The 5 Most Popular Electric Toothbrushes
Electric toothbrushes are incredibly popular nowadays. They’re less expensive than ever before and come in an incredible variety of shapes, styles, colors with too many features to count.
But is an electric toothbrush right for you? Keep reading and I’ll tell you all about electric toothbrushes, as well as 5 of the most popular electric toothbrushes available today.
A Brief History of the Toothbrush
Did you know that people have been using toothbrushes for over 500 years? Believe it or not, there’s evidence that the first modern toothbrushes, with bone handles and stiff bristles from wild boars were used in China as early as 1498.
It wasn’t until around 1700 that Europeans began using bristled toothbrushes. Napoleon was known to have used a horsehair toothbrush with a silver handle (pictured above)!
Until the 1900s, toothbrushes were made from natural materials, usually plant or animal fibers. Eventually, the modern manual toothbrush, with a plastic handle and nylon bristles, became the standard.
Within the past 15 years or so, the market for electric toothbrushes has really taken off! Rechargeable batteries are more powerful and less expensive than ever before, and costs have come down dramatically.
Now that you have a little background on the subject, let’s talk about why you might be interested in an electric toothbrush.
Why Choose an Electric Toothbrush?
Here’s the truth: a properly used manual toothbrush (along with regular flossing) will keep your teeth and gums clean.
The key is properly used. So many people don’t brush regularly, don’t have great brushing technique, and don’t brush thoroughly or long enough. These bad brushing habits can lead to cavities, gingivitis and other dental health problems.
An electric toothbrush isn’t magic and won’t make you brush more often. That part’s still up to you. But an electric toothbrush can help you brush more