So my dentist suggested I get one of these Waterpik things. "It gets your gums cleaner than just brushing," said the dentist, "almost like a full cleaning here at the office."

"Okay," I said, because what else are you really going to say?

There was a little initial sticker shock when I saw the item on the shelf at the store. "$60?!" I exclaimed, there in the aisle at (sigh) Wal-Mart. "For that much... I might as well rent a pressure washer!"

Which turned out to be a presciently unfunny observation on my part, because upon opening and setting up our new Waterpik I discovered it to be:

A miniature pressure washer.

And a good one, too, especially if you're going by power-to-weight. The instructions say to fill the reservoir with water, insert the little nozzle into your mouth -- ON THE LOWEST SETTING, AT FIRST stresses the instruction booklet -- and, with your other hand, switch on the unit.

I can see why they tell you to put it in your mouth *before* you turn it on. Because what happens when you switch it on is that water comes streaming out of that little nozzle at near-supersonic speed.

It needs to, I suppose, to do its job of reducing gingivitis and removing bacteria "deep below the gumline," but sheesh, man, this thing packs a punch. I am not an expert on the Fujita scale of tornado intensity, nor do I understand the intricacies of atmospheric conditions, but I'd estimate the Waterpik Ultra's output velocity at 125, 135 mph baseline. If there were ever a Hurricane Pik, I'm telling you the "after" photos would look like a pile of kindling.

It slipped out of my mouth at one point during the trial run, and by the time I could correct the error I'd accidentally spritzed the faucet, the bathroom mirror, the medicine cabinet, a light fixture mounted at least four feet above sink level and probably portions of the ceiling. I'll have to check later for dampness in the upstairs flooring.

So of course, once I was finished providing "a unique combination of pressure and pulsation" to my gumline it was time to go outside for a little testing.

First things first: It did cross my mind that we have some squirt guns, and I did think it might be funny to compare stream distances between the two devices. What I hadn't accounted for was quite how *far* the Waterpik would actually shoot. Below you will see my calibrated testing apparatus for conducting this test.

Note that I chose the 25-footer over the more wieldy and practical 16-foot model. After personally experiencing the unyielding needle-like blast capacity of the Waterpik, I knew that using a substandard measuring tape would be like trying to block a solar flare with a drink umbrella.

I employed the standard Dullaghan scale of Waterpik intensity, which is a linear range indication from a nominally elevated platform, namely, my patio. You can see by the results below that the Waterpik Ultra achieved visible dampness in the 24- to 26-foot range, which is considerably further than the jawspan of any living human I'm aware of. Note the nice, tightly controlled spray as well.

Conclusion: this Waterpik is Ultra indeed, and is more than capable of pressure washing gums, teeth and quite possibly passing aircraft. As long as their cruising altitude is 25 feet or less.

For comparison's sake, I tested another water-propulsion device, the Storm Monsoon Force 3 aquazooka. This was discovered in the closet of the house when we bought it.

As you can see, the Monsoon Force 3 achieved a median range of only 23 feet or so, though the drops registered on the concrete testing surface are larger and more soak-worthy. Still, accuracy is a concern, as propulsion on the text example was achieved only by pumping the handle, and the impact spread reflects this willy-nilly technique.

For those of you wondering, yes, this was achieved with the Monsoon Force's Unlimitor reservoir filled to capacity.

So it seems that this round goes to the Waterpik. It's a well-earned victory, and the noble mini-appliance shall stand proudly at sinkside until another worthy competitor arrives.

And as for the food debris and other nefarious oral pollutants lurking in the shadows between molars and incisors... you've ben warned.

These results were with the dial on "4." And this thing goes to eleven.


Anonymous said...

That was a good laugh...and was this done in the absence of Penny?


Anonymous said...

Wow. Good one. Next time just stick you head into a fire hydrant, smile wide, and let er rip...


-T- said...

We had one of those when I was a kid. I HATED IT. Beware of pink and puffy gums resultant of water-needle prodding.

Anonymous said...

you have totally sold me on the waterpik (do you think the "c" was blasted into alphabet oblivion with the monsoon force of the waterpik? Whaddya figure that would take? About a 6, maybe?!) . Now I really really want one.

all the way to eleven!
xo wee