Three best oral irrigators
You probably brush your teeth twice a day like you're supposed to. But if you're not flossing, you could still end up with cavities or gingivitis. For most people, flossing is an inconvenience, and for those with braces or arthritis, it may be next to impossible. In that case, an oral irrigator is your next best option. If you're new to these products, here's a quick overview to explain what they are, how they work, and how to choose the right one for you. We've also included our picks for the three best oral irrigators on the market.
Considerations when choosing oral irrigators
Oral irrigators provide a concentrated stream of water that powers away plaque and other debris caught between your teeth. They come in two main types: countertop or portable.
Countertop models are larger and, as the name implies, they sit out on your countertop. They plug into an outlet, and the oral irrigator itself is attached to its base and the water reservoir via a tube. You never have to worry about charging these irrigators, and they usually operate longer on a single tank of water than portable models. However, they don't travel well.
Portable oral irrigators are more compact, and they generally use standard batteries or replaceable batteries. The water reservoir is built into the unit, so the reservoir is often much smaller and runs out faster. Portable models tend to be more affordable than countertop oral irrigators.
Once you've chosen the type of oral irrigator, you have to decide which features matter the most to you.
Water reservoir size
The larger the water reservoir, the less often it will need to be refilled and the longer you will be able to use the oral irrigator at a time.
Many oral irrigators come with multiple speed settings, so you can choose the level of pressure that's right for you.
Some higher-end oral irrigators come with multiple flossing tips that are designed for different applications. Some also have color-coded tips, so different members of your household can each have their own flossing tip.
If you don't feel that you floss for long enough, look for an oral irrigator with a built-in timer.
Some countertop oral irrigators can be quite loud, especially on higher settings.
Q. Do oral irrigators work as well as floss?
A. A dentist would probably tell you that an oral irrigator isn't quite as effective as manual flossing for keeping the areas between your teeth clean. However, if you don't floss at all or if you struggle to use regular floss, either because you have braces or a condition like arthritis that makes it difficult, an oral irrigator is certainly a good addition to your dental regimen.
Q. Regular floss irritates my gums. Will an oral irrigator do the same?
A. Many oral irrigators come with several settings so that you can choose the strength of the water pressure. While everyone is different, many people who try oral irrigators find that they are gentler on their gums and cause less bleeding and irritation than manual flossing.
Oral irrigators we recommend
Best of the best: Waterpik Aquarius Water Flosser
Our take: This versatile oral irrigator is an excellent alternative for those who have trouble flossing regularly.
What we like: This oral irrigator comes with 10 different settings and seven flossing tips, so you can customize your flossing experience. It's earned the American Dental Association's Seal of Acceptance, too.
What we dislike: There have been a few complaints about the water tank starting to leak after a few months.
Best bang for your buck: Panasonic Portable Dental Water Flosser
Our take: This portable option is great for those who are new to oral irrigators and those who travel frequently.
What we like: This model has a collapsible design and is battery-powered, so it's a great choice if you want to take your oral irrigator with you when you travel. It comes with two speed settings and has a built-in water reservoir in the bottom of the unit.
What we dislike: The water tank is small and requires frequent refilling. Some users have also said that they felt the water pressure was not strong enough to provide a deep clean.
Our take: This oral irrigator is a good value for the money and is portable enough to take with you when you travel, but it may not last you as long as our other picks.
What we like: This compact, quiet unit fits easily in your hand and comes with a built-in water reservoir and two color-coded tips. It has three speed settings, so you can choose the pressure you want.
What we dislike: The water tank is small. Some people have had problems with the unit's electrical components failing after a couple of months.
Kailey Fralick is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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