The 10 Best Electric Toothbrushes
10. ToiletTree Poseidon
9. Oral-B Pro 5000
8. Panasonic Sonic Vibration
7. Philips Sonicare Flexcare
6. Philips Sonicare Essence
5. Oral-B Pro 7000
4. Oral-B Pro 1000
3. Waterpik Complete Care
2. Philips Sonicare 2 Series
1. Oral-B Genius Pro 8000
How An Electric Toothbrush Saved A Boy With A Bad Mouth
Time for a testimonial: As a child, I didn’t have particularly good oral hygiene.
This may not surprise you as most kids don't, and getting cavities is par for the course. Today's fast-paced, sugar-fueled marketplace seems to just exacerbate the problem, too. I’m not just talking about a couple of cavities here, though. When I started high school, I fell into this pleasant habit of lining my cheeks with York Peppermint Patties and just letting them dissolve; I never chewed them. So, when I went to the dentist after a few months of this behavior, I had a whopping 14 cavities.
That was the bad news. The good news was that the subsequent months of drilling and filling (they could only do a few teeth at a time with the anesthesia of the day, so the process drew out over about six months) made it impossible for me to consume sugary snacks or sodas. Because of this, I wound up dropping about 30 lbs. that I definitely needed to drop.
Unfortunately, the experience didn’t break my sugar habit,. I was back on the stuff as soon as I could be, though it was tempered some by a desire to maintain the new slimness I’d discovered. Even after the trauma of regular drilling and filling, I still wound up with cavities at a rate of about one every six months.
Eventually I received my first electric toothbrush as a gift from my mom. She said that she couldn't stand me going through the torture of constant dentist visits, but I secretly suspect the real reason was that she was tired of paying for them. Either way, it was a godsend. The old Sonicare model I was given prevented me from getting another cavity for nearly eight years. One day I accidentally left it in a hotel room at Niagara Falls, and being the typical broke 20-something-year-old, I chose not to replace it. I figured a regular toothbrush would do. Wouldn't you know it, but I had a brand new cavity within the year, even without acting on my Peppermint Patty proclivity. It seems I was prone to them.
The electric toothbrush was able to cure me of this problem primarily because the vibrations of the unit totaled out to over 30,000 brush strokes per minute, a feat that I could never quite replicate with my manual brush. Brushes that move this quickly fall into the sonic category, where lesser electric toothbrushes simply move at up to 12,000 strokes per minute. It’s pretty simple how they achieve this. It’s a plain old motor and battery, but the vibrations of the motor are harnessed in the handle and transferred to the brush head, allowing it to vibrate in an extremely small pattern compared to the circular, slower bristle rotation of other electric tooth brushes.
Functions To Look For In An Electric Toothbrush
There is no doubt that using an electric toothbrush is an easier, more efficient way to ensure a total cleaning of your teeth each and every day. In addition to a rotating, pulsating, or oscillating brush head, many manufacturers pack their models with additional features that make cleaning your teeth a simple, yet effective process.
A brushing timer is great for those people who tend to rush through their nightly routine. Most dentists recommend spending a minimum of two minutes brushing, with at least 30 seconds dedicated to each section. Brushing timers will alert you when the full two minutes are up, so that you know when it is time to stop. Some even allow you to set your preferred amount of time. Even if you don't rush through your routine and do actually spend the full two minutes brushing, it is quite common to focus more on one or two particular sections, like the front, and neglect the teeth deeper in your mouth. Taking things one step further, some models have a quadrant timer. These models will give you alerts when it is time to change the area you are brushing.
Another nifty feature is a pressure sensor. It may seem counter intuitive, but brushing too hard can actually do more harm than good. It can cause tooth sensitivity and receding gum lines. Models with a pressure sensor can detect when you are brushing too hard and will either alert you or reduce their power to compensate.
In addition to brushing with the correct pressure and for the required amount of time, it is also vital to replace your brush periodically. Over time, bristles can become worn out, frayed, and too soft, which results in a less thorough cleaning. Of course, it can be easy to forget exactly how long you have had a particular brush head and overlook its current condition. For this reason, some models feature maintenance reminders that let you know when it is time to replace your brush head.
The above are the most important features to look for in an electric toothbrush, but if you want to go with a true luxury model, you can pick one that also offers massage, tooth-polishing whitening, sensitive cleaning, deep cleaning, and tongue cleaning modes.
From Bark To Bristle: A Brush's Evolution
While the toothbrush itself dates back some 7000 years to the use of what’s called a Miswak stick, the electric toothbrush has a decidedly shorter history. After all, electricity’s only been around for so long.
The first of these electric toothbrushes came about in the 50s, from a dude in Switzerland with one of the best names in recorded history: Dr. Philippe Guy Woog. He conceived of the thing as an aid to patients with limited motor function, that they too might have access to better oral care.
Before 1960, it made its way to the US, and within a few years GE had an electric toothbrush of their own.
All five of our top brushes actually fall into the sonic category, implying that their vibrations far outperform the frequency of standard electric toothbrushes, but still fall into the range of human hearing. These came around in the 90s, and have been the primary drivers of electric toothbrush popularity since.