The Best Electric Toothbrush
The best electric toothbrush is gentle on your teeth and gums, easy to maneuver, and actually improves your brushing technique. But highly advertised features, like different brushing modes, don’t necessarily lead to healthier teeth and gums. So we consulted dentists and dental research to identify the most effective features available — brushing timers and pressure sensors — and then gathered 16 toothbrushes to test ourselves. We ended up with four models that actually encourage better brushing habits for a healthy smile.
A minimalist model with core features, like a two-minute timer, that actually improve your brushing technique. Testers liked that it wasn’t harsh on gums. ($40)
Oral-B Pro 1000 Electric Toothbrush
Another minimalist model that focuses on cleaning your teeth and improving basic technique. It’s a little loud, but gets the job done. ($30)
A feature-packed toothbrush that offers every tool imaginable for tracking your brushing habits. It’s expensive, but it’s the most advanced toothbrush on the market. ($165)
Sonicare For Kids Sonic Electric Toothbrush
This toothbrush made our three-year-old tester excited about brushing her teeth. It offers an interactive app and is big enough to grow into while still being maneuverable. ($40)
- November 14, 2017 - To keep up with new brands and changing technology, we've completely revamped our electric toothbrush review from 2015. This time around, we expanded our top picks from one to four to accommodate more budgets and levels of features. We also updated our methodology so that it's consistent with current research on oral hygiene, and sent 16 toothbrushes home with a team of testers to get real-life feedback. Ultimately, we replaced our original top pick, the Oral-B 7000, with the more-streamlined Philips Sonicare 2, which is $25 cheaper and includes all the key features recommended by dentists to actually improve your brushing technique. If you’re in the market for an electric toothbrush that includes a similarly robust set of features as the Oral-B 7000, we recommend the Philips DiamondClean, which our testers found easier to maneuver, and comes with an intuitive, informative app.
The Best Electric Toothbrush
The Philips Sonicare 2 Series is our top pick for offering an effective clean without feeling gimmicky. As a sonic toothbrush, its brushing head vibrates rapidly to help remove plaque. Our testers reported that this style caused the least amount of irritation to their gums when compared to oscillating models from brands like Oral-B. It has a two-minute timer, divided into four 30-second segments, to ensure you brush long enough to effectively clean your teeth and gums but not so long that you damage them. At $40, the Sonicare 2 is a solid investment in improving your dental health.
The Oral-B Pro 1000 Electric Toothbrush is also a great choice — it cleans just as well as the Sonicare 2 Series, but may be a little harsher for sensitive gums. As an oscillating model, it vibrates a bit slower than our top pick, which means the toothbrush will be less likely to tickle your teeth — a potentially uncomfortable sensation typical of sonic toothbrushes. The Oral-B also offers a built-in quad-pacer that breaks its two-minute timer into four 30 second intervals for even brushing throughout your mouth. At $30 the Oral-B 1000 is also incredibly affordable.
If you want an electric toothbrush with every top-of-the-line feature, the Sonicare DiamondClean Smart Sonic Electric Toothbrush is an excellent choice. The toothbrush uses a simple two-button interface and includes some technique-improving features, like a pressure sensor that lets you know when you’re brushing too hard. In addition, it also has a compatible app that displays a 3D model of teeth to help track your brushing progress in real-time. It even displays an alert if your brushing strokes are too wide — a common technique flaw. The greatest downside is the $165 price tag. But if you’re looking for the most advanced toothbrush on the market, the DiamondClean is for you.
We love the Sonicare For Kids Sonic Electric Toothbrush electric toothbrush for taking the fuss out of brushing sessions. With bright colors, stickers, and a compatible phone app, it helps kids stay engaged while they brush. It even managed to make our young tester excited to brush again the next morning. A one-minute timer that gradually increases to two minutes will help your young ones get used to longer brushing periods, and we appreciate that the interactive features mean the brush teaches, rather than forces, better brushing habits. Kids will eventually outgrow it, but for $40 you can lay the groundwork for a future of healthy smiles.
