Airfloss, Waterpik or Manual Flossing: what’s better for you?

Maintaining good oral hygiene daily helps to prevent dental diseases such as decay and gum disease. In addition to brushing twice daily, it is important to implement a flossing habit. Flossing is the best way to remove trapped food between teeth and to stop bacteria from developing plaque and hardening on the tooth surface. 

It may come as a simple task for many and challenging for others. For this reason, different companies have come up with various flosses to help you with the task. We commonly see the traditional waxed string floss, dental tape, interdental brushes and floss sticks in the market. For people that struggle with manual flossing, companies have now even come up with Airflosser and the Water flosser. It is gaining a lot of attention in the media lately, so how effective are these? 


Airfloss is a handheld device that uses a burst of air and water microdroplets to clean between teeth. The device can be filled with water or mouthwash and be used in the interdental spaces, under bridges or braces to remove any plaque.

With Airfloss, the tip of the nozzle is moved to the interdental space and by pressing the button, a jet of air and water is delivered into space. You can repeat the process until you have cleaned the whole mouth.


Waterpik is a water flosser that works by jetting streams of water at constant pressure into the interdental spaces. It can be used along the gumlines and into the interdental spaces to remove plaque and food debris. Waterpik is great to use under bridges, for braces, and even implant sites. They are available in countertop and cordless options. 

With Waterpik, as the stream of water is continuous, the approach needs to be more controlled and focused following the gumline between each interdental space.

Pros vs Cons

Pros Cons
Airfloss Easy and quick to use
Less messy – small bursts of water and air
A good solution for people with braces or bridges
Removes plaque effectively while being gentle on gums
Small unit – convenient for travel
• Not able to remove large food particles
Pressure cannot be controlled
Small reservoir – needs frequent refills
Can be expensive (range from ~ $160)
Single user equipment – nozzle replaceable but not interchangeable
Not as effective in improving gum health
Waterpik • Studies have shown more efficacy with Waterpik when compared to Airfloss 
Good to clean interdental space
Great for patients with gum disease
Gentle on gums Extra nozzle tips for family members
Variable pressure settings—more controlled
• Can be messy to use
Countertop units take up space
Bigger unit than Airfloss Takes longer to clean
Can be expensive (range from ~ $120 – $150)
Manual Flossing An inexpensive way to maintain gums
Effective for clean small space between teeth
• Physically scraping between teeth removes plaque well
Can reduce gum disease and halitosis, or bad breath
• Some people can be aggressive with the floss causing floss cuts
Difficulty using under bridges or braces
Needs to use the right technique to remove debris interdentally
Some people are averse to using traditional floss – “can’t floss, won’t floss” thinking

When choosing the right floss for you, it is important to access your mouth first. Different flosses can help with different needs of an individual’s mouth.

For example:

  • If you have tight spaces, opt for a waxed floss
  • If you have large spaces, piksters might be a better option
  • If you have braces or bridge in your mouth, use super floss to get access under the wire
  • If you don’t like manual flossing, then an Airfloss or Waterpik might be better than no flossing at all.

Have a chat with our hygienist Preethy to discuss the best floss option for you. If you are struggling with your floss, let us know. We can also show you the right technique to maintain your oral hygiene.

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