Airfloss vs Waterpik: Which Cleans Teeth Better?

airfloss vs waterpik
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WaterPik and Sonicare AirFloss are two popular models of electric flossing tools used to promote healthy oral and dental hygiene.

When comparing Air Floss vs. Waterpik, you’ll see that while both tools are flossers and both clean around teeth and prevent gum disease, they are different in their methods.

  • WaterPik uses a stream of water.
  • Sonicare AirFloss uses a stream of air, interspersed with small micro droplets of water.

While the Sonicare AirFloss does use some droplets of water, most of its power centers around small, intermittent bursts of air, while the WaterPik uses a continuous stream of water. In fact, AirFloss uses just one teaspoon of water total.

Both products also have the option to add mouthwash or antibacterial for bonus benefits and a fresh, clean sensation.

AirFloss vs. WaterPik

Both water flossers and air flossers are popular with consumers, although each has advantages and disadvantages.

We’ll compare the advantages and disadvantages of each unit.

Sonicare AirFloss: Advantages of Air Flossers

The Sonicare AirFloss performs very similar to water flossers like WaterPik, but it does offer some advantages that are worth considering when choosing between a water flosser vs air flosser.

advantages of airfloss

AirFloss Advantages:

  • Less Mess. Some individuals prefer AirFloss because it’s often less messy than WaterPiks, which can end up leaking water if not held correctly or if improperly fitted.
  • Extremely Easy to Use. While WaterPiks aren’t difficult to use by any means, the AirFloss is extraordinarily simple, using a very easy point-and-click design which anyone can manage. The AirFloss tip is designed with a guide that directs you along to the spaced between your teeth. Once in place, you simply click for the blast of air to do its work and take off plaque.

The feeling is very similar to point and click mouse. This point-and-click system is actually designed to clean your entire mouth in just 30 seconds, so if you are someone who feels that time is of the essence, this might be a big benefit for you.

  • No Hose. For individuals who hate the WaterPik’s water hose, the AirFloss offers a hose-free solution.
  • Cordless. The AirFloss is cordless and uses rechargeable batteries, which can be a huge benefit for those who want a portable system.
  • Takes Up Less Space. The AirFloss is basically the size of an electric toothbrush and can easily be stored away. It takes up much less permanent space on a bathroom countertop than a WaterPik.
  • Uses Same Charger as Other Sonicare Devices. One benefit worth mentioning is that if you already own a Sonicare device, you can use that same charging station to charge your AirFloss, requiring one less charger to keep in the bathroom.

WaterPiks: Why Some Prefer Water Flossers

Water flossers such as WaterPiks are preferred by some consumers who enjoy the various attachments of the water flosser and want to maintain healthy gums.

advantages of waterpik

Advantages of the WaterPik include:

  • Extra Tips For Family Members. The WaterPik comes with various colored tips which can be attached and detached, allowing the whole family to have their own tip so everyone can use the WaterPik. The AirFlosser is intended for a single user.
  • Dislodges More Food Particles. Many users have noted that the WaterPik dislodges more large food particles than the AirFloss.
  • Less Expensive. Since air flossers are newer products, water flossers tend to be much less expensive (water flossers go for between $40-$80 while air flossers are generally +$100)
  • More Effective. Studies have shown WaterPiks to be more affective at removing plaque (details below).

If you’re looking for more information on Waterpiks, consider reading our post about water flossers and their pros vs cons.

Waterpiks also aren’t the only brand of water flosser on the market – there are many great water flossers on the market for you to choose from, with ranging prices of affordability.

AirFloss vs Waterpik: Which Is Better?

Both WaterPik and AirFloss are great tools for promoting healthy gums. But which is the superior item?

In a study published in 2012 in the Journal of Clinical Dentistry, clinicians found that that the WaterPik water flosser reduced significantly more plaque from tooth surfaces than the AirFloss.

The study was conducted over a four week period, comparing two groups who used either a Sonicare AirFloss or a WaterPik, in addition to regular brushing. The study found that:

  • The water flosser was 80% more effective for gingivitis reduction than air floss.
  • The water flosser was 70% more effective for plaque reduction.
  • The water flosser was 2X as effective for plaque removal from lingual surfaces and 3X as effective at the gingival margin than air floss.

The amount of plaque reduction was compared in several areas:

 Mouth AreaWater FlosserAir Flosser
Whole Mouth75%57%

The findings show the WaterPik removes more plaque than the AirFloss.

Which Flosser Should I Choose?

The studies we have at the moment indicate that the WaterPik is the better option, but that’s just the short answer.