How We Found the Best Electric Toothbrush
The truth is, the dentists we spoke to all agreed that how you brush is more important than what you brush with. Proper brushing technique (and flossing) are essential for maintaining healthy teeth and gums. So it’s certainly possible to clean your teeth effectively with a manual toothbrush, and if you and your dentist are happy with these results, there’s probably no need to switch. But if your pearly whites have room to improve, an electric toothbrush’s oscillating or vibrating battery-powered bristles make it easier to maintain good technique to remove even more plaque.
Dr. Katia Friedman, dentist and owner of Friedman Dental Group, explained that, “When we brush by hand, we average about 300 strokes per minute, which isn’t bad. But electric toothbrushes can average up to 31,000 to 40,000 strokes per minute. One of the main benefits of the vibrations or oscillations is that it cleans your teeth more thoroughly — it eliminates plaque and bacteria better than a manual toothbrush due to the increased number of strokes that it provides.”
An electric toothbrush certainly sounds appealing, but amid all the noise of manufacturer promises, how do you know which features are actually worthwhile? We asked our dental experts what a good electric toothbrush should offer. They all agreed that first and foremost, it should encourage you to improve your brushing habits. That means the best should include features, like a two-minute timer (more on this later), that have an actual impact on your brushing technique as well as easy maneuverability for those hard to reach areas.
The biggest difference in brushes is motion: oscillating or sonic.
Electric toothbrushes come in two different styles — oscillating or sonic. There’s debate about which type offers a better clean for your teeth, but it turns out choosing a style largely depends on comfort and personal preference.
Oscillating toothbrushes have round heads that rotate back and forth and average 7,500-8,000 strokes per minute. They are less likely to cause the characteristic “teeth-tickling” sensation of sonic models, but are generally louder and can cause discomfort for those with sensitive gums.
Sonic toothbrushes have longer heads that resemble traditional toothbrushes and vibrate up to 40,000 strokes per minute. Dr. Glassman told us they also incorporate “fluid dynamics which is a secondary cleaning action that extends the brush’s reach.” Translation? A sonic toothbrush’s scrubbing can reach farther than its oscillating counterpart's (even if it does tickle a bit on the way).
So which is better at cleaning teeth? The truth is: they’re both great. Our experts had differing opinions, and there’s evidence for the superior effectiveness of both oscillating and sonic brushes. What our dentists all agreed on is that more research is needed for a definitive answer: Most academic studies to date have simply focused on the different results between manual and electric toothbrushes. At the end of the day, both oscillating and sonic brushes will work well as long as they’re paired with proper brushing technique. Dr. Ben Lawlor of Maine Cosmetic Dentistry told us, “If you’re using an electric toothbrush that stimulates the gum, you’re good.” So rather than trying to pick a side based on inconclusive research, we focused on finding toothbrushes from both styles that had our must-have features and were celebrated for comfort.
We pitted the big brands against some industry disrupters.
There are two brands that dominate the electric toothbrush market: Oral-B, known for its oscillating brushes, and Philips Sonicare, famous for sonic brushes. We scoured best-of lists from sites like Engadget and Dental Dorks, and consumer reviews on Amazon to find the most highly-rated toothbrushes from each brand. We made sure to include brushes spanning a wide range of features and price points. We also brought in their most popular options suitable for young children — colorful, easy-to-hold brushes that play songs. To see if some lesser-known brands could compete with the two industry giants, we also included top-rated toothbrushes from some aspiring industry disrupters, like Foreo, Greater Goods and Jim Ellis.
Some features can truly help you brush better — others probably won’t.
The more bells and whistles your toothbrush has, the more expensive it will be, so it’s important to think about what features you’ll actually use. Sure, gum massaging modes and phone apps sound appealing, but if you’re not going to use these features daily you shouldn’t have to pay for them. We asked our experts which features were essential for improving brushing technique and which might be useful but not necessary. They narrowed it down to the following options:
Two-minute timer: The single most recommended feature, a two-minute timer takes the guesswork out of your brushing sessions to ensure your teeth get enough time under the bristles. Brushing under the American Dental Association’s recommended two minutes can result in a less effective clean. Dr. Lawlor told us, “patients say they brush for three to five minutes, but when they brush in front of me it will be less than a minute.” Most electric toothbrushes now offer this reality-check timer as a standard feature, regardless of price.
