Product Review: Sonicare AirFloss
According to statistics only 26% of people aged 25-44 floss on a daily basis. This probably accounts for the extensive damage caused to Ireland's dental health by gum disease and cavities that develop between the teeth. The AirFloss by Sonicare is a motorised automatic jet wash for the gaps between your teeth,
it is supposed to make cleaning between your teeth much simpler and quicker. The company therefore hope to increase the number of people cleaning between their teeth on a more regular basis.
I have been using this appliance now for about 12 weeks. It certainly makes flossing simpler, I don't have to bend the TePe brush into position for each tooth as the head is very small and is easily placed between the molars even at the very back of the mouth. I don't have to put my whole fist in my mouth like I do when I am trying to floss my wisdom teeth. All I have to do is put water or mouth wash into the reservoir on the top of the handle and make sure it is charged up, and position it neatly between the teeth at the gum line.
This product has been around in some form or other for nearly 10 years, but it hasn't really taken off extensively. The only reason I tried it was because Boots are currently offering significant deals on them, and I was interested to put to the test some of the claims on the box, that it can be as effective as regular floss when used with a manual brush and mouth rinse.
I found this product very simple to use, but the science around its success is very dubious and most published journal articles state that whilst it is more effective than brushing alone, when compared with floss or with interdental brushes then they are inferior. This may explain why the company was forced in 2013 in California to settle a class action lawsuit to compensate people who had bought a AirFloss for over $100 which was inadequate for removal of plaque when dental floss cost less than $5 which is proven effective at the removal of plaque.
The AirFloss certainly makes a good go at improving the compliance with cleaning between the teeth, but it is clinically inferior to a product that costs a fraction of the price. It is a product that is hard to justify. The Sonicare toothbrush range is a premium product with excellent benefits and excellent value for money despite their high price tag, but the AirFloss doesn't fulfil need in the same way.
At Expressions, we wish to increase the number of people who clean between the teeth , as 26% is woeful, but there is little point investing significantly on a piece of kit like this that doesn't have the scientific community backing it enthusiastically.
We would continue to recommend the use of interproximal brushes such as TePe brushes or dental floss as seen below.