While it may not always get the same attention as the other electronic gadgets, the technology behind the dental care devices has evolved significantly and not only in the dentist’s office (where some things look like they were stripped from a Mars rover), but the everyday at-home use dental products have also received a serious upgrade, the most prominent being the toothbrush which a lot of people have left behind in favor of the electric counterpart (toothbrushes now rely on rotation and/or vibration to clean your teeth).
The water flosser is another device that wants to have a place in your bathroom, but it does seem to struggle to completely replace the traditional wire floss and the reason for that is because people still see the dental floss as the superior solution for removing plaque.
Interestingly enough, some recent studies do seem to support the idea that the water flosser does actually offer a superior way to remove the plaque and maintain the health of your gums, so I do suspect that the interest towards this product will increase over time. The most popular water flossers came from Waterpik, which has been developing this type of devices from the beginning, but, competition is always welcomed, so I am going to have a look at the Etekcity Cordless Water Flosser which is a very affordable travel-friendly product.
The concept behind the water flossers is not truly new (it’s close to 60 years old) and even today, it functions in a similar manner to the original device: a small, but powerful pump pushes a pulsating jet of water trough a narrow tube from a tank towards your teeth. The Etekcity cordless water flosser is built using pretty much the same premise, so, there’s the main body made of hard plastic (covered by a white glossy finish and with some greenish blue accents) which sits on a 10.1 ounces (300ml) water tank (made of transparent plastic). Ideally, in order to thoroughly clean your teeth, the water tank should be about double the size, but the Etekcity water flosser was designed to be portable, so the reduced capacity is understandable in order to easily slide in a travel bag.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s still better than a lot of other cordless, travel-focused water flossers, but you may have to pause and refill the tank once while cleaning your teeth. In order to do so, you need to open the sealed lid from the back of the water tank and fill it with water and afterwards, make sure that it’s tightly shut in order to avoid any water spillage (I have to admit that I’m a bit worried about the longevity of the rubber seal). The water tank and the main body of the device can be disconnected by gently rotating the top part counter-clockwise and this way, you can easily clean the tank (especially necessary if you live in an area with hard water). The main body of the unit has a grip-friendly shape, with a texture on the back to ensure that the device doesn’t slide out of your hand and, on the front, you’ll be able to find the LEDs, controls and a USB port.
From the top, there’s a Release button which, when pressed, allows you to change the tip piece, followed by a Power On/Off button that you need to press and hold for about 2 seconds to start the water flosser and quickly press to turn it off while it functions. The third button changes the Mode and, specifically, it cycles through the Normal, Soft and Pulse modes, ranging from 276 to 724 kPA (or 40 to 105 psi of pressure) and the pulse rate goes from 1400 to 1800 times per minute. A study from the University of Southern California seems to favor 1,200 pulses per minute at 70 psi in order to remove up to 99.9 % of the plaque from your teeth, so the Etekcity cordless water flosser can provide more than enough pressure. Underneath the M button, there are three icons, each with its own LED to show you which mode you’re currently using.
Of course, it is advisable that if you haven’t used a water flosser before (and especially if you don’t regularly floss), to use the device with the Soft mode enabled since, otherwise, you may experience some gum bleeding; after about two weeks, it should be safe to use the Normal mode. I do regularly floss (the traditional way) and I was initially surprised by the sudden jet of water, so it’s easy to splash it everywhere (and I did). To ensure this doesn’t happen, when pointing the tip towards your gums, it’s best to keep your lips together and then slowly move from left to right. Inside the package, there are four tips and at first, I thought that each served a different purpose, but no, they’re the same and the only differentiating factor is the color (Etekcity says that this way, more than one member of the family can use the same device).
It’s worth noting that the dimensions of the Etekcity cordless water flosser are adequate to be easily manoeuvred (it measures 2.9 x 3.2 x 11.9 inches) and its weight is also acceptable even when the tank is completely filled (when empty, it weighs 0.7 lb); the device is also IPX7 rated, which means that it can be submerged under about 3.3 feet of water (1 meter) and that it will remain unaffected for about 30 minutes – I doubt that you have any intention using the water flosser while swimming, so the IPX7 rating is just a way of saying that the device is pretty much waterproof. I did notice that underneath the buttons and LEDs, there is a removable silicone cover which should hide the two charging connectors, but it doesn’t do a great job at it, since it often falls off (the good news is that water won’t affect the connectors, but the bad news is that you need to wait until the area gets dry before plugging in the USB cable – provided in the package).
Inside the case, Etekcity has equipped the cordless water flosser with a 1,400mAh battery which should ensure about two weeks if used daily for about 2 minutes (but it can vary depending on the way you use it); to preserve the battery, the manufacturer has added an Automatic Shutoff mode, so the water flosser will turn off after 2 minutes of use. If you wish to recharge the battery, it requires about 4 hours to go from 0 to 100%, so there is not fast charging technology involved.
Some people say that a water flosser can completely replace the traditional wire floss, but the general consensus is that you can get healthier gums and less cavities by using both (people with braces, crowns or implants will get the most out of this type of devices). The Etekcity cordless water flosser is quite affordable when compared to its competitors, but it does offer all the expected features: a decently sized water tank, a spill-proof case, multiple pressure modes and a good battery life, so, if you’re in the market for a portable cordless water flosser, the device from Etekcity is definitely worth trying.