Customer Reviews: Philips Sonicare HX8111/02 Airfloss, Rechargeable Electric Flosser
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on September 28, 2011
First of all, I must disclose that I work in the Healthcare/ Dental industry. I encounter a lot people everyday who need to floss more or wish flossing was easier, including myself. It should be noted that this is not a form of advice in any way or matter, the opinions here are just my personal thoughts on the device.

Gums, bleeding and Flossing
gums bleed if bacteria grows in the form of plaque on your teeth. Bacteria uses calcium from you saliva to form plaque. Plaque/Calculus form on all surfaces of the teeth and is easily removed by brushing. The problem is with plaque that forms under the gum and in between the teeth. Your body tries to kill the bacteria by pumping more blood to the gums to fight it (inflammation) and thus gums bleed.
Compared to other oral irrigation devices:
I have used the Waterpik for a couple of years and was a little skeptical when I first used the Sonicare. As apposed to the Waterpik, the Sonicare air flosser uses interrupted air/water mist to clean between the teeth. Waterpik uses a continuous jet stream. I was skeptical because the reservoir in the waterpik is 210ml and the air flosser holds about a table spoon full. More about that later.
How it works:
The concept is that if you push water hard enough through the spaces between teeth the water stream will carry with it any food or debris that are stuck there and thus less food for the bacteria to grow on. There is a major difference between that and brushing/flossing. When you floss or brush, you interrupt the formation of plaque. So no the air flosser will not remove plaque. Here is where the air flosser will work, the more food you have between your teeth, the more resources the bacteria will have to form plaque and calculus. by using the air flosser you slow down this process.
How to use:
I use a mouth wash to fill it up instead of water in the hope that some of that will be retained between my teeth and kill bacteria that is growing there.
you take the tip and fit it interproximally between 2 teeth from the outside (labial: lip side) and activate, move to the next 2 teeth and repeat until you do the whole mouth. I activate the water jet twice for every space from the lip side and once from the tongue side (lingual). sonicare does not recommend this because they are afraid that you might over do it and damage your gums. I dont advocate it either so do at your own risk. I just dont feel one pump will remove everything. Now this is a problem for me because I find I have to fill up the reservoir 2 or 3 times to do the whole mouth.
Many people complain that it makes a mess, but with time it will become easy, just keep your mouth closed.
Who is it and is it not for:
If you use floss and do it regularly then this is not for you. what you are doing is way better habit.
If you have tight contacts, you know because when you eat meat nothing sticks between your teeth, this is not for you.
Now if you have wide contacts, and you know because you cant eat a taco without reaching for anything to clean between your teeth, then this is for you.
If you tried flossing and you really cant get yourself to do it no matter what, then this is for you and way better than nothing.
If your gums bleed every time you brush or floss then pushing some of that mouthwash in there might actually help by reducing the number of bacteria and the food available for it to grow.
When you go to your dentist and get a deep cleaning, the dentist uses a sonic instrument to disrupt the plaque and to break it down. This is ultimately what you need if your gums bleed. once the plaque is gone and you floss/brush/air floss, the formation of plaque is inhibited and your gums live happy, bacteria free.
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on August 11, 2011
Package Type: Standard Packaging|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The product literature claims that this product "Removes 99% more plaque biofilm between teeth than brushing with manual toothbrush alone" and "Gently and effectively helps improve interproximal gum health in just two weeks". While those may well be true, they don't mention how much better or worse it is when compared to flossing, so I decided to try it myself. After getting used to the Airfloss for a week such that I was no longer causing water to spray all over the mirror and counter top; I brushed my teeth, used the Airfloss and then flossed afterwards. The result was the floss still removed a significant amount of food particles. I'm guessing the majority of it came from between the teeth as opposed to between the teeth and gums.

Admittedly, I've been told by my dentist that I have "tight contact" between my molars so your experience may be different. However, I tried this experiment on several different occasions after having had a variety of meals throughout the day (meats, vegetables, popcorn, etc.) and on every occasion the Airfloss just didn't seem to do a complete job.

With all types of floss and flossers out there that make it easy to reach the back teeth, get around braces and other dental hardware e.g. Gum Soft Picks I don't see any reason to spend so much money on something that doesn't work as well.
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on August 4, 2012
I bought Airfloss at Target since day one it was released. The first one lasted about 2 months then I could not power it on. Philips sent a new one. The second one last another 2 months but still, exactly the same problem I had before: I could not power it on. Philips sent the second one to me. This one last little longer, and, after about 4 months, I could not power it on again.

