Happy new year everyone, here's to hoping to for things to improve. Let's not kid ourselves, we are far from finding our way out of the woods with this pandemic but it does not mean we can't do something to improve our lives. The COVID isolation meant I could not keep up my usual schedule with my oral hygienist, so I had to resort to other means of keeping my oral health up to scratch.
A quick recap, studies have indicated that poor dental hygiene can have unexpected links to general health consequences, such as increased risks for Alzheimer's disease and heart disease. I have had some periodontitis issues in the past which lead me into using a water flosser for a while but it is a messy affair. When the opportunity came up to review the Philips Sonicare Airfloss Ultra, it didn't take much convincing.
What is the Philips Sonicare Airfloss Ultra?
Even when I am not using it, this is a mouthful to get out. Unlike what the name suggests, is a small battery powered "interdental flosser" that shoots a mixture of air and liquid in between your teeth and gum to dislodge plaque and other detritus. My oral hygienist did mention that it could be complementary to my existing routine.
The Airfloss Ultra stands about the same height as your standard electric toothbrush but with a thicker handle to accommodate the small reservoir. The tip is is removable and interchangeable which is important if you are sharing it around the family.
The tiny reservoir in the handle accommodates about 2-3 uses of the device, depending on your settings and duration of use. There is a choice of a single, double or triple burst of air/liquid mixture per trigger shot, this setting is memorised across power cycles of the unit. An activation trigger is at the base of the nozzle.
Philips makes a bold claim of being able to remove 99.9% of plaque so let's see how it feels.
The instructions call for a 24 hours charge before first use, and has a rated battery life of 2 weeks at normal use. This was duly noted as I put the handle onto it's charging stand and 24 hours later I was in business.
The reservoir is accessible from the front of the handle through a flap, and will accept any liquid - with a caveat. Obviously you don't want to be putting anything poisonous in there, after all the fluid will end up in your mouth. Water is plentiful (at least where I am for now), but you can also use mouthwash as long as it does not contain Isopropyl Myristate and other essential oils that can damage plastic. As a general rule of thumb, if they sell the mouthwash in glass or ceramic containers, it won't go well with the plastic AirFloss Ultra.
If you are a complete n00b to flossing, go easy and use the single burst setting. Make that if you have never used the Airfloss Ultra before, start low and work your way up. Toggle the burst to single on the button near the base of the handle, position the Airfloss at the gap between your teeth and at the gum line and press the trigger at base of the neck and you'll hear a click and feel a corresponding burst of air and fluid eject from the unit.
There is no hard and fast rule on the position and distance from gum and teeth to follow. You can feel a sting if your gum is sensitive or you are holding it too close. If your gum health is not the best, expect some bleeding as well until such time it gets better over a few weeks of use. If in doubt, go see your dentist.
What I found was that I can hold down the trigger and position the Airfloss around in my mouth in between burst cycles. It is kind of a game of how well do I know the position of my teeth and I got pretty good at it after a few days. It is a departure from what I am used to, a continuous jet from a water flosser but it does do the trick of shifting the detritus.
Where I found it helped me the most, is to work around the retaining wire I have behind my front teeth. Behind and below the wire has always been problematic to get to with regular toothbrush and floss. With the Airfloss Ultra though, I just spend extra time indiscriminately blasting away in that area before rinsing and brushing as normal.
The dance of air/water flossing is a messy affair and is generally best done in the shower. The Airfloss Ultra is not rated to be submerged in water, but rated for normal bathroom use. I have actually been taking it into the shower with me, and largely keeping it out of the direct water flow. You can use your imagination on the how and it is not difficult.
The Philips Sonicare Airfloss Ultra has minimal accessories, just the nozzle head piece in either a clear or transparent red finish.
It takes 24 hours to fully charge the device from empty, which is incredibly slow.
The lack of unique coding options for the nozzle limits the usefulness for sharing it in a home. When I have a full crew at home, I have 6 warm bodies and only 2 colour options.
Flossing is a step generally missing from oral care routine and it is an important step. I can feel that clean feeling on my teeth after using the Airfloss Ultra. There is no different to when I was using the water flosser. The main difference between the two is that a water flosser is a continuous flow whereas the Airfloss is a position and fire away deal. It comes down to a personal preference on the method of operation. The end result
Ever since I started using a flossing device my oral hygienist has seen significant improvements on my gum health. At my most recent visit, even with a gap of 13 months, I have had less build up of plaque and tartar than at my worse with quarterly visits. It is as good as a ringing endorsement as it gets.
The Philips Sonicare Airfloss Ultra is widely available in Australia and has a RRP of AUD$189.00, however there are some incredible deals around. Amazon is selling it for AUD$94 with free delivery, or at Harvey Norman for AUD$99 which ends on 26 January 2021.
*Buying through Amazon helps DigitalReviews so we appreciate you considering making your purchase there.