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What is a Waterpik?

By Brendan McGuigan
Updated Feb 27, 2024
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Waterpik® is a company that produces a number of different water-based cleaning products. They are most well known for their signature oral care device, the Waterpik® countertop dental water jet. They also make shower heads, and other oral care devices, such as sonic toothbrushes. Waterpik® was part of the enormous Teledyne Technologies conglomerate.

For many years, Waterpik® was part of a conglomerate group that contained more than a hundred different companies, with interests as varied as insurance and aeronautics. In 1999 Teledyne spun off into three distinct groups, however: Teledyne, Allegheny Technologies, and Waterpik®. Since then, Waterpik® has been a stand-alone entity, and their organization has grown substantially in the same period of time.

There are a number of different types of oral care, the most well-known being tooth brushing. Brushing teeth removes both tartar and dental plaque from the teeth, and helps fight gum disease, cavities, and gingivitis. Flossing, by running thin strips of floss between the teeth, is an important addition to brushing one’s teeth, as it removes plaque from between the teeth, and eliminates any decaying food that may be stuck there. Some people use interdental brushes instead of floss, as they can be gentler on the gums.

The last type of common oral home care is known as oral irrigation, and it is to this category that the Waterpik® belongs. An oral irrigator uses a stream of water to clean the teeth and gum line. Because of the nature of the water stream, an oral irrigator is able to get up to 4mm below the gum line, which is substantially further than both brushing and flossing. Additionally, because debris is being moved and the mouth is being washed at the same time, there is an immediate feeling of cleanliness associated with a Waterpik®, unlike the sometimes odorous debris left by flossing. However, because of the relative weakness of a water stream when compared to the driving force of a tooth brush, oral irrigators may not remove a great deal of plaque and tartar.

One area where a Waterpik® can drastically outperform traditional oral care is in dealing with people who wear braces. Flossing around and through braces can be difficult, if not impossible, and even brushing right around the braces can be very difficult. A Waterpik® allows for a great deal of maneuverability, letting the user clean every small space through and around the braces. This is also true of cleaning between teeth that are too close together for normal flossing. While floss can be threaded through tight teeth like this, generally people find this too time consuming, and so simply ignore those teeth.

The Waterpik® comes in two main varieties, one a countertop model, and one a cordless portable model. The cordless model has two pressure settings, and a number of removable tips for different teeth and purposes. The countertop model includes a large reservoir, ten distinct pressure settings, and a wide assortment of removable tips. Newer Waterpiks® even include a tip that has a toothbrush attached, allowing the user to both brush their teeth and clean them with water at the same time.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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