I read on https://lifehealthhq.com/airfloss-vs-waterpik/ (mirror):

In a study published in 2012 in the Journal of Clinical Dentistry, clinicians found that that the WaterPik water flosser reduced significantly more plaque from tooth surfaces than the AirFloss.

The study was conducted over a four week period, comparing two groups who used either a Sonicare AirFloss or a WaterPik, in addition to regular brushing. The study found that:

  • The water flosser was 80% more effective for gingivitis reduction than air floss.
  • The water flosser was 70% more effective for plaque reduction.
  • The water flosser was 2X as effective for plaque removal from lingual surfaces and 3X as effective at the gingival margin than air floss.

The amount of plaque reduction was compared in several areas:

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The studies we have at the moment indicate that the WaterPik is the better option, but that’s just the short answer.

The study was published six years ago (in 2012): are air flossers still less efficient than water flossers?

  • What makes you think the situation may be different now? Oct 10, 2018 at 6:41
  • @ChrisRogers technologies may evolve over time. Oct 10, 2018 at 6:41

1 Answer 1


Looking at the studies, using a water flosser in combination with a manual toothbrush is more effective than using string floss (Goyal, et al. 2013).

It seems however, that there have been no studies on comparisons between water flossers and air flossers since Sarma, et al. (2012) which you posted in your question, which states

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

On top of that, the ADA Council On Scientific Affairs awarded the ADA Seal of Acceptance to five Waterpik Water Flosser product lines based on its finding that they are safe and have shown efficacy for removing plaque along the gumline and between teeth and for helping to prevent and reduce gingivitis (ADA, 2017).

“This product was shown to reduce plaque and gingivitis in areas between the teeth, often the most difficult areas for patients to effectively clean,” said Dr. John Dmytryk, chair of the ADA Council on Scientific Affairs’ Seal Subcommittee. “By granting the ADA Seal of Acceptance to the Waterpik Water Flosser, consumers for whom these devices are appropriate can be confident that they can be a safe and effective component of their daily oral care when used as directed.”


ADA (2017). ADA News: Waterpik Water Flosser first in its class to earn ADA Seal Retrieved from: https://www.ada.org/en/publications/ada-news/2017-archive/february/waterpik-water-flosser-first-in-its-class-to-earn-ada-seal

Goyal, C. R., Lyle, D. M., Qaqish, J. G., & Schuller, R. (2013). Evaluation of the plaque removal efficacy of a water flosser compared to string floss in adults after a single use. The Journal of Clinical Dentistry, 24 (2), 37-42. PMID: 24282867 Free PDF: https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/2fd8/4bd02e3ceb21d6faae988109a74a95c054a0.pdf

Sharma, N. C., Lyle, D. M., Qaqish, J. G., & Schuller, R. (2012). Comparison of two power interdental cleaning devices on plaque removal. The Journal of Clinical Dentistry, 23(1), 17. PMID: 22435320 Free PDF: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Naresh_Sharma18/publication/221902011_Comparison_of_two_power_interdental_cleaning_devices_on_plaque_removal/links/541d09d00cf241a65a15ce3b/Comparison-of-two-power-interdental-cleaning-devices-on-plaque-removal.pdf

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