1 – A manual toothbrush or Electric toothbrush?
Scientific research has shown that an electric toothbrush is better than a manual toothbrush. With an electric toothbrush, you remove plaque better and your gums stay healthier.
This is not only for a technical reason: if you clean your teeth properly and above all for a long time, you can also get your teeth clean. But unfortunately, most people do not brush well or not long enough.
With the best electric toothbrush, the correct brushing movement has already been put into the device. You just have to place the toothbrush on your teeth. Almost all electric toothbrushes also have a timer. As a result, you can clean 2 minutes more quickly.
2 – How does the brush head move?
Electric toothbrushes make different movements. These movements often have complicated names, such as ‘rotating oscillating’ or ‘sonic’.
In practice, the choice is mainly between the two large providers of electric toothbrushes:
Oral-B: Makes small round brushes that move in-the-round (rotating) and up-and-down (oscillating).
Philips Sonicare: Looks more like a normal toothbrush and moves back and forth while it vibrates. That’s what they call the sonic movement.
Which movement is better? With all the movements you get excellent brushing results, and the best choice is in part also a matter of personal preference. In our test, we see no differences in the paste removal part. However, panel members find the Oral-B brush heads more comfortable and is slightly cheaper.
3 – What does the price say?
You can choose from as many as 100 different electric toothbrushes. They range in price from 10 dollars to a few hundred dollars.
Our test shows that a good toothbrush does not have to be expensive. Some (more expensive) toothbrushes are worth considering due to the (non-essential) extras such as more supplied brush heads, extra brushing stands, a smartphone app, a travel pouch or a stand on which you can place the brush heads. But with the very expensive brushes, the high price is harder to justify. As far as we are concerned, the variation in the range may also be a bit less.
4 – Extras and accessories
Electric toothbrushes have the following extras and accessories as an option:
Timer: A timer tells you when you have finished brushing your teeth or when it is time to brush another area. Recommended. Do you want to know more about the best electric toothbrushes with timer?
Cleaning modes: The simplest models only have a daily mode. More expensive toothbrushes also have settings such as sensitive, white, polish, gum care or thorough cleaning. The positions differ in intensity, type of movement and brushing time. We see in our tests that a thorough cleaning position does not always remove plaque better. But we do see that the battery runs out less quickly with such a position.
Cleaning pressure sensor: Some toothbrushes have a cleaning pressure sensor. This sensor gives a signal when you press too hard. Such a position can prevent damage to your gums.
Separate display or the mobile app: the display is in contact with the toothbrush and provides information about, for example, the brushing time and brushing pressure.
Travel pouch: a travel pouch is useful if you take the toothbrush with you when you travel. More luxurious variants can even be charged via the pouch. Do you want to know more about the best travel electric toothbrushes?
2nd holder: Sometimes electric toothbrushes are sold in a duo package with 2 holders. You can save a lot with that: sometimes the duo package is even cheaper than a package with 1 holder.
5 – Which brush head?
In addition to different holders, there are also many different brush heads. The brush heads differ among others in hardness, shape, and direction of the bristles. We test electric toothbrushes with different brush heads. We usually notice little difference, but we do see that soft ‘sensitive’ brushes, meant for sensitive gums, remove plaque the worst.
Buy brush heads separately
You can buy the same brush holder with all kinds of different brushes in the package. But you can also buy the brushes separately. Our advice: buy the cheapest version of the holder that you want, and purchase the brush heads separately.
Replace brush heads on time
On average, you replace the brush head after 10 – 12 weeks. But it has been scientifically established that the quality already decreases when the hairs bend past the base of the brush. The tips of the bristle hairs brush the teeth better than the sides.
Cheap or original brushes
Our German colleagues at Stiftung Warentest have the original brush heads compared to cheaper alternative brushes for a number of electric toothbrushes. This test showed that the original brushes brush better. Do you find this too expensive? Then try an alternative brush. Because they are often a lot cheaper.
6 – Which battery is the best?
Li-ion or Ni-MH battery
Electric toothbrushes have a battery. You can charge this by placing the brush on the charger. This can be a lithium-ion (Li-ion) or a nickel-metal hybrid (Ni-MH) battery. Li-ion batteries charge faster and have fewer disadvantages than Ni-MH batteries. Toothbrushes with a Li-ion battery are often more expensive. The type of battery is often stated on the bottom of the brush or on the packaging.
Operating time and loading time
The duration of the use of toothbrushes varies considerably. For example, one electric toothbrush can handle about 20 times 2 minutes and the other up to 80 times 2 minutes on one charge. Most toothbrushes do not charge very quickly. Few toothbrushes work 2 minutes after you have charged the empty battery for 5 minutes. But in practice, you will not be affected by this very much either.
The annual energy consumption is not much, but you save by not always putting the brush on the charger and removing the charger from the socket.
Unfortunately, none of the brush batteries (until now) can be replaced.
It doesn’t matter how many features a toothbrush has. It depends on which requirements you need one your electric toothbrush. So make a quick list with all the features you want on an electric toothbrush and make a decision based on that list. In the end, you will have all the requirements you want. For amazing teeth, you can also have a look at Mayo Clinic.
Dr Michael Jones is the proud founder of The Toothbrush Expert. He has been working as a dentist for 21 years now. Besides his work as a dentist, Michael wants to help people to find the right dental products. His goal is to provide everyone with honest expert reviews on all kinds of dental care products.