Are Waterpiks Messy?

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Medically reviewed by Othman Lahmaydi, RDH

Dental hygiene is a concern we all share. After all, no one wants to deal with nasty cavities or bad breath. While you may be familiar with regular dental floss, the innovative Waterpik can get you a different brushing experience at home, without having to fiddle with string floss. They do have one drawback though: some worry that they’re simply too messy!

The Waterpik can be a bit messy, since it involves spraying water into your mouth. To avoid making a mess, make sure you’re using the appropriate tip and a comfortable level of water pressure. Don’t open your mouth too widely while you floss, and plan for some splashing to be inevitable.

Using a Waterpik is a great oral hygiene habit to get into, and with a little forethought you can make sure it’s not giving you new cleanup problems. There are some good tried-and-true ways you can use your Waterpik that reduce mess, so let’s turn to looking into some of these tactics.

Does the Waterpik Make a Mess?

Waterpik electric dental professional oral irrigator for teeth close up

Waterpiks can be a pain to use if you don’t know what you’re doing. They are, however, a fantastic alternative to regular flossing. If you can’t use regular dental floss for whatever reason (or simply don’t want to), you should definitely try a Waterpik.

The Waterpik is also a good option if your mouth is dry or if you suffer from periodontal disease. And if you have permanent or set bridges after dental work or braces, the Waterpik is the way to go.

Waterpiks may come with a hose that can be connected to a water tap or they may have a self-contained water reservoir, like on this cordless option (on Amazon). So, depending on which one you’ve got, learn how to operate it properly and you won’t have any problems.

Here is a simple approach for using a Waterpik without making a mess:

  1. Fill your basin with lukewarm water

    You can use cold water if you prefer, but we recommend lukewarm if you have sensitive gums and teeth.
  2. Choose the tip

    We recommend starting with the default tip if you are a beginner. You can switch to other options later on. Most Waterpiks will come with different tips that offer added features.

    However, you should note that the default design might not work well for you if you have braces. You can even buy Flosser Replacement Tips for the Waterpik (on Amazon) if you’re not happy with the ones provided by default.

    Make sure the tip is tightly fixed to your Waterpik.
  3. Select the correct pressure setting

    The best Waterpik should have knobs or dials that allow you to adjust the water pressure as you want. You don’t want to use high pressure if you have sensitive teeth and gums. It would hurt a lot!

    If you’ve never used a Waterpik before, it’s best to start with a low pressure and gradually work your way up to at least a medium setting for effective plaque removal.
  4. Let the water flow

    Point the mouthpiece to the sink and switch on the flow of water. Let it flow for some time to let the water adjust to the right temperature, then you can turn it off.
  5. Switch on the Waterpik again

    Lean over the sink with your mouth barely open. Put the mouthpiece inside your mouth and switch on the device. The water flow should feel like a gentle massage. If it doesn’t, adjust the pressure accordingly.

    The tip should be set at a 90-degree angle oriented towards the gums. Start from the back teeth on the top and then work your way to the bottom. That way, you’ll be able to clean any debris that has fallen to the bottom teeth.

    Your water stream should be positioned at the gum line (where your gums meet your teeth). When you reach the area between your teeth, pause for a moment. This area, which is where you would normally use regular floss, requires more water.
  6. Switch off the Waterpik

    You can turn off the Waterpik once you’ve finished. Make sure that the water tank is empty and dry by running the waterline completely, to make sure bacteria don’t have a chance to grow inside the device.

    If any water gets left behind accidentally, you can always run the lines with new water to flush away potentially harmful bacteria.

    You can also remove the mouth piece by press the tip eject button.

How To Avoid Making a Mess With Your Waterpik 

When using your Waterpik, things can get a bit wet and splashy if you’re not careful. To avoid this, keep the following suggestions in mind:

  • Close the lid on the Waterpik tank once you’ve filled it with water, to prevent the extra water from splashing all over the place.
  • Your mouth should be only slightly open to allow some water to escape your mouth without causing a huge splash.
  • Before switching on the Waterpik, put the tip in your mouth. Water might splash around if your tip is not inserted into the mouth properly. Make sure to also use the right tip for your mouth.
  • When the water from the Waterpik starts to flow, don’t look up into the mirror. It’s especially easy to make a mess when your face is upright, and water is dripping down from your mouth.
  • Make sure the water pressure you’re using is comfortable for you. Low to medium range pressure is best for first-time users. You should stick to the low to medium range until you can comfortably move on to higher pressure.

Should You Use a Waterpik Over the Sink? 

Portable oral irrigator kit in bathroom, waterpik for family use

The water coming out of your Waterpik can be difficult to control at times, which increases the risk of making a mess. For this reason, it’s advisable to bend over the sink every time you use the Waterpik.

Leaning over the sink should prevent the water from spilling onto the floor. Water will also be dripping from your mouth as you use the device.

How Should I Hold My Waterpik to Avoid Making a Mess? 

The way you hold your Waterpik is the key to avoiding a mess. Simply lean against the sink with the flosser tip in your mouth.

Hold the handle at a 90-degree angle to your teeth and then turn on the Waterpik. The Waterpik should release the water in consistent pulses.

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