Rechargeable battery: A rechargeable battery saves you the cost of replacing traditional batteries during an electric toothbrush's lifespan — at least 3 years. In addition, it decreases the risk of a dead toothbrush and the loss of electric brushing’s benefits. Most electric toothbrushes offer a rechargeable battery that lasts, on average, two weeks per charge.
Note: We did bring in one toothbrush without a rechargeable battery, the Quip (which does send replacement batteries). One of two top-rated subscription brushes (the other was the Goby) we brought in to see how these services, which send replacement heads every 3 months, measured up against traditional models. (Spoiler alert: We weren’t impressed).
Pressure Sensor: A pressure sensor will notify you if you are brushing too hard, which Dr. Glassman explained “can irritate the gums, causing soreness or bleeding. Over a long period of time, this kind of heavy brushing could cause conditions such as gum recession.” Highly recommended by our experts, a pressure sensor will buzz, flash a light, or even pause brushing to let you know you need to ease up a little. In theory, a pressure sensor is great for improving technique, but sometimes it can take an excessive amount of pressure to activate them. Since this isn’t a foolproof feature, we didn’t make it a dealbreaker, but we brought in several brushes with pressure sensors across different price points to see how this feature ranked with our testers.
Quad-pacer: A quad-pacer splits the two-minute brushing timer into four 30-second intervals. This allows you to focus on brushing one quadrant of your mouth at a time for an even brushing session. Most quad pacers will either use short pauses in vibration or produce a short series of pulses to notify you when it’s time to switch.
Brushing modes: Different brushing modes — like teeth whitening, gum massaging, and pro-cleaning — change the number of oscillations or vibrations per minute. However, we couldn’t find concrete evidence that these different modes were doing what they promised. In contrast, studies show that simply brushing for two minutes with proper technique, using effective toothpaste, and flossing will live up to the promise of better dental health.
High strokes per minute: Electric toothbrushes can move as rapidly as 40,000 strokes per minute. While higher stroke numbers can make an electric toothbrush more effective than a manual brush, Dr. Friedman explained “at some point, extra brushstrokes aren’t really adding any benefits. [Around] 8,000 brushstrokes is enough to achieve the maximum level of plaque removal.” In simple terms, higher numbers look nice, but moving from 8,000 (oscillating) to 31,000 or 40,000 (sonic) brushstrokes won’t really have an effect on your teeth and gums.
Apps: Bluetooth connectivity and compatible phone apps that track your brushing habits are becoming increasingly popular with high-end models. It’s a neat feature, but a basic two-minute timer also encourages better technique and speaking with your dentist is really the best way to get updates on your dental health. The one exception is with kids’ brushes — apps can be helpful for encouraging children to brush. In fact, some brushing apps were so fun that children wouldn’t stop playing (manufacturers had to update their apps to make the game unplayable between brushes).
After comparing consumer and expert reviews about everything from vibration comfort to sound level, we ended up with 16 highly-regarded models from a variety of brands to test for ourselves.
What We Tested
- Oral-B Pro 1000
- Oral-B Pro 5000
- Oral-B Genius Pro 8000
- Oral-B Stages Power Disney (for Kids)
- Foreo ISSA
- Greater Goods Balance
- Jim Ellis
- Sonicare 2 Series
- Sonicare DiamondClean
- Sonicare FlexCare
- Sonicare for Kids
- TAO Aura Clean
We tested the comfort and performance of our 16 toothbrushes.
We gathered a group of 8 testers and sent each of them home with two electric toothbrushes, asking them to brush and evaluate the following:
Design and features: We asked our testers to try the features of their toothbrushes to see which actually encouraged better brushing technique and which were all hype. For instance, the different brushing modes on the Jim Ellis seemed to differ mostly in sound. Our testers for other toothbrushes agreed that differences in brushing modes felt negligible and unnecessary. Some offered features that our testers found helpful, like how the Philips Sonicare 2 Series automatically shuts off after the two-minute timer to prevent over-brushing. Oral-B models will pulse to let you know your time is up, but they don’t turn off. Which means, if you miss the vibration, you can accidentally over-brush and damage your teeth and gums.