This time I am little bit suspicious why Airfloss has such a high failure rate. I took it apart and found there's large amount of water inside and water damages on PCB, metal frame and the motor. The water was from piston and nozzle receptor, where high pressure water passing through.

I don't think I need another replacement from Philips, through they are very friendly and willing to help.

Also, the water pressure from Airfloss is noticeably higher than those on the market. It will be very unsafe if it is not properly used: gum and dental damage may occur. I doubt if Philips have ever done any clinical trial about the side effect of long term usage.

I recommend Philips seriously considering a re-design.
review image
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on October 1, 2012
I've used this product now for just over six months and its great. I do not have great teeth I'm cavity and plaque prone and haven't gotten a truly positive review from a dental hygienist in my adult life. Part of that is almost certainly my fault I brush well, but can't bring myself to floss regularly.

I blame large hands, a small mouth, sensitive gums, pretty much whatever I can to get the hygienist to stop berating me for my gums that bleed when you he or she pokes them with a metal hook..but I digress.

I tried this product after reading a study on PubMed (scientific publication site) that saw evidence that oral irrigation was nearly as good as flossing for gum health. I didn't want a large oral irrigator sitting on the bathroom sink and this seemed to fit. Not only does it lack the giant water tank that many water flossers have, but its beautiful. If apple got into the business of sonic flossers this is what they would make.

It uses the same base as my sonicare toothbrush which is great because I can limit cords around the sink.
It's quick I can get through my entire mouth in under a minute (compared to 3+ uncomfortable minutes of flossing)
It's painless (never had any bleeding gums or really any discomfort)
Its easy (although you I did occasionally experience a misfire, with the tank size enough for two trips around my mouth, theres always enough mouthwash or water to take another shot)
AND THE HYGENIEST DIDN'T EVEN ASK, SHE TOLD ME I MUST BE FLOSSING. Her surprise was worth the purchase price hands down. She just told me to keep doing what I'm doing.

If you hate flossing, but want to take better care of yourself this might just be for you.
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on August 19, 2011
I am editing this review after having had the product and used it regularly for over 3 years. I am leaving my original review below as it was originally written because it talks about how the product performed for a novice user, versus how I expected it to perform based on product description. All of my comments in the original review are still accurate. I have edited this review to upgrade it from 3 to 5 stars, because despite a few issues that didn't perform quite as well as originally expected, it definitely gets the job done. I have to spray the nozzle anywhere from 1 to 4 times between each tooth, depending on how tight the gaps between those particular teeth are. I have to refill the reservoir once half way through, which isn't too inconvenient. After adjusting the number of sprays for my particular teeth, I find that the AirFloss works very, very well. As someone who rarely flossed, I still, after 3 years, regularly use the Airfloss --- although perhaps not always daily. I whole-heartedly recommend this product to anyone. Replacement nozzles can be a little tough to find in stores, but they can be ordered on Amazon pretty readily.

Here is my orginal review from 2011:

I love my sonicare toothbrush and was very excited to see this product. I have very good teeth in general, but always get flack from my dentist about not flossing. I brush with my sonicare twice a day but I am a very sporadic flosser at best (1-3 times/month max.). I know I should floss, but just find it to be such a hassle.

I've been using the Airfloss for a week now --- typically twice a day. Here are my thoughts thus far:

1. The directions indicate to give it one shot between each tooth. This was not effective for me. I follwed it with floss and the floss removed a LOT of particles left behind by the airflosser. However, if I spray it 3 times between each tooth, it actually does a pretty good job of getting out most of the food particles. Its still not 100%, but it is very good and much better for me than not flossing at all. The downside is that you definitely will have to refill the reservoir at least once when using. I have pretty tight gaps between my teeth which likely has some effect on the performance.

2. In general it is very user friendly, however it will take a little getting used to to get the head lined up between the teeth. If its lined up right, you can feel the burst come between the teeth and hit your tounge. If its not quite right you can get a little splash or if its completely blocked it doesn't spray at all. I'm getting the swing of it. If you don't get the spray right, it doesn't clean well.

3. It's not quite as neat as I would have liked. I get a bit of dribble, but no where near the mess of a waterpik.

4. Works well with both mouth rinse and water. Whether shooting the stuff between your teeth has more benefit than just rinsing your mouth when done, I don't know.

Overall, I like it. I will continue using it. After 1 week I see a difference in my teeth. They look and feel much cleaner. I see huge potential benefits for people who do not floss or are sporadic flossers like me. If you are a habitual flosser now, you are probably already getting a better cleaning than this gadget will give you.

I'm giving it 3 stars because I think it performed well, but not as well as advertised.

