What Electric Toothbrush is Right For You?

Are you trying to decide on an electric toothbrush, but confused about which one best fits your needs? The world of electric toothbrushes is big. Electric toothbrushes come in many different brands, price ranges, styles, and colors. This article answers common questions and helps you discover which electric toothbrush is right for you.

Key takeaways:
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    Electric toothbrushes can remove more plaque and bacteria in 2 minutes than a manual toothbrush.
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    Electric toothbrushes are beneficial for all ages, including children.
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    Electric toothbrushes can reduce the risk of cavities and gum disease.
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    An electric toothbrush is relatively easy to use and does the work for you.
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    The more you are willing to pay, the more benefits you will get when purchasing an electric toothbrush.

Why use an electric toothbrush?

Good oral care is essential in maintaining a healthy smile. Brushing your teeth for 2 full minutes 2 to 3 times a day and flossing your teeth once every day is vital to reducing dental problems. Leaving food and bacteria on your teeth increases the risk of cavities, periodontal diseases, and tooth loss. Electric toothbrushes have been clinically proven superior to manual toothbrushes in many ways. Here are a few ways the electric toothbrush outperforms a manual toothbrush.

Better at plaque removal

Electric toothbrushes provide 2 movements that help in removing more plaque in 2 minutes than a manual toothbrush. The head of an electric toothbrush usually moves while you continue to move the brush in the same motion you would a manual toothbrush.

Built-in timer

Electric toothbrushes have a timer built in for 2 minutes. This helps make sure you are brushing for the right amount of time. Some electric toothbrushes even break up the 2 minutes into 30-second increments. This helps break the mouth into 4 sections and ensures you spend enough time in all areas.

Easy to use

Electric toothbrushes use the same motion you are already using with your manual toothbrush. Therefore, the electric toothbrush does the extra work.

Helpful for people with limited mobility

Electric toothbrushes usually have a larger handle than manual toothbrushes. This can be very beneficial for patients who have arthritis, carpal tunnel, decreased ability to grasp objects, or developmental disabilities.

Great for braces

Orthodontic braces make brushing a little more difficult with all the extra appliances on the teeth. The electric toothbrush can access around brackets better and make cleaning easier.

Great for all ages

Electric toothbrushes can benefit people no matter their age, but they are especially useful for kids. Kids tend to not have a lot of interest in brushing. Electric toothbrushes are fun and provide more excitement than a manual toothbrush, making it more interesting for kids.

What to consider when buying

As you may have already seen, there are so many electric toothbrushes on the market today. With each one claiming to be the best, it truly is hard to know what you should be looking for. Here are a few things to consider that may save you money in the long run.

Battery operated

Electric toothbrushes require some type of battery to operate. Different battery options are commonly used in electric toothbrushes: AA, AAA, C, D, 9V, or rechargeable battery packs. While toothbrushes with removable batteries usually cost less upfront, replacing batteries is more expensive in the long run. Battery packs can be charged hundreds of times before needing to be replaced. These toothbrushes usually come with a base for charging. This allows the battery to remain fully charged and ready for daily use. A toothbrush with a rechargeable battery pack will last longer and be more cost-efficient.

Replaceable heads

Some electric toothbrush options do not come with replaceable toothbrush heads. These toothbrushes are generally cheaper to buy and cheaper made. The idea is that once the toothbrush head needs to be replaced, you simply toss the whole toothbrush in the trash. This is not only wasteful, but it can be costly too. This type of toothbrush can range from $20–50. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends replacing your toothbrush or toothbrush head every 3 to 4 months. Therefore, the cost of buying these “disposable” toothbrushes can range between $80$200 a year. Be sure to look for an electric toothbrush with a replaceable head. The environment AND your wallet will thank you.

Timer

The ADA recommends brushing for 2 minutes 2 to 3 times a day. Electric toothbrushes with a built-in timer will alert you when you have reached that 2-minute mark. Some electric toothbrushes times even signal every 30 seconds. This allows you to separate the mouth into 4 areas and focus the proper time on each section. Timers can also be very helpful for kids who tend to rush through brushing their teeth.

Cleaning motion

Electric toothbrushes come in 2 different operating motions: sonic and oscillating. Some toothbrushes may use a combination of the two motions. Sonic-style toothbrushes can move between 20,00050,000 movements per minute; oscillating toothbrushes usually move up to 40,000 movements per minute. Sonic toothbrushes use vibration and high-speed motion to remove plaque and debris. Oscillating brushes typically use a back-and-forth motion. While both types of toothbrushes can remove more plaque than manual toothbrushes, sonic-style brushes have more power. Therefore, a sonic toothbrush would be the better choice for a more thorough cleaning.