Comfort of the brush: We wanted to know how each brush felt on the teeth and gums. The best electric toothbrush will offer a soft clean for our teeth and gentle massage for our gums — the key components for a healthy smile. While widely popular online, our tester found the Oral-B 1000 to be a bit aggressive on the gums. Others, like the lesser known Brio, surprised us with a comfortable brushing session that didn’t dig into the gums while feeling just as fresh and clean as industry-leading models.
Ease of using the brush: We also asked our testers to rate how easy the toothbrushes were to maneuver. We wanted toothbrushes that would help us maintain proper technique — holding the brush at a 45 degree angle to the gums with short tooth-wide strokes. Some, like the Jim Ellis, made our tester’s hand tired and came with a circular handle that was “difficult to maneuver or twist around.” (Note: we were curious about this comment, so we ran some additional tests on handle comfort and found that slightly more square handles — pretty standard for most models — are actually much easier to handle). Our testers reported that others, like the Fairywell, were “lighter and a bit less rounded so it was easier to maneuver around and hold for the duration of cleaning.”
Our kids and subscription toothbrushes required special testing conditions.
Kids' toothbrushes: Our experts advised us to be realistic about how invested kids will be in dental care. Dr. Lawlor explained “kids aren’t going to be lasering in on technique and if you’re a busy parent, you may not have time to ensure they brush perfectly.” Our experts agreed that an electric toothbrush is a valuable tool because it can make up for the lack of brushing technique while kids learn to brush properly. Dr. Friedman explained that “an electric toothbrush is a great option due to the fact that young children don’t have the dexterity to brush with the right technique.” Beyond that, it’s simply about finding the toothbrush that encourages them to brush.
We sent our kids’ toothbrushes home with a parent and asked them to share which toothbrush was able to encourage their three-year-old to brush without any fuss. The Oral-B Stages Power came with songs that earned high marks for being fun and engaging, but kept starting and stopping which confused both our young tester and her parent. The Sonicare came with stickers that were a bit distracting, but the included phone app made our young tester excited to brush again in the morning — no small feat.
Subscription toothbrushes: The main draw of a subscription toothbrush is convenience. Rather than having to buy a new replacement head every 3 months — the recommended lifespan of a toothbrush head — a subscription service will simply send you one. We held our subscription toothbrushes to the same quality standards as our other adult toothbrushes. But given that they are subscription toothbrushes, we also compared the terms of service to see whether one was more worthwhile or cost effective than the other.
Overall, we preferred the Quip. You get the supplies you need to brush effectively (a replacement head and two tubes of toothpaste — a small travel-sized tube for two weeks and a larger one for three months), but we aren’t convinced a subscription is worth it yet. After all, subscription services like Brusher Club allow you to sign up for replacement heads for popular models, and you can always order a 3-monthly subscription for replacement heads from Amazon. Honestly, subscription services don’t actually offer anything we can’t find elsewhere.
Our Picks for the Best Electric Toothbrush
The Philips Sonicare 2 Series is our top pick for its minimalist design and comfortable cleaning power. It comes with one brushing mode, a two-minute timer, and a quad-pacer to guide you as you brush with 40,000 strokes per minute. At $40, it doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles, but we appreciated the simple design, because nothing felt unnecessary. Competitors like the Brio came with additional brushing modes, but our testers reported that the experience wasn’t much different and our experts reinforced that an electric toothbrush with the right technique will do more than any brushing mode can.
Our testing showed that sensitive modes will reduce the speeds of the toothbrush, which may make them more comfortable for those with sensitive teeth. But the Sonicare is also compatible with brush heads offering softer bristles specifically designed for sensitive teeth. In fact, unlike many others, Sonicare offers a variety of brush heads to help you find the perfect comfort level. In addition, replacing brushing heads feels seamless with the Sonicare — removing and placing a new head took very little effort. Competitors like the Foreo Issa had heads that took a large amount of force to remove — so much so that one of our testers actually rocketed the brushing head across the room.
