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Philips Sonicare AirFloss Review

Philips Sonicare AirFloss

Despite the proven oral health benefits of flossing, many still only people brush their teeth and then leave it at that. It seems that flossing is too much trouble for some, so with that in mind, Phillips has tried to make it more appealing, entering the market for oral irrigators with a couple of designs that pit the company against the best-known brand in this market, Waterpik. The Sonicare Interdental Electric AirFloss (HX8211/03 and HX8332/11) offers you the totally new idea to replace your traditional manual floss.

Toothbrushes are great, and electric toothbrushes are really great, but with teeth being the way that they are, neither type is going to be able to always reach into every nook and cranny in your mouth. The gaps between our teeth provide ideal places for food debris to hide, and these oases of decaying matter make ideal breeding grounds for the bacteria that give rise to the plaque. This is where flossing fits into the oral hygiene picture. Dental floss usually comes in the form of a piece of waxy string, sometimes flavored, that you wind around your fingers and then tug back and forth in the gaps between your teeth in a sawing motion. This removes all of that hard-to-reach food waste and the plaque that it cultivates. Flossing does a great cleaning job, which is why most dentists recommend doing it at least once a day.

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Appearance and Designing

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The Sonicare AirFloss Interdental (HX8211/03) and AirFloss Interdental Ultra (HX8332/11) are Phillips’s attempt to make older forms of flossing obsolete. Both models are sleek and modern-looking, and as the name suggests, they show similarities in style with Philips’s Sonicare toothbrush range. They are also portable and easy to use, dispensing bursts of pressurized air and tiny droplets of water (or mouthwash) to blast away hidden debris. This combination has shown that is can remove up to 5 times more plaque from between the teeth than brushing alone. Both AirFloss are powered by lithium batteries and it will last for up to 2 weeks on a single charge, which makes it particularly useful for traveling.

flossing between teeth

Both models offer an auto-burst feature which cleans the entire mouth in just 30 seconds, or 60 seconds (for HX8332/11). This was a very welcome consideration, as personally, I do not like that flossing takes so long. I know that cleaning between the teeth is important to overall oral and physical health, but flossing is just such a hassle! Phillips claims that after 12 weeks of use, 96% of reluctant flossers carried on using it for 4 days a week or more, which I can understand. It does make the whole experience more pleasant so I am sure that I will be joining them in more regular flossing.

Key features & Technologies

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The Sonicare AirFloss Interdental (HX8211/03) is the budget version, while the AirFloss Interdental Ultra (HX8332/11) can be had for a higher price level. The cheaper model gives you one nozzle while the pricier one gives you two. Nozzles need to be replaced every 6 months, and replacements can be bought online in packs of three. You also get 2 oz. BreathRx mouth rinse with the “Interdental Ultra” version.

Both models feature a slim, angled nozzle and a guidance tip to help you find the right placement. You glide the head across the teeth near the gum line until it fits in between them.

The “Interdental” version has one flashing indicator to tell you when the battery is low, while the “Interdental Ultra” version has LEDs on the handle so that you can tell the charge level. Interestingly, the more expensive version – “Interdental Ultra” has a 2-week battery life, while the cheaper one – “Interdental” as a 3-week battery life. Presumably, this has something to do with the power consumption of extra features on the pricier model.

Both feature rechargeable lithium-ion batteries that take 24-hours to charge up fully. The nozzle head snaps on and off easily. The biggest differences with the more expensive model are the customizable settings, which give you manually or auto burst modes with single, double, and triple bursts that you can change through by pressing a button.

Difference between Sonicare AirFloss Interdental HX8211/03 and AirFloss Interdental Ultra HX8332/11

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How do the products work

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Since this is an oral irrigator, the first thing you need to do is fill the reservoir on the handle. You can choose mouthwash or water, and then start blasting. The reservoir holds enough of whichever liquid you prefer for up to 2 uses, so you need to refill it once a day.

fill the reservoir on the handle

In use, you have a choice of either pressing the button (which on the top of the handle) once for a single burst, moving from one tooth to the next or you can use the auto-burst feature if you have the “Interdental Ultra (HX8332/11)”, by holding down the button and moving the guidance tip from gap to gap. It will then give a burst automatically every second, which is just long enough to clean out the gap and move on to the next.

Staring button on the top of the handle

Sonicare AirFloss is clinically proven to improve gum health in just 2 weeks, according to Phillips. It helps to stop cavities developing between teeth by spritzing away the plaque that brushing didn’t catch. By doing this, Sonicare AirFloss helps stop cavities from getting a foothold.

The AirFloss is effective in tight spaces, thanks to a comfortable ergonomic handle and a non-slip grip. One-button operation makes it easy to use and it’s very portable. It is apparently 5 times more effective than a toothbrush at removing plaque from the spaces between the teeth, which is a pretty appealing detail.

With the auto-burst feature, the whole mouth can be cleaned in just 30/60 seconds, and the experience is less messy than using WaterPik, according to some user comments that I found online.

Accessories & Packages

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As stated before, the accessories that you get with the Interdental Ultra (HX8332/11) include 2 nozzles while the Interdental (HX8211/03) only offers 1 nozzle, besides, you will get a small bottle of BreathRx mouth rinse if you choose the Interdental Ultra.

A Multi-voltage (110v-220v) charger is also included with both, with the more expensive model offering a slightly bigger charge base that also holds an extra nozzle. And that’s it, there isn’t anything else on offer, but what they give you does the job pretty well.

Accessories of Interdental Ultra (HX8332/11)

I think it is very inconvenient to fill the reservoir before use every day, the good news is that Philips has already designed a thoughtful equipment to solve this problem. The Sonicare Airfloss Fill & Charge Station automatically fills your Airfloss handle while keeping the handle charged and ready to go in anytime. The reservoir tank holds up to 2 weeks of mouth rinse or water, it is compatible with all Sonicare Airfloss handles.

Pros & Cons

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While both models are very effective at what they do, neither is perfect. A dentist who added his user review on the Philips website makes the point that flossing with one of these devices can’t get between teeth that are touching each other, so if you have a crowded mouth like I do, you may want to try his or her recommendation: alternate the AirFloss with regular floss, one day after another; that way you are covered.

On the plus side, both of these units are enjoyable to use, and will no doubt transform your reluctance into compliance. Children under 8 will probably struggle to hold the thing correctly as it feels quite fat in the hand (but they do okay with soda-pop cans so who knows?) It’s bigger than any electric toothbrush you’ll find due to the fluid reservoir, but the size is something you get used to.

You also get used to using the AirFloss at all, but it takes a few days of use before it feels natural. You will probably do like I did and spray the mirror and the back of your mouth a couple of times before you get it right.

It could also do with a travel case of some sort, as they don’t offer you one.


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The choice you make between the two models will come down to what you are looking for. Both are a step up from using string floss, although not a perfect one and they are more expensive than floss, if you hate flossing and usually don’t bother, then these devices could well be worth the investment. The HX8211/03 is a solid performer at a decent price, and the HX8332/11 offers some extra settings that are pleasurable to use. Your choice is really down to whether the automatic settings and higher cost are worth it to you. Either way though, you won’t regret your decision. Both of these really do get you flossing as you should.

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