Several methods for cleaning your teeth, such as the Sonicare AirFloss.

Cleaning Between the Teeth: AirFloss or Waterpik?

Removing dental plaque plays a key role maintaining oral health. When it comes to achieving this, there is conflicting evidence. The relative merits of both manual, powered toothbrushes, and other methods such as the Sonicare AirFloss Pro and the Waterpik Water Flosser are called into question.

Brushing your teeth is one most common home oral care methods. Several studies investigating different methods were done within a 2-week period. The test subjects used nylon floss, silk floss, Superfloss or triangular toothpicks for interdental tooth cleaning.

The researchers hoped to compare manual and powered toothbrushes, principally in relation to plaque removal and gingival health. Stain, calculus removal, dependability, adverse effects, and cost were also considered.

Sonicare AirFloss Pro (AFP) vs. Floss only?

Manufacturers of the Philips Sonicare AirFloss Pro claim to reduce oral biofilm from a thickness of 0.3mm to just a single bacteria. Furthermore, they maintain that their innovative approach to flossing removes up to 99.9% of biofilm bacteria from the treated area.

To compare these products, the study investigated the difference in reduction of an interproximal surface bacterial biofilm formation with the use of Sonicare Airfloss, toothbrush or dental flossing only. In this study, three groups of six people were formed, all with typodont teeth. They were sprayed with Occlude Indicator Spray and tested surface coating.

Each group was treated with one removal method: Sonicare Airfloss, tooth brushing, or dental flossing. In all groups, when used as a single removal method, Sonicare Airfloss resulted in the least removal of the surface coating when compared to either tooth brushing or flossing.

Waterpik Water Flosser (WF) vs. Sonicare Air Floss Pro (AFP)

Waterpik Water Flosser (WF) plus a manual toothbrush; or Sonicare Air Floss Pro (AFP) plus a manual toothbrush. All subjects received both written and verbal instructions and demonstrated proficiency prior to starting the study. Instructions were reviewed at the two-week visit.

The use of the Waterpik Water Flosser resulted in significantly lesser plaque removal from tooth surfaces (whole mouth, marginal, approximal, facial, and lingual) than the Sonicare Air Floss when used with a manual toothbrush.

Results showed a reduction of mean plaque scores for all brushes within 10 to 90 seconds. After 30 seconds (2-min whole mouth equivalent) of brushing, the Sonicare brushes cleaned 19, the ADA brush 16, and the Elmex Sensitive 10 of an average 28 tooth surfaces. With time, the number of additionally cleaned surfaces decreased.

Time is an important variable in the evaluation of plaque-removing efficacy since absolute efficacy increases with time and differs per toothbrush. No differences could be found between the two brush heads of the Sonicare.


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