Beware of cheap imitations

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  Posted by: Dental Design      28th June 2024

The internet is a boon for many patients for both convenience, and price and quality comparison. Many legitimate and effective dental hygiene products can be purchased and delivered with ease. However, buying a cheap imitation product from an online outlet can be a disappointing experience at best, and at worst, dangerous.

Fraudulent advertising via social media platforms has become an increasing problem for consumers. A recent investigation by the TSB retail banking chain found that 34% of listings on social media were scams, and calculated that buyers were losing over £160,000 per day on fake purchases.[i]

In addition, online marketplaces, are not currently required by law to regulate the quality or to check the safety of products sold on their sites. Many electrical goods sold through these outlets are manufactured overseas, where they will not have been safety tested to UK standards and are often produced as quickly and cheaply as possible.[ii]

According to government statistics, approximately 24% of accidental dwelling fires in England between 1 April 2010 and 31 March 2023 were caused by faulty appliances and leads.[iii] The London Fire Brigade estimates that on average these are the cause of one fire a day in the capital.[iv] It is further estimated that one in 10 people in the UK have had first-hand experience of electrical fire or shock due to an electrical product they’ve bought online.[v]

CE or UKCA marks to verify electrical safety are an indication of legitimacy. Products sold in Great Britain may display:

CE marking, or

UKCA marking, or

UKCA marking and CE marking, or

UKNI marking and CE marking

Products sold in Northern Ireland may display:

  • CE marking, or
  • UKNI marking and CE marking.[vi]

However, these markings can be copied, and even reviews can’t be trusted. Some sites cross-reference user reviews with their buyer database and label those people as ‘verified purchasers’. It is important for patients to exercise caution to avoid inadvertently buying a substandard or counterfeit electrical appliance and that the retailer is legitimately selling a trusted brand.[vii]

Avoiding risks as well as disappointment

Founded in 1962, Waterpik® is the leading manufacturer of a safe, affordable and high-quality Water Flosser. The company has a rich history of innovation and design, engineering a range of products to deliver the wellness benefits of water. From the professional grade Whitening Flosser, to the comprehensive and convenient Cordless Water Flosser, Waterpik® has been a trusted name in dentistry for decades.

Waterpik® has exceeded the standards of most home care products to provide evidence to ensure consumers are protected. The Oral Health Foundation has awarded Waterpik® with the highly prestigious accolade of accreditation, based on independently verified research. The Waterpik® Water Flosser has been evaluated in 75 scientific studies to date, and its safety and efficacy is backed by a strong body of research. The Waterpik®Water Flosser is clinically proven to be:

  • Up to 50% more effective than traditional dental floss[viii]
  • Proven to remove up to 99.9% of plaque from treated areas with a 3-second application[ix]
  • Up to 3 times as effective for removing plaque around braces vs. string floss using the Orthodontic Tip[x]
  • Up to twice as effective for improving gum health around implants vs. string floss using the Plaque Seeker™ Tip.[xi]

When recommending any product to a patient, clinicians should advise them to exercise extreme caution when buying online. While the internet has enabled patients to make convenient purchases, buying an imitation product from an online marketplace risks their safety as well as disappointment.



For more information on Waterpik® Water Flosser products visit Waterpik® products are available from Amazon, Costco UK, Argos, Boots, Superdrug and Tesco online and in stores across the UK and Ireland.

Join the 3,000+ dental teams who have already benefitted from a professional Waterpik® Lunch & Learn. Book your free session for 1 hour of verifiable CPD and a free Waterpik® Water Flosser – available either face to face or as a webinar – at

[i] More than a third of Facebook Marketplace ads could be scams – with customers losing up to £60m in 2023, study finds. Sky News. January 2024. Available at: Accessed April 2024.

[ii] Don’t be Electricked. January 2024. Available at: Accessed April 2024

[iii] Statistical data set. Fire statistics data tables. Available at: Accessed April 2024

[iv] The importation of faulty electrical goods. Research Briefing. March 2016. Available at: Accessed April 2024.

[v] Don’t be Electricked. January 2024. Available at: Accessed April 2024

[vi] Consumer products: staying safe. March 2024. Available at: Accessed April 2024.

[vii] Don’t be Electricked. January 2024. Available at: Accessed April 2024

[viii] Rosema NAM et al. The effect of different interdental cleaning devices on gingival bleeding. J Int Acad Periodontol 2011; 13(1):2-10.

[ix] Gorur A, Lyle DM, Schaudinn C, Costerton JW. Biofilm Removal with a Dental Water Jet. Compend Contin Ed Dent 2009; 30 (Suppl 1):1 – 6.

[x] Sharma NC, Lyle DM, Qaqish JG, et al. The Effect of a Dental Water Jet with Orthodontic Tip on Plaque and Bleeding in Adolescent Orthodontic Patients with Fixed Appliances Am J Ortho Dentofacial Orthop 2008; 133(4):565-571. Study conducted at BioSci Research Canada, Ltd., Mississauga, Ontario, Canada.

[xi] Magnuson B, Harsono M, Stark PC, et al. Comparison of the Effect of Two Interdental Cleaning Devices Around Implants on the Reduction of Bleeding: a 30-day Randomized Clinical Trial. Compend of Contin Ed in Dent 2013; 34(Special Issue 8):2-7. Study conducted at Tufts University, School of Dental Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts.

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