Does a Waterpik Remove Tartar?

Waterpik is a trade name for a water-flossing product that directs a concentrated flow of water into the mouth. The Waterpik has been clinically demonstrated to be as or more effective than string floss at cleaning teeth. Tartar is the hardened buildup of plaque on teeth that generally requires dentist intervention for removal. The Waterpik removes loosened tartar and large amounts of dental plaque, preventing the establishment of dental tartar 1.

Waterpik Design

A countertop unit consisting of a water reservoir and hand held flossing tool, the Waterpik is known for portability and versatile use. Interchangeable, pointed heads are available for sanitary use by multiple members of a household. The Waterpik unit is designed to accommodate various dental issues by providing multiple power levels and spray direction.

Uses of Waterpik

The Waterpik unit is used to irrigate the mouth and as a water flosser, removing plaque and debris from the mouth 1. Plaque is the colorless substance that builds up on teeth. It is also referred to as "biofilm." The Waterpik spray removes plaque that would otherwise harden into tartar. Studies have demonstrated that, with three-second use, the Waterpik removes 99.9 percent of biofilm from teeth.


Tartar forms on teeth after plaque and biofilm harden and combine with minerals. Tartar is often brown or yellow in nature and requires professional removal. A Waterpik cannot remove adhered tartar or that below the gum line 1. It will remove loosened tartar that has been abraded from teeth.

Removal of Tartar

A dentist or dental hygienist removes tartar through the use of specialized tools known as scalers or ultrasonic scalers. These tools are able to pry tartar from the tooth surface and remove strongly adhered mineral deposits.