I Tried Amazon’s Top-Selling Water Flosser—Here Are My Honest Thoughts

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Should you be using a water floss machine? We put the Waterpik Aquarius water flosser to the test—with opinions from dental hygienists—to learn why the American Dental Association gives this device their prestigious seal of acceptance. Shop it here.

I’ve been waiting my whole life for the opportunity to humblebrag about the fact that I’m 45 years old and I’ve never had a cavity—it’s true. I’m sure it’s largely due to my mother’s insistence on a mostly sugar-free upbringing, but it’s also a byproduct of my love for religiously brushing and flossing. Truth be told, I spend about 10 minutes on my oral hygiene every day.

Until recently, I always relied on floss or dental picks to get the job done. So, I decided to upgrade my routine and try the Waterpik Aquarius water flosser to see how a water-based version would fare against my more traditional methods.

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What is the Waterpik Aquarius water flosser?

The Waterpik Aquarius water flosser shoots a customized stream of water in between each crevice of your teeth and gumline, designed to remove up to 99.9 percent of plaque with just one minute of use each day. The Waterpik brand claims this method is up to 50 percent more effective for improving gum health than thread floss is.

So how do dental professionals respond to all this? Says Cassidy O’Donnell, RDH, BSDH, a registered dental hygienist at Spence Dental in DuBois, PA, that purported near-100 percent plaque removal “would be if someone were to use it exactly correctly every single time.”

Still, adds O’Donnell’s co-worker, Mindy Roof, RDH: “I feel like for the people who have the initiative who use the Waterpik, their mouth is just cleaner in general.” So, is incorporating a water flosser into your routine worth it? In her professional experience, Roof told us, “I feel like it is.”

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Why We Chose the Waterpik Aquarius Water Flosser

Why did we choose the Waterpik? It’s arguably the best-known water flosser brand on the market, having first launched in 1962. The manufacturer specializes in wellness products “that deliver the wellness benefits of water,” the company says, which is in contrast to some other water flosser manufacturers that make a wider range of beauty tools that are less focused on the science of oral health.

As leaders in this category, Waterpik anticipates users’ needs. The Waterpik Aquarius water flosser comes with seven removable heads for various needs, including three classic jet heads for general use (which means three of your family members will have their own), one orthodontic tip for cleaning braces, one “pik pocket” for periodontal pockets, one toothbrush tip for cleaning as you floss, and one plaque seeker for cleaning implants, crowns, and dental work.

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How We Tested the Waterpik Aquarius Water Flosser

Straight out of the box, the Waterpik Aquarius is easy to set up: simply remove the reservoir from the unit and fill with water to the indicated line (be sure to use at least lukewarm water, as cold water is uncomfortable on most teeth). Select your tip and insert it into the handle (you’ll feel a click when it’s secure), plug in the machine, and choose from one of 10 pressure settings. I started on the lowest setting, known as “floss” mode.

One tip: before you turn on your Waterpik, insert the tip into your mouth to avoid shooting water all over your bathroom and yourself. Then close your mouth and turn your Waterpik on. I found that the stream of water wasn’t forceful, but it certainly took a minute to get used to. Also, you’ll need to angle your face down toward the sink, so the water runs straight down and doesn’t dribble all over.

Does the Waterpik Aquarius work?

Soon enough, I was noticing as the Waterpik began to dislodge a few hidden food particles leftover from lunch—which, I admit, was a little unappetizing, but also highly satisfying. (I mean…that’s the whole point, right?)

I moved the Waterpik around my bottom teeth for 30 seconds, until I heard the machine’s “pacer” pulse: the brief pause that signaled it was time to switch to the top half. When the minute was finished, the neat freak in me really enjoyed how easily the handle’s cord coiled back up and stored in a recessed part of the unit.

I used the Waterpik Aquarius water flosser for a few weeks, playing around with various pressure settings (there’s even a massage mode!) to get a feel for every which way this device cleans. I even tried it after using my regular dental picks to see if it dislodged anything beyond what I’d already removed—in a few cases, yes. As Roof told us: “A Waterpik is a good adjunct aid to flossing,” while O’Donnell added that using thread floss will is what’s likely to be most effective at removing food and tartar.

