Philips AirFloss first look

Flossing your teeth regularly is an important step in maintaining good oral health.
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01.Philips Sonicare AirFloss HX8111


Price: $169.95
2 and a half stars out of 5

Philips have introduced the Sonicare AirFloss, designed to make flossing easier and claiming to remove up to 99% more plaque between teeth than brushing with a manual toothbrush alone. 

Flossing your teeth regularly is an important step in maintaining good oral health. Normal brushing isn’t enough as it only removes surface plaque while flossing removes the plaque from between your teeth. Plaque build-up can cause tooth decay and gum disease, but according to research conducted by Philips 25% of Australians never floss – 40% saying it’s too much hassle and 30% saying they don’t know how to.

How does it work?

The Sonicare AirFloss works via quick bursts of pressurised air and water that dislodges and removes plaque between teeth. Its water reservoir holds enough water (about one teaspoon) for two flossing sessions and has a two week rechargeable battery life.

It only comes with one nozzle which needs to be replaced every six months and a pack of two replacement nozzles will cost you $29.95. If a few of you in the family are using the Airfloss this can become costly as you’ll need to stock up on these nozzles. 


We asked four trialists including a 12-year-old with braces to test out the AirFloss. They assessed its:

  • comfort
  • manoeuvrability
  • flexibility
  • ease of use, and
  • effectiveness.

Generally they found it to be fairly comfortable to hold and reasonably easy to manoeuvre around the teeth. They rated it only OK for flexibility - Philips say you only need to use the AirFloss on the front of your teeth but our triallists would’ve liked to be able to floss the back of their teeth too by turning the Airfloss upside down which wasn’t possible.

However, it’s otherwise easy to use - simply place the guidance tip on the nozzle between your teeth and press the button. One trialist said, “I found it to be messy to use, it blasted water over the bathroom mirror and my face”.

Overall, none of our trialists would buy the AirFloss, but it wasn’t only its hefty price tag that deterred them. While they generally found it fairly effective at flossing their teeth, they didn’t particularly like the pressure it released. One said she didn’t like the sensation of the water and air on her teeth and another said the pressure was too harsh – not because it hurt, but because it always caused bleeding of the gums even after a week of use.

These trialists said they prefer manual flossing and would be happy to put in the extra time to manually floss their teeth. Our younger trialist preferred the AirFloss because with braces it’s harder to use normal floss. 

CHOICE verdict

The concept of the AirFloss is good – a device that makes flossing easy encourages many to floss their teeth and improve their oral health. However at $170 (not including the ongoing price of replacement nozzles) our trialists wouldn’t rush out to get their hands on one.



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