Ultimately, the best flossing tool will be the one which you use. Consider if one device is a better match for your lifestyle than the other.

If you know you’ll be more likely to use the easy-to-use 3o second AirFloss than the WaterPik, then go ahead and choose the Sonicare AirFloss.

What About Normal Flossing?

What about the airfloss or water flosser vs. string floss debate? Many individuals wonder if an air flosser or water flosser can replace manual string flossing.

Regular string flossing is still valued by most dentists and ideally should be performed even when using an air flosser or water flosser. String floss physically scrapes the tooth to remove plaque, and no other technology can quite beat that scraping motion.

Of course, what we should do doesn’t always match what we will do. Many individuals are completely adverse to traditional string flossing, in which case using an air flosser or water flosser is tremendously beneficial and certainly better than not flossing at all.

For example, individuals with braces will prefer a water flosser or air flosser since those tools will help dislodge particles that string floss cannot reach.

It’s also important to remember that water and air flossers are great for preventing gum disease by cleaning gum pockets that floss doesn’t reach. They definitely serve a need specifically for gum health that traditional floss does not fulfill.

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13 thoughts on “Airfloss vs Waterpik: Which Cleans Teeth Better?”

  1. How do you clean the waterreservoir of Sonicare airfloss if remaining
    water in the reservoir build up dangerous germs?

    • Good question Phillip – I assume the same way that you can open the reservoir to add water would also allow you to clean it.

      • My sonic water pic is full
        Of BLACK MOLD.

          • Peroxide is one of the oldest and BEST ways to disarm bacteria and viruses that might gather in your both. It is also a great thing with which to gargle if you have a sore throat. Especially with today’s health issues around protecting yourself from COVID19, Hydrogen Peroxide is a great disinfectant on counter, door handles, etc. Last tip: the best way to remove a wine staid9 especially a red wine stain is yup, Peroxide. It lifts the pain right of the fabric.

    • Philips sugest the use of a cotton bud Phillip, with due care and attention and to make sure that you leave nothing in the reservoir ( stray bits of cotton for example?)

  2. Thank you for what was a largely informative editorial HOWEVER, This is NOT a reasonable or valid comparison betwean the two models! why have you not compared the philips with the Waterpik RECHARGEABLE? This is like comparing a plug in flood light to a handheld battery powered torch… :(( In any case, they both operate in different ways so comparable studies should be based on clinical AND laboratory outcomes. These should also be CURRENT. The study published in 2012 in the Journal of Clinical Dentistry that you reference was based on a comparison with an Airfloss model TWO generations old, clinical and laboratory studies of the NEW Airfloss Pro, aparently show much improved performance, with Philips stating that the new model can remove upto 99.9%99% of plaque and is comparable with waterpicks claims of the same eficacy. I have a waterpick plug in base and I have used a waterpick rechargeable for travelling for almost three years (Thus my satifaction with and belief in waterpick is established). However, having accidently broken my waterpik rechargeable, I have just purchased a Philips Airfloss Pro as reviews and studies etc. show that it is more effective than its previous incarnation having been completely re-engineered and is smaller and lighter than the waterpick and uses less liquid (all good points for backpacking and travel use) We will see. I will be using it with disclosing tablets.

    Once scientific and technical considerations have been covereed additional Pros and Cons for the consumer should then be weighted… Waterpick says its flossers can be used by multiple family members by each person having their own tips which can be swapped out easily at will, Philips says the Airfloss Pro is designed for single person use, BUT, you can change the tips for multiple users just as easily as for the Waterpik! SO….. clever marketing or valid difference? The Waterpik rechargeable has TWO power settings which offer different benefits when used with different head types The philips only ONE, However, it’s claimed that the power setting on the Airfloss Pro is OPTIMISED for best performance, but it has three functions, offering similar flexibility for optimal user comfort and compliance to the Waterpiks two power settings using different tips. As an additional point, the Waterpik Rechargable unit comes with different heads including different jet tip types, a tongue cleaner and a brush head, The Airflow has only the single JET tip.
    So, can we see a review using UP TO DATE clinical and laboratory data using the two portable, rechargable units? that covers the eficacy of each unit in its ability to clean the oral envirnmont and remove plaque this is afterall the prinary concern and consideration of flossing, then taking in the other pros and cons for each unit..

    It should be born in mind that, in the case of ALL manufacturers, research and product reviews funded by or given by manufacturers on their OWN products should be given due consideration for ‘bias’ and or ‘favourably weighted’ interpretation and disclosure. (within legal boundries).


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