Everyone we talked to agrees that, ideally, you should use traditional floss followed by a water pick to remove food particles from between your teeth and prevent cavities. However, most of them acknowledge that the best tool with which to do that cleaning is really the one you know you’ll use correctly and most often — whether that’s dental floss, one of those little interdental brushes, a water pick, or all of the above. “Because so many people have a difficult time flossing properly, using a water flosser with the ADA Seal of Acceptance has been proven to be as effective, if not more effective, than traditional flossing at removing plaque between teeth,” explains Dr. Jill Lasky of Lasky Pediatric Dental in Studio City, California. “Many just put the floss between their teeth instead of making the recommended C-shape with the floss to ensure it properly contacts all surfaces of the teeth. Water flossers are less technique-sensitive.” And much harder to screw up.

1.Waterpik Aquarius Water Flosser

Of the 27 dentists and dental hygienists we talked to, 22 say that they prefer the Waterpik brand because of its longevity in the market. “They are the holy grail of water picks and flossers, and I recommend their product to all my patients,” says Brooklyn-based dentist Dr. Elliot Eskenazi. “This brand is to water flossers what Kleenex is to tissues.” According to AsktheDentist.com founder Dr. Mark Burhenne, “The company stands behind its products better than other brands with unrecognizable names.” Dr. Dimitri Mantazis of Hove Dental Clinic appreciates the brand’s wide array of models, “from basic to more advanced to cordless.” Dr. Moses A.

Belgrade says he’s been using a Waterpik since dental school “43 years ago.” And Dr. Mojgan Fajiram says that Waterpik models are a proven “way to aid in removing food and bacteria.”When it came to traditional water picks, five of our sources preferred the Waterpik Aquarius, which comes with ten different pressure settings — an important feature according to most of the folks we talked to.

2.Waterpik Sonic-Fusion Professional Flossing Toothbrush

Nine of the experts we talked to recommend the Waterpik Sonic-Fusion because it combines brushing and water flossing in one appliance, has a built-in timer that notifies you when you’re done, and features adjustable water-pressure controls for sensitive teeth. Dr. Jacqueline Fulop-Goodling, an orthodontist at New York’s Dr. Smiles, says, “This product switches from brushing to flossing to both, and it removes the harmful bacteria and debris deep between teeth and below the gum line that traditional brushing and dental floss can’t reach.”

Dr. Paul Sussman, a co-founder of the Center for Cosmetic & General Dentistry in Rochester, says that he uses the Sonic-Fusion exclusively and recommends it to all of his patients and relatives. Sussman compares the combination brush and water flosser to a power-washer for your mouth, saying, “The toothbrush breaks away plaque and bacteria that have attached themselves to your teeth, and the Waterpik flushes out all of the debris.”

3.Waterpik Cordless Advanced Water Flosser

Five of the dentist and hygienists we consulted recommend the Waterpik cordless water flosser for people with limited space or those who might want to use it in the shower to minimize the potential mess. Dr. Inna Chern of New York General Dentistry says that she has been “heavily” recommending water picks to her patients and has seen a “massive improvement in stains and between-teeth plaque buildup.”

She specifically recommends the Waterpik Cordless water flosser (the one I use) to teens with braces, elderly people, and people who don’t have room for a bulkier countertop model. She also uses this water pick at home, along with her husband and 12-year-old daughter. “I tend to recommend Waterpik’s cordless model. I like it because we have limited bathroom-counter space and it easily goes into our medicine cabinet.