Price

Electric toothbrushes can vary in price depending on the features. While some electric toothbrushes can cost as low as $20, they may be more expensive over time when you consider how often you replace them or with battery replacement. Generally speaking, the bigger your price range, the more features you will get. But don’t forget to consider the cost of replacing toothbrush heads every 34 months when deciding your electric toothbrush budget.

The ADA seal

The ADA seal is a seal of approval from the American Dental Association. Many dental care products get awarded the ADA seal. This seal means the product has been tested for its toxicity, effectiveness, and safety. Each product must provide scientific evidence to prove its claims. The ADA seal can help in choosing a dental product. It assures you the product has been tested and passes for health, safety, and effectiveness.

Special features

Some electric toothbrushes have additional features to consider. These features include:

Brushing modes, some electric toothbrushes have multiple brushing modes like deep clean, sensitive mode, or vary between pulse and sonic.

Bluetooth, this option allows you to sync the toothbrush to an app on your phone and see your brushing stats. This may include feedback on brushing habits, brushing too hard, skipping areas, and how much time you are spending. This feature may change the way you brush.

Quadrant timers, this breaks your mouth into 4 areas and times each area individually.

Customize display colors, this allows you to personalize your toothbrush to your favorite color. This can make brushing more fun for kids too.

Music, this can go along with the timer. Some brushes play music to help with timing you.

Pressure sensors, this provides mechanical feedback to alert if you are brushing too hard. Some brushes will shut off, some beep and some may buzz differently.

How to use an electric toothbrush

The technique for using an electric toothbrush is not a lot different than a manual toothbrush.

  • Make sure your toothbrush is fully charged before you brush.
  • Apply a pea-size amount of toothpaste.
  • Use a light finger grasp and apply gentle pressure.
  • Move the brush along the cheek side and the tongue side of your teeth.
  • Brush for 2 full minutes.
  • Rinse and place the toothbrush onto the charging dock so it is ready for the next use.

Electric toothbrush for children

Brushing is a common battle between parents and kids. There are many benefits of getting an electric toothbrush for your child:

  • Brushing is easier with an electric toothbrush.
  • Makes brushing fun.
  • Timer helps kids brush longer.
  • Electric toothbrush removes more plaque in 2 minutes than a manual toothbrush.
  • More plaque removal can lower the risk of cavities.
  • Easier to hold for smaller hands.

Electric toothbrush comparison

Phillips Sonicare

Phillips-Sonicare-electric-toothbrush
ADA sealYes
BatteryRechargeable, charge can last up to 2 weeks
Cleaning motionSonic
Price range$25–$400
Replacement head cost$10–$15, a replacement head subscription is available
TimerVibrating timer
Special features availableCan have up to 5 different cleaning modes, Bluetooth connectivity, interactive app to give feedback and improve brushing

Oral-B

Oral-B Electric Toothbrush
ADA seal
Yes
Battery
Rechargeable, charge can last 5–7 days
Cleaning motionOscillating
Price range$20–$300
Replacement head costAround $10, head replacement subscription available
Special features availableHigher-priced models have additional features like multiple brushing modes, pressure sensors, Bluetooth connectivity, and a smartphone app available to provide feedback and improve brushing effectiveness

Quip

Quip electric tooth brushes
ADA sealYes
BatteryAAA batteries; may need to be replaced every 2 months
Cleaning motionSonic pulses
Price range$25–$50
Replacement head cost$5 per head, can subscribe for recurring replacements. A subscription comes with one free battery with every head purchase
Timer30 seconds pulses to remind you to change quadrants
Special features availableReward app that you collect points for good brushing habits. Points can be redeemed for free goods or discounts on Quip products

SpinBrush

SpinBrush electronic toothbrush
ADA sealYes
Battery2 AA batteries
Cleaning motionOscillating motion
Price range$5–$20
Replacement head cost$10 for 2 pack

Burst

Burst sonic toothbrush
ADA sealNo
BatteryRechargeable, lasts up to 4 weeks.
Cleaning motionSonic
Price range$40–$100
Replacement head cost$6–$7 each, requires a 3-month subscription.
Timer30-second timer that signals you to change quadrants.
Special features availableCharcoal-infused bristles, 3 cleaning modes: whitening, sensitive, and massage; monthly subscription offers add-on items like white strips, toothpaste, floss, and other dental products.

There are many things to consider when choosing an electric toothbrush. And with so many options available, it gets very confusing. Our goal is to provide you with the right information so you will know what to consider when making your decision. An electric toothbrush is a wonderful addition to a proper oral care routine and will help keep your smile happy!


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