Our only issue with the Sonicare 2 Series is that we wish it came with a pressure sensor. The most advanced Sonicare (the Sonicare DiamondClean) includes one that quickly activates as soon as too much pressure is applied. But the Sonicare 2 Series didn’t have a pressure sensor, and we couldn’t find any around its price point with an accurate pressure sensor either. For example, the Oral-B 1000 has one, but it required an unreasonable amount of pressure before alerting us — think trying to snap the toothbrush head off vs. an overly firm press. Pressure is important for technique, and we’re disappointed that an accurate pressure sensor isn’t considered a standard feature yet.
The Sonicare 2 Series isn’t without perks, though. When you first start using it, the Sonicare starts off with lower vibrations in order to ease you through the adjustment experience. Our tester appreciated this and told us “the fact that it gently eases into cleaning at full force over 14 sessions makes the experience feel more thoughtful.” We agree, and appreciate that the Sonicare focuses on getting you more comfortable with a proper brushing experience.
For those who have sensitive teeth, we recommend the Oral-B 1000. Unlike its sonic counterparts, the Oral-B 1000 provides around 8,000 strokes per minute, meaning you won’t feel as much of a tickling sensation on your teeth. This sensation can be very uncomfortable to some, which makes the Oral-B an excellent choice. The Oral-B 1000’s bare-bones approach to features allows you to just focus on improving your dental care. In addition to our must-have two-minute timer, this $30 pick simply offers a quad-pacer to ensure an even brush for all your teeth. We like this minimal approach, because it shifts your attention to what matters most: proper brushing technique. The Oral-B 1000 is also compatible with a variety of different brushing heads for your personal comfort needs.
Don’t forget your front teeth!One downside of the quad-pacer features, Dr. Lawlor explained, is that “people always miss the front teeth — they brush from left to right and forget to bring their brush across the front.” To get the most out of your quad-pacer, you’ll want to split your front teeth between quadrants.
There were a few things we didn’t like about it, though. First, it doesn’t switch off after two minutes — it simply pulses, meaning there’s a risk of missing the buzz and over-brushing. That said, if you like the chance to go over a tooth or two at the end of your clean, this may not bother you. It’s also pretty loud and, like oscillating brushes in general, can be harsh on the gums. One of our testers told us, “the Oral-B felt like a power tool while the Sonicare felt like a toothbrush.” The Oral-B also has a narrow handle which our small-handed tester didn’t mind, but if you have bigger hands or arthritis, you may find the larger handle of the Sonicare 2 Series easier to maneuver.
Aside from the differences between brushing heads and handles, choosing between the Oral-B 1000 and Sonicare 2 Series is more about the character of the toothbrushes rather than anything else. At the end of the day, they’ll both offer a great clean. While the Sonicare is a better fit for most people, if you have sensitive teeth the Oral-B 1000 is definitely the way to go.
Best Feature-Packed Toothbrush
For those who want a toothbrush that will do everything but your taxes, the Philips Sonicare DiamondClean is our top pick. With an accurate pressure sensor, an indicator for replacing the toothbrush head, and a compatible brushing app, the DiamondClean is an excellent option for those who want access to all of the possible features that can help with mastering technique.
At $165, the DiamondClean is our most expensive toothbrush. But we think it earns its hefty price tag. One of the benefits is the inclusion of a pressure sensor that actually activates without needing an unreasonable amount of pressure. Although we didn’t make pressure sensors a must-have (due to the variability in the technology), the feature came highly recommended from our experts and the DiamondClean’s sensor is top-of-the-line. When even slightly too much pressure is applied, the handle vibrates and a purple light flashes until you ease up. The closest competitor was the Oral-B 8000 which also came with an accurate pressure sensor and app compatibility. However, the core difference between the DiamondClean and Oral-B 8000 came down to usability. In short, the DiamondClean’s features were much easier to use.
