Using a Waterpik Water Flosser?

Water flossers can be especially helpful for kids just learning how to floss. In addition, they are useful for the elderly who may not have the dexterity to floss their teeth properly but who still want to stay on top of their oral hygiene. 

Water flossing is also a great solution for teens and adults who have braces or other orthodontic devices that make traditional flossing difficult. 

Water flossers offer different water pressure options that can be adjusted based on a user’s comfort and preference. They come in a few different forms, including cordless, countertop, and travel size.

How Often Should You Use It?

The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends brushing your teeth two times per day. They also advise using dental floss once daily to keep your oral health in tip-top shape.

Certain water flossers that have earned the ADA Seal of Acceptance can also help lower the risk of gingivitis, an early form of gum disease.

Common Questions and Answers

Can Waterpik remove hard plaque?

No, hard plaque, or tartar, cannot be removed by a Waterpik and instead requires ultrasonic and/or hand instruments to remove.

Can Waterpik damage your teeth or gums?

A Waterpik should not damage your teeth or gums if used as described.

Can I use hydrogen peroxide in my Waterpik?

Check the instructions on your specific model, as adding anything other than water to the reservoir may clog or otherwise damage it.

Will a Waterpik help with receding gums?

No, a Waterpik will not bring back gum tissue that has been lost due to recession.

Should a Waterpik touch my teeth?

Your Waterpik flosser shouldn’t touch your gums or teeth. Instead, the flosser should rest near your gums and teeth with your mouth slightly open.

What’s Next?

4 Sources Cited
Last updated on August 16, 2022
All NewMouth content is medically reviewed and fact-checked by a licensed dentist or orthodontist to ensure the information is factual, current, and relevant.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only cite from current scientific research, such as scholarly articles, dentistry textbooks, government agencies, and medical journals. This also includes information provided by the American Dental Association (ADA), the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
  1. Waterpik®. “What Is a Water Flosser?” What Is A Water Flosser? Daily Dental Care At Home Made Easy! - Waterpik®.” www.waterpik.com.
  2. Mouth Healthy ™.“Water Flossing.” www.mouthhealthy.org.
  3. American Dental Association. Waterpik Water Flosser First in Its Class to Earn ADA Seal. www.ada.org.   
  4. British Dental Journal. A water flosser to help maintain optimal oral health. Br Dent J 226, 628. 26 April 2019.
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