Do you really need that expensive toothbrush?
The right toothbrush doesn't just leave you with a pearly white smile you're proud to show off in selfies -- it also means big things for your oral health.
But does finding the right toothbrush mean shelling out big bucks for a pricey electric model?
A toothbrush helps scrub away all the gross bacteria that causes problems for your teeth and gums. Plaque can lead to tooth decay and gingivitis, which is why getting rid of it is so important.
We spoke with our dental hygienist expert, Laura de Grassi, to get the lowdown on whether an expensive toothbrush really makes a difference in the overall state of your oral health. We've also put together a list of brush recommendations across a few price points, so you can have the pearliest whites no matter what your budget is.
The verdict? A high-quality electric toothbrush is worth it. Full stop. But if you have a limited budget (although your oral health is one area worth splurging on), any electric toothbrush is better than a manual for the most part. According to de Grassi, "I clean about 17,000 mouths a year and I can always spot the mouth of someone who uses a quality electric toothbrush."
However, it's important to be careful not to be too harsh on gums -- people using cheaper electric brushes tend to also use a scrubbing motion, which irritates the gums. XX said she also found cheaper options did a poor job vibrating out food and plaque stuck between teeth, meaning it's extra important to floss properly if you use a cheaper model.
"I personally use a Sonicare, and that's my go-to product to recommend to my patients," said de Grassi. "I get no compensation for that, but I use and recommend that product because I see the results and I know it works."
The toothbrush options our dental hygienist expert most recommends:
As mentioned above, a Philips Sonicare DiamondClean Electric Rechargeable Smart 9750 is pretty much the Rolls Royce of electric brushes. It pulses at 40,000 vibrations per minute and changes pulse frequency in some cleaning modes to effectively stimulate gums. This particular model also has sensors and a connected app that can help you perfect your brushing technique.
Oral-B also offers some of the best high-end electric toothbrush options, like the Oral-B 9600. This model offers 6 different cleaning modes based on your needs and a round head with ultra-thin bristles for scrubbing away plaque with ease. It also has a built-in pressure sensor to let you know when you're brushing too hard and a gum protection feature to keep you from irritating your gums.
What about affordable alternatives? Sonicare's entry-level brush, ProtectiveClean 4100, is an excellent option for those wanting to try out an electric model. It's gentle, so it won't irritate your gums, but it's still able to remove up to seven times more plaque than manual brushing. It has a built-in timer and a 14-day battery life to make for convenient brushing.
The Oral-B Vitality is an excellent starter brush from another top brand for anyone on a budget. Its head rotates from side to side and oscillates, so it effectively gets at hard-to-reach areas between your teeth. It also has a built-in timer, which counts down the recommended two minute brushing time. This brush is a pretty great value at $21.99 because it includes a replacement head.
Subscription toothbrush options: BURST is a subscription toothbrush similar to Quip, but this one is a bigger hit with our dental hygienist because it actually cleans more like an electric toothbrush. It features soft charcoal bristles that won't irritate your gums and a 2-minute timer -- plus, you can get replacement heads for just $6 each sent every three months. It doesn't offer as many movements per minute as Sonicare brushes and doesn't always clean between the teeth very well, but if you're a dedicated flosser, it can be a great brush.
If you're set on a Quip, just remember not to scrub when you use it, or you might irritate your gums. The brush is sleek, compact, and easy to travel with, but keep in mind that it only offers 15,000 movements per minute. High-end electric brushes, on the other hand, get up to 30,000 movements per minute, which makes Quip more like a souped-up manual toothbrush than a true electric model.
What about toothpaste? As de Grassi said, "Its main purpose is a vessel to get fluoride onto your teeth." So what's the deal with whitening and stain removing toothpastes? Turns out many companies have added abrasives to toothpaste that are supposed to whiten teeth, but they end up wearing enamel thin, especially if used with an electric brush.
She recommends Sensodyne to all her patients because it has very low particle size and therefore isn't harsh on the enamel. It also contains high amounts of fluoride, calcium, and nitrate which all help to plug up the teeth's pores -- therefore preventing stain and bacteria from getting into the teeth.
Jennifer Blair is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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