That difference was especially true for the compatible apps — the Sonicare app was much more intuitive and the real-time feedback was better. For instance, the Sonicare app displays a 3D model of your teeth and the toothbrush will recognize whether you are angling your brush properly. If brushing properly, the teeth on the display will progressively get whiter. However, if you use poor technique the teeth on the display won’t change, and if you use too much movement or pressure, an alert will display on your phone. The Oral-B app isn’t bad, but our tester reported navigating the menus was more difficult. In addition, the position detection for brushing angle was less accurate than the Sonicare’s app — our tester eventually found themselves flailing the Oral-B 8000 around to find the right position. While apps and brushing modes aren’t essential, they will make a toothbrush expensive. If we are paying extra for features, we want them to be easy to use, and for that reason the DiamondClean takes the crown.
It’s important to note that the DiamondClean is a sonic model, which can tickle or be uncomfortable for sensitive teeth. If you have sensitive teeth, go for the Oral-B 8000 would be our recommendation, even though we didn't love its usability as much as the DiamondClean. (We actually prefer the rubber grip of the Oral-B 8000 over the smooth handle of the DiamondClean.) But the DiamondClean is definitely easier to hold and maneuver. In fact, our tester who found the DiamondClean ticklish reported that “actually for maneuverability the narrow head of the DiamondClean came in quite handy. It was easier to get around the back teeth than the bigger Oral-B head.”
Overall, the DiamondClean will give an effective clean and is compatible with a library of brushing heads. It’s an upgrade from the Sonicare 2 Series due to its added convenience of an effective pressure sensor and an app that displays your brushing progress for even easier brushing. It’ll cost an extra $125, but for feature-loving brushers the DiamondClean is a pick you won’t regret.
Best Kids' Toothbrush
The Sonicare for Kids is our top pick for this category because it both trains and encourages kids to brush properly. In addition, the handle is closer in size to adult models than the Oral-B Disney’s, which means it isn't too big now, and your kids won’t outgrow this $40 toothbrush too quickly. Instead, they’ll be able to improve their technique and become familiar with using a traditionally-sized electric toothbrush as they develop more dexterity.
Dr. Friedman told us that when it comes to very young children (ages 2 and younger), “parents will have to brush their teeth as they do not have the dexterity to use a toothbrush, whether it’s manual or electric. The right technique can only be learned once the child has great dexterity.” A three-year-old won’t have the greatest dexterity, but will have enough to start practicing with a toothbrush.
We realize that one minute of brushing time goes against the two-minute rule we set forth, but for kids’ toothbrushes, there’s good reason. The Sonicare’s gentle brushing mode starts off with a one minute timer which gradually increases to two minutes the more times your child brushes. So rather than suddenly asking kids to brush for two minutes, the toothbrush helps ease them into longer brushing sessions — an important feature when considering the call of Saturday morning cartoons. After all, a kids' toothbrush is most effective when it helps them build better brushing habits at an impressionable age. If you want to skip the gradual timer and start out at two minutes, you can. The Sonicare for Kids give parents the option to choose the approach that best helps their child learn to brush properly.
The main draw of an electric toothbrush for kids in a digital age is the ability to use a toothbrush with an app (read: game). The Sonicare app is our favorite because it actually pairs with the toothbrush. In contrast, the Oral-B app is simply a timer meaning kids can log brushing sessions even if they don’t have a toothbrush in hand. In addition, a parental pin code on the Sonicare allows you to access the parent’s dashboard where you can track the progress of your kids’ brushing and even set up additional rewards. For example, if they brush 10 days in a row, you can set a personalized reward. Our tester’s parent reported “the Oral-B was more engaging for her than the Sonicare — she looked at the app a lot more.” This may be because the Oral-B uses popular Disney characters and plays songs when it’s time to switch from the top teeth to the bottom.
Even so, the Sonicare is still engaging. The app comes with an interactive character named Sparkly and our tester’s parent “liked that it showed a teeth simulation my daughter could see while she brushed.” The Sonicare also managed to get our young tester excited about brushing her teeth the next morning. Her parent summed it up nicely: “I would recommend the Sonicare. It was just easier to use.”
