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How to Use a Waterpik

Kyra Willans Headshot
Written by
Kyra Willans
Medically Reviewed by 
Dr. Lara Coseo
4 Sources Cited

What is a Waterpik Water Flosser?

Water flossing is an advanced way to clean around and in between your teeth.

A Waterpik water flosser is an oral health tool that can be easily used to elevate the quality of teeth flossing at home.

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 stream of pressurized, pulsating water. This water then flows from the system’s water reservoir through the tip and into the user’s mouth. 

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This system of streaming water can remove plaque, bacteria, and food particles.

Certain water flossers that have earned the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance can also help lower the risk of gingivitis, which is an early form of gum disease.


Water flossers clean between teeth like traditional floss. They use a steady stream of pressurized water to provide a deep clean.

Who Should Use a Waterpik?

Water flossers are a great alternative to string floss for people who find it hard to floss by hand.

Water flossers can be especially helpful for kids just learning how to floss and the elderly who may not have as much strength to properly floss their teeth, 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 also offer different water pressure options that can be adjusted based on a user’s comfort and preference. They also come in a few different forms, including cordless, countertop, and travel size.


Anyone can use a water flosser. Many people find that water flossers are easier and more comfortable to use than string floss.

Is a Waterpik as Good as Flossing?

The American Dental Association awarded five Waterpik Water Flosser devices its ADA Seal of Approval:

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

An ADA Seal of Approval means that the devices are safe and have been shown to be effective when it comes to removing plaque along a user’s gumline and in-between teeth to help fight gingivitis. In fact, one study found that when it comes to reducing gingival bleeding, the water flosser actually had better results than traditional flossing methods.


String floss is still the most widely accepted way to floss by dental professionals. However, water flossers may be more effective at reducing gum disease than traditional floss.

How to Use a Waterpik Water Flosser Correctly 

There are a few easy steps to follow in order to use a Waterpik Water Flosser correctly: 

  1. Fill the reservoir with warm water
  2. Press down firmly on the device’s base
  3. Choose a tip and click it into the handle
  4. Start with the lowest pressure setting and then place the tip into your mouth while leaning over the sink so you don’t get water everywhere
  5. Turn the unit on and close your mouth just enough to prevent water splashes
  6. Let the water flow from your mouth into the sink below
  7. Aim the tip at your gum line
  8. When complete, turn the device off and press the “eject” button to remove the tip

Do you Brush your Teeth 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.

How Often Should You Use a Waterpik?

The American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth two times per day and flossing once daily to keep your oral health in tip-top shape.

Since your water flosser will replace traditional dental floss, it’s recommended for daily use as well.


Similar to string floss, use your water flosser at least once a day. You should also use your water flosser before brushing your teeth to remove more plaque.

Common Questions and Answers

Can Waterpik remove hard plaque?

Water flossers may be more effective at removing plaque than regular dental floss. Research shows it can reach deeper into periodontal pockets than floss as well.

Can Waterpik damage your teeth or gums?

No. Water flossers may actually damage your gums less than floss. They do not put as much pressure on the gums as string floss.

Can I use hydrogen peroxide in my Waterpik?

A capful of hydrogen peroxide is safe to use in your Waterpik. You can also add some saltwater to boost the antibacterial effects.

Will a Waterpik help with receding gums?

Using a water flosser instead of string floss may help prevent, reduce, and treat gum recession. However, more research needs to be done to prove this.

What’s Next?

Last updated on April 24, 2022
4 Sources Cited
Last updated on April 24, 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. “What Is a Water Flosser?” What Is A Water Flosser? Daily Dental Care At Home Made Easy! - Waterpik®,
  2. “Water Flossing.” Mouth Healthy TM,
  3. Waterpik Water Flosser First in Its Class to Earn ADA Seal,
  4. A water flosser to help maintain optimal oral health. Br Dent J 226, 628 .
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