In conclusion, the hygienists agreed, the Waterpik increases the quality of your dental health routine “in conjunction with brushing twice a day and flossing regularly,” Roof said.

Product Features

The Waterpik Aquarius water flosser comes with a covered reservoir, which holds plenty of water for up to 90 seconds of continuous use. The reservoir is easy to refill between flossing sessions, and the company says it’s dishwasher safe for when it needs a thorough cleaning.

An on/off switch controls the power, while the “mode” button allows you to switch between regular flossing and gum-stimulating massage. The 10 pressure settings can be interchanged via the control knob. After 30 seconds of water flossing, the device pauses to alert you when it’s time to move to the other half of your mouth.

Pros

What I like about the Waterpik Aquarius water flosser:

  • Holds the American Dental Association (ADA) seal of acceptance
  • Various pressure levels to ensure a comfortable experience
  • Works with braces, implants, crowns, and dental work
  • Flosser head rotates 360 degrees
  • Compact enough to fit on most bathroom counters
  • Reservoir holds enough water for one flossing session
  • A one-minute and 30-second timer helps you gauge how long to floss
  • Removes up to 99.9 percent of plaque
  • Pre-coiled handle cord prevents tangling

Cons

Consider these factors before you buy:

  • Surprisingly audible motor
  • Not easily portable (so you might miss it when you’re traveling, if you’re a dental hygiene devotee)
  • Slight learning curve to prevent splashing
  • Water spout design requires rinsing through with clean water and ensuring the spout is stored in a non-humid location to optimize drying

What Other Reviewers Had to Say

amazons best selling waterpik Jill Schildhouse for The Healthy

At the time of this publication, the Waterpik Aquarius water flosser boasts nearly 98,000 ratings on Amazon and a 4.7-star average.

Verified Amazon reviewer Dianne said, “I had not used a Waterpik since I was a kid with braces. Now I’m an adult with dental additions, and I got another one. This cleans so well—why did I ever stop using it? Fantastic re-discovery.”

“I absolutely love this machine. It does a terrific job at getting food from between my teeth,” said verified purchaser Ra’Sheia Nicole. “I’m always surprised at how there can still be food particles in your teeth after flossing. I don’t know how I ever went so long without it.”

One reviewer attested to how well the device cleans crown fillings: “When I was flossing with regular floss, I had a crown fall out. I couldn’t bring myself to floss again for fear another crown would fall out. My dentist recommended a Waterpik. I wish I had tried one sooner. It’s easy to use and it’s less painful than flossing.”

Final Verdict

Aside from my preference for regular floss, I was also concerned about the water droplets that remained in the tip after use (I went out of town for four days, and it never dried out). To prevent this, I recommend thoroughly drying the tip as well as shaking it to eliminate lingering water.

If you’re not a fan of traditional flossing, wear braces, or have had any dental work done that prevents you from using regular floss, the Waterpik Aquarius water flosser might be your new best friend. (Our senior editor has used a Waterpik since high school and says that while she’s also the hypervigilant dental health type, no other part of her routine has ever made her teeth feel quite this clean.)

Your smile is an important investment. Using a product like the Waterpik Aquarius water flosser is a smart way to make sure you’re keeping up with how often you should floss while promoting teeth and gum health. Plus, considering that it features the seal of acceptance from the American Dental Association (ADA), you can be confident you’re in good hands.

Where to Buy the Waterpik Aquarius Water Flosser

The Waterpik Aquarius is available on Amazon starting at $80, Walgreens for $100, and Walmart for $149.

Shop Now

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Sources
Cassidy O'Donnell, RDH, BSDH and Mindy Roof, RDH, at Spence Dental in DuBois, PA

Jill Schildhouse
As an editor at large for The Healthy, Jill Schildhouse is an expert in health and wellness, beauty, consumer products and product reviews, travel, and personal finance. She has spent the last 20 years as an award-winning lifestyle writer and editor for a variety of national print and digital publications.