I add another review after I've been using it a while longer. My next Dentist cleaning is still about 4 months off, so that will be a good test to see how my cleaning goes after using it for a while. I'll be sure to report back.
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on April 11, 2012
I used my airfloss for a few weeks before it stopped working. It would turn on but immediately turn off when I tried to use it. I swapped out the charger as a test but this made no difference. The green charge light still indicated a full charge to no avail. Called Philips. Eventually got to a human after an afternoon of persistence. Described my issue and was told a new unit would be shipped out. This never arrived. My guess is they hope the idea of spending additional hours fighting my way to a human will not be worth the effort. Also, the product itself kind of sucks even when it was working.
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on September 23, 2011
I fill mine with vodka. That way, you kill two birds with one stone. Plus, it encourages frequent Airflossing, and my gums have never felt so clean. I also seem to be a lot happier these days.
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on March 16, 2012
On the recommendation of my hygienist I received my new Phillips AirFlosser from Amazon & about 2 weeks later went for a Dental Prophylaxis.There was a significant reduction in bleeding points Compared to my previous visit and several places where I had 3-4-5 mm pockets had already shrunk by 1 or 2 mm.
I would rate this Phillips product to be one of the more useful periodontal aids in a long time.
Alan Arbee
Retired Prosthodontist
Graduate of Western Reserve School of Dental Medicine
& Tufts University Graduate (2 year) Prosthodontics
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on September 17, 2011
I own a Philips Sonicare toothbrush and loved it so much that this purchase was a no brainer for me. UNFORTUNATELY the airfloss absolutely sucks. This product does not even come close to removing plaque from between the teeth nor does it leave you with a fresh clean feeling between your teeth. The first 3 taps to send a "burst" through your teeth do not even work and the small compartment for water or mouthwash runs out before you use it on all your spaces. I am literally packing it up as I speak and going to return it at Bed, Bath, and Beyond. I sincerely hope this review saved somebody the time and disappointment that I have experienced with this inferior, overly hyped, piece of plastic.

Side note 1: Flossing is a pain in the arse, but it is much better than someone drilling your face when you have cavities!

Side note 2: Philips Sonicare "Clean and White" TOOTHBRUSH is awesome and totally worth the purchase!!!!
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on April 16, 2012
I purchased this product on March 4 and received it quickly from Amazon. It looked cool and I was excited to try it, so I read the instructions, charged it, tried it out, and discovered that the product only had about 3 good "pops" in it before it shut down and it would not hold a charge (and by the way, the wind-up and subsequent pops of air are really loud and a little alarming). I tried different chargers (we have sonicare toothbrushes), but nothing worked.

So, after 3 days of trying different things to get it to charge, I called Philips as directed by the literature included in the packaging. We went through the standard "are you too dumb to read instructions or does your product really not work" questionnaires, and after satisfying them that my product was a lemon, I was apologized to, assured that I'd have my new product within a week, and all was well. These things happen.

A week later, instead of receiving my airfloss, I began to receive "backorder notifications" from some third party shipping company. I have received one every 10 days to 2 weeks since then with the shipping date moving ever forward in time, with the latest showing that the product will ship almost 8 weeks from the date when I first called. I assume it would be delivered via TARDIS at some distant point in the future if I chose to wait for it. Of course the Amazon return deadline had passed by now, so I had to deal with Philips again.

I called the number included with my backorder notifications, which turned out to be a shipping company who, after a lengthy hold time, was, of course, powerless to help. They directed me to Philips, and when I called the number the shipping company provided, it turned out to be Philips Norelco who were... of course... powerless to help. Philips Norelco transferred me to Sonicare who were... wait for it... powerless to help! The product is so popular, it's just not in stock, blah blah blah.

As much as I would like to meet a Time Lord, since the product IS, in fact, in stock at stores throughout the country and at Amazon, I decided to ask for a refund instead, so I can purchase a new one on my own and have it in 2 days. This Philips was happy to do, however it will take 6 to 10 weeks before I will receive my refund, and I have to return the product at my own expense, apparently. I think that they expected me to be put off by the time frame on refunds, but frankly, I think my money is more likely to be "in stock" at the end of 6 to 10 weeks than this product is.

By now, I am so disgusted with Philips that I will happily take my refund whenever it comes and will order a Waterpik instead. Who knows, by the time this business is concluded, dental nanobots may be available over the counter to clean off that pesky biofilm above the gum line and the whole issue will be moot. Here's hoping.

If you do decide to purchase this product, RETURN THROUGH AMAZON at the first sign of trouble. Do NOT go through Philips. Your gums will thank you.
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