View all blog posts

Which Electric Toothbrush is Best?

December 12, 2017

One of the more common dental questions I receive from patients is, “Should I get an electric toothbrush, and which one is best?”

With the holiday gift shopping season in full swing, I thought this might be a good time to discuss the dental tooth brush.

Electric vs Manual

By electric toothbrush, I mean a mechanical brush where the brush head holding the bristles is moved in some fashion by an electric battery-powered motor.  A manual brush is bristles on a handle with no moving parts.

First, is an electric brush necessary?  The simple answer is no.  With proper technique, time, and effort, it is possible to do a very good job of cleaning your teeth with a decent manual brush.  By decent, I mean one with soft polished bristles that are in good condition, not worn or crushed or flared.

Researchers in study after study have found that people typically do a better job with an electric brush.  While using a manual brush can be effective, for most people an electric brush actually does a better job.

Which Electric Brush To Choose?

There are many different styles of electric brushes available.  Most of them use one of three different motions – a round brush that spins in one direction, a round brush that oscillates back and forth in a circular motion, or a more rectangular brush head that vibrates back and forth at a high frequency.

Most of the major manufacturers of the electric toothbrushes have sponsored studies which show that their brush is superior in some way.  Therefore, I can not state that research has shown any single brush to be superior.  However, after 30 years of working with patients, recommending a variety of brands and styles, and having tried many different brushes myself, I do have a strong opinion based upon personal experience and clinical observation.

It is my opinion that the Phillips Sonicare is the most effective, most beneficial, electric brush for most people.  This brush is very different than the others in that it uses high frequency vibrations to clean the teeth and break up the bacteria containing film forming on the teeth.  It takes patients a few days to get the hang of using this brush, and to get accustomed to the tingling vibration sensation. Many patients are amazed at how clean their teeth feel, and how well the gum tissue responds with the Sonicare brush.

Words of caution:

Phillips makes several different Sonicare brush models for different markets.  I recommend that you select either the Diamond model or the Series 3 model.  If you purchase an older, earlier model for less money, you may be disappointed or may have difficulty finding replacement brush heads.  The newer models also have a nicer, smaller brush head which seems to work better for patients than did the older larger brushes.

Sonicare brushes are available in our office, at on-line sites like Amazon, in large box stores like Walmart, Target, or large discount drug stores such as Rite-Aid and others.  Prices are usually around $90 – $120 dollars depending upon the model and the number of brush heads included.

So, if you are looking for cleaner teeth and healthier gums for yourself or a loved one, perhaps you want to add a Sonicare to your holiday shopping list!