My first trip to the dentist was a nightmare. I kicked my feet. I screamed. I definitely bit the hygienist. After my subsequent outbursts, I got referred to a children's specialist. They had no luck with me either. I was still spitting in faces and refusing to open my mouth.
And despite all that — despite all the tantrums and ugly crying — today I am literally obsessed with oral hygiene.
My logic is, if I take care of my teeth, my biyearly trips to the dentist can be quick and painless. If my teeth are squeaky clean and cavity-free, I don’t have to worry about sitting in the dentist’s chair for more than a half hour.
I’m that person who has a spare toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss at their desk. I’m that person who changes her toothbrush every three months. And I really hate it when my teeth are grimy. Whenever I see some stains or plaque on my pearly whites, I shed a quiet tear.
I’m 100% pro-flossing every single day. I mean it. There’s sort of a calming ritual to flossing at the end of every night. So you can imagine my excitement when I got asked to test the Waterpik® Water Flosser + Sonic Toothbrush. (Spoiler alert: I LOVE IT!)
Good question! I had no idea what water flossing was either until I tried the Waterpik® Water Flosser. If you can imagine gently power-washing your teeth with a tiny hose, then you have a pretty good idea of what water flossing is! Instead of removing food and other debris from your teeth with string, these water flossers use gentle pulsating water, so you can wash it all out with some high-action spraying.
Essentially it’s a like a combo punch of oral care. You get a water flosser and a sonic toothbrush all in one.
I am honestly loyal to string flossing, but I also found out that the Waterpik® is "50% more effective for improving gum health" in comparison! I love my string…but maybe it was time to let it go.
The set came with five different cleaning tips.
I was kind of intimidated taking the machine out of the box, but setup was actually really easy. I watched a video on how to use the machine, and it was super helpful. Honestly, the biggest problem I probably had setting up was that I didn’t have enough counter space in my tiny NYC bathroom. Luckily, I only needed one outlet for this!
For my first try of the water flosser, I started with the Classic Jet Tip.
When the instructions said to keep your mouth near-closed when water flossing, they meant it! I literally sprayed water all over my bathroom (including my ceiling) by not following this instruction. Starting over after my beginner’s mistake, I kept the spray on the lowest setting and began to floss my top teeth. It felt a little weird at first, but I definitely got used to it. Imagine if your teeth could go through a car wash — that’s how I felt. For my top teeth, I was very clumsy and spraying water every which way, but near the end of my bottom teeth, I was getting the hang of it! I kept to a rhythm of turning the water on and pausing it, spitting when necessary, and making sure to go slowly over every tooth.
One thing I found surprising while flossing was watching all the food bits wash out of my mouth into the sink. I literally saw spinach fly into the sink on a day I had salad. The flosser was surprisingly good at taking out harder-to-remove foods too. I definitely had to turn the pressure on harder for popcorn kernels, but it did the job!
I actually haven't used an electric toothbrush in years. The last time I used one, I was probably 5, and it was probably Hello Kitty–themed.
At my biyearly checkups, my dentist usually asks me if I use an electric toothbrush because my teeth are so clean. (Yes, that was a humblebrag.) I was excited to put this sonic brush to the test. It was time to see if it could make my teeth even cleaner.
Watching the instructions on YouTube, I learned that you can use the water flosser FIRST and then brush with the electric toothbrush. The more you know! Using the sonic toothbrush was really fun, and I am a fan. The bristles felt massaging on my gums, and I really enjoyed the feature where the brush paused for a second to tell you to move on to a different quadrant of your mouth. Also, the slight buzzing of the brush is a good way to wake yourself up when brushing in the morning. Very soothing!
Sometimes I can get a little overzealous and brush my teeth too aggressively with a normal toothbrush. Aggressive brushing can harm your gums (and even make them recede), so using an electric toothbrush helped me put less pressure in my mouth.
The one thing I noticed immediately after brushing and water flossing is that my teeth felt squeaky clean — the kind of clean you feel after you visit the dentist (yes, after all the kicking and screaming). I am absolutely converted!
Using the Waterpik® and sonic brush for a week became a nice routine for me. It felt good to have something, without fail, happen every day at the end of the night.
If you’re someone who lives for clean teeth, I totally recommend water flossing. And if you’re someone who doesn’t care much about flossing, I STILL recommend water flossing! I had my BF try the Waterpik®, and even though he hates flossing, he admitted that his teeth felt squeaky clean afterward.
Not only am I happy with how clean my teeth look, I’m super prepared for my next dentist appointment. There will be no kicking and screaming — just a happy camper with a 15-minute cleaning, and then I’m out the door!
Photos by Lauren Zaser and design by Kirby Darland for BuzzFeed.