The Greater Goods Balance ($40) brushes teeth just as effectively as our other models. The actual model itself is a pretty standard sonic toothbrush with a two-minute timer, a quad-pacer, and four brushing modes. So why do we mention it? The benefits of buying a Greater Goods Balance extend past healthy teeth and gums. A third of the profits from Balance toothbrushes goes to the organization Love146 which combats child-trafficking. For every electric toothbrush sold, the company also donates a manual toothbrush to a child who can’t afford dental care.
We couldn’t give Greater Goods our top spot because it doesn’t really do a better job than the Sonicare 2 Series. But those who choose the Greater Goods Balance can expect a comfortable sonic toothbrush while giving back to those in need. For us, that’s worth a mention.
Did you Know?
Everyone can take steps to improve technique.
At first glance, brushing your teeth can seem like a simple activity. After all, most of us do it at least once every day. But brushing your teeth actually requires a bit of skill. Fortunately, brushing with proper technique isn’t difficult to learn — it’s more about reminding yourself to do so. We gathered the most important techniques to keep in mind for a healthy smile.
- Angle your brush 45 degrees toward your gum line. Dr. Lawlor told us to “angle the brush down to the gum line just slightly to clean your gums and sweep plaque out.” A 45 degree angle is ideal.
- Brush in small circular or tooth-wide motions. Many people brush across their teeth in large sweeping motions. However, Dr. Glassman explained “you can improve your brushing technique by using a circular motion.” Our other experts agreed, with Dr. Friedman adding, “gently move the brush back and forth in short tooth-wide strokes.” Note: the DiamondClean will actually alert you when you move past tooth-wide strokes.
- Don’t forget any teeth. As strange as it sounds, our experts told us that people often forget to brush their front teeth. Dr. Friedman reminded us to aim for a complete brush and to “tilt the brush vertically and make several up-and-down strokes” for our front teeth.
- Brush for two minutes, and don’t use too much pressure. Brush lightly and for the recommended two minutes. Brushing for less time won’t remove plaque and brushing too hard or too much could damage your teeth or gums.
Use the right amount of toothpaste, and don’t rinse.
Ever wondered how much toothpaste you’re actually supposed to squeeze out? Our dentists explained that a pea-sized amount of toothpaste is all you need for a healthy brush and to prevent dental damage. But don’t rinse afterwards. Rinsing after brushing actually dilutes or washes away the fluoride from toothpaste that’s helping to prevent tooth decay. Instead of rinsing, dental experts recommend that you simply spit out any remaining toothpaste after brushing.
Soft bristles are best.
When it comes to finding the best toothbrush head, we learned that hard bristles is never the way to go. Dr. Ronald Rosenthal, a dentist with over 50 years of experience, explained “the softest bristles available are the best to use. You don’t need a hard bristle, you’re just going to tear up your gums.” All of our electric toothbrush models came with standard heads with soft bristles. But for those who are wondering about whether hard bristles will offer a better scrub, the answer is no.
As for the strange silicone bristles of the Foreo, Dr. Glassman revealed that “silicone is non-abrasive, which makes it impossible to put too much pressure on your teeth, thus preventing gum recession and sensitivity.” Our experts also explained that unlike standard nylon bristles, silicone is nonporous which leaves less room on the bristles for bacteria to grow. While this makes the Foreo sound perfect, Dr. Glassman warned us that “there is not a lot of literature or clinical studies on their effectiveness with removing bacteria” from teeth. Dr. Lawlor agreed and explained “the bristle size is too thick for the silicone at this point, it’ll be too bulky to slip under your gums. There’s hope for the future, but it’s important to not give up important designs.” For now, the regular bristles of our top picks are the most effective way to go.
Cleaning your toothbrush doesn’t require a cleaning station.
It’s a good idea to clean your toothbrush on a regular basis. Some models, like the TAO Aura Clean, come with cleaning stations that use UV light to clean your electric toothbrush. While these are convenient, they aren’t really necessary. Studies show that simply rinsing your toothbrush under hot water will do the job. In addition, experts suggest storing your toothbrush in an open-air holder — don’t cover your toothbrush head. For those who do want a deeper clean, soaking the toothbrush head in antibacterial mouthwash or peroxide will do the trick.