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We tried Waterpik’s ultra plus WP-150 water flosser – here’s what happened

Is it time to upgrade your oral hygiene set up with this latest tech? We find out

Qin Xie
Wednesday 19 May 2021 11:57
<p>These electrical devices use pressurised water to flush out any trapped food or debris from between your teeth</p>

These electrical devices use pressurised water to flush out any trapped food or debris from between your teeth

The notion that Britons have bad teeth may be a myth but the reality is that there is plenty of room for improvement.

The results of the last Adult Dental Health Survey revealed that just 69 per cent of adults brushed their teeth twice a day, for example. Even then, the high level of plaque seen in this group suggests that brushing alone is not good enough. To address this perennial problem, dentists recommend also using products such as dental floss to clean between the teeth.

But flossing comes with its own flaws. Getting into those gaps at the back of the mouth can be especially tricky for those who face mobility challenges for example, while cleaning between dental work for those with braces or fixed retainers can prove impossible. And then of course there’s the waste that comes with using a new piece of flossing string or pick every day.

This is where water flossers come in: these electrical devices use pressurised water to flush out any trapped food or debris from between your teeth and can be especially handy for reaching those awkward areas in the back of the mouth. You’ll have seen similar machines being used by dentists but there are now many brands producing smaller versions that you can use at home.

Leading the charge for domestic devices is Waterpik, a Colorado-based company that’s been making water flossers since 1962. One of its newest models is the countertop Waterpik ultra plus WP-150 water flosser, launched in June 2020, which promises to remove up to 99.9 per cent of plaque from treated areas while being 50 per cent more effective at reducing gingivitis, a mild form of gum disease, compared to regular string floss. We put it to the test to see how it compares to regular flossing.

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Waterpik ultra plus WP-150 water flosser

Buy now

Pressure setting: 1-10 (10 to 100PSI)

Weight: 1.48lbs (0.671kg)

Cleaning modes: Water or mouthwash

Included tips: Classic jet (nozzle), tongue cleaner, orthodontic, pik pocket (for periodontal pockets), plaque seeker and toothbrush

Reservoir capacity: 651ml, up to around 90 seconds

Storage caddy: Yes for tips

Travel bag: No

Timer: No

Power: From UK shaver socket, 100-240 VAC, 50/60Hz

Warranty: Three years

Height (with tip/brush): 9.9in (25.15cm)

Max width (base): 5.6in (14.22cm)

Max depth (base): 5.3in(13.46 cm)

Design

The Waterpik ultra plus WP-150 water flosser has three main parts: the base, the reservoir and the wand. On the sturdy white plastic base, you’ll find the main on/off button for the device as well as the pressure dial. The electricity cord flows out of the back and plugs into a shaver socket. In the front, there’s also a holder where you can rest the wand when it’s not in use.

The removable clear plastic reservoir sits on top of the base. On one side of its base is a valve that stops water from dripping out after you fill it; the valve is also where the machine draws the water from the reservoir to pump into the wand. Covering the top is a matching white plastic lid that doubles as a storage caddy for the interchangeable tips.

Six standard tips come with the machine – classic jet (nozzle), tongue cleaner, orthodontic, pik pocket (for periodontal pockets), plaque seeker and toothbrush – each designed for a different function.

The chrome-accented wand itself – or the handle as it’s known in the instruction manual – is attached to the base via a coiled tube. At the very top is a rotating dock capable of turning 360 degrees. The tips slot in here with a click and just below it is the eject button you use to remove them. Further down, there’s an on/off slider to start or stop the water during use.

Features

The ultra plus WP-150 is one of Waterpik’s highest spec countertop devices. It features 10 pressure modes, ranging from 10PSI to 100PSI, and comes with six interchangeable tips with different functions. Realistically, you’ll rely on one or two in everyday use.

For general cleaning, the most popular one is the classic jet, a nozzle that simply shoots out a jet of water to clean between the teeth and below the gumline. You also get the toothbrush tip, like those found on standard electric toothbrushes, so you can brush your teeth and floss at the same time. And then there’s the tongue cleaner, which is a bowled scraper that can shoot out a jet of water at the same time to help improve general oral hygiene and reduce halitosis (bad breath).

Those with problem teeth may find the pik pocket helpful. It’s tapered to a very fine point, producing a more targeted and higher pressure stream of water for cleaning periodontal pockets (openings around the teeth) and furcations (where the root of the teeth are showing).

There are also two tips for those with special dental work. The orthodontic tip has a fairly dense brush, with the bristles concentrated in the middle, which is designed to get into the nooks and crannies in braces. The plaque seeker has bristles split into three pockets on the edge of the tip and is designed for implants, crowns, bridges and retainers.

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Compared to the slightly cheaper ultra WP-120 (£64.99, Boots.com), there isn’t a huge amount of difference save for the chrome accent and the slider switch (instead of an on/off button) on the wand of the ultra plus WP-150. The next level up is the ultra-professional WP-660 (£73, Amazon.co.uk), which has an LED display, seven tips included and an additional massage mode.

Usage

Getting started with the ultra plus WP-150 is easy, even for novice water flossers.

You start by filling the reservoir with warm water – cold water will be very uncomfortable, especially for those with sensitive teeth. When replacing the reservoir, push it firmly into the base to make sure the valve slots into place; the machine will still work when it isn’t lined up properly, but the water pressure will be extremely weak. After drying off any spills and your hands, you can plug the machine into the shaver socket for use.

The machine turns on at the base, where you can also adjust the pressure, but the water won’t start flowing until you toggle the second switch on the wand. Waterpik recommends starting from one and working your way up to a pressure that suits you. We found that three is a good pressure for the classic jet tip but you’ll need to go up to four or five if you’re using the plaque seeker or orthodontic tip, and bring the pressure right down to one for the pik pocket.

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With the chosen tip placed perpendicular against your gum line, and your lips slightly open, you lean over the sink and toggle the switch on the wand to release the water. Then it’s just a case of moving the tip along the gum line, pausing for a second or two at the gaps between your teeth, and allowing the water to rinse out any debris or trapped food.

Because the wand is attached to the machine via the coiled tube that feeds it water, it can be a bit awkward to use at first. We found that it would sometimes catch during use, but once we got into the swing of things, we quickly learned to adjust our movements to achieve the best cleaning results. The first time we used it, we were surprised by the amount of debris it washed out and were impressed by the fact that there was nothing left for our regular dental floss to pick up.

The verdict: Waterpik ultra plus WP-150 water flosser

Compared to regular dental floss, the Waterpik ultra plus WP-150 water flosser was much easier and much faster to use. As it uses mains electricity, there was no need to wait for it to charge, but it does require a quite specific bathroom set up: the shaver socket needs to be near the sink and there must be a flat surface for you to set the device on.

We loved the fact that it has so many pressure settings, and you can swap out the tips, meaning the whole family can use just one device. For everyday cleaning, the classic jet is more than sufficient and we had great results. Those with special dental work might also benefit from one of the specialist tips, but we recommend gently sweeping it across your teeth rather than pressing it right against them as otherwise the bristles can and do get caught. Our only gripe was the toothbrush tip, which we felt didn’t sit in the wand firmly enough for everyday use.

Voucher codes

For the latest offers on water flossers, electric toothbrushes and other tech products, try the links below:

For more teeth tech, read our review of the 10 best electric toothbrushes that keep teeth healthy, bright and pearly white 

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.

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