AirFloss is a new device developed by Philips Sonicare to remove plaque biofilm from between the teeth. It uses a rapid burst of air and water droplets to disrupt the biofilm from between the teeth. It is called “miroburst technology.”
Is it better than floss? (Comical question since the patients I typically introduce to AirFloss are 100% averse to flossing anyway!) Studies have shown AirFloss to remove up to 99% more plaque than manual brushing alone. Thus, the addition of it to a brushing-only technique would target interproximal plaque biofilm currently left behind.
Is it the same thing as an oral irrigator or Waterpik? Oral irrigators work on large volumes of pulsating water to disturb plaque biofilm between teeth, while the effectiveness of AirFloss relies on the power of the microdroplets to remove plaque biofilm. AirFloss uses only one teaspoon of liquid.
So which is better, oral irrigation or AirFloss? Most likely the real answer will be that both are effective tools for interproximal cleaning; however, ongoing studies are evaluating the comparison between the two technologies. These results should be known in 2012. For many patients, an important question to consider is: Will I actually use this technology? Due to the easy point-and-click design, compliance studies on AirFloss are extremely high.
What if my teeth and gums are sensitive? Does it hurt? The force behind the AirFloss technology is powerful enough to remove plaque while remaining gentle on teeth and gums. If cold sensitivity is a concern, you can use one teaspoon of slightly warm tap water.
Should I use the AirFloss instead of dental floss? Engineers at Philips developed AirFloss to help bridge the gap for patients who need to floss but don’t. Even though some flossing patients may like the feel and ease of AirFloss — and may eventually switch to this — I recommend patients who have found dental floss unrealistic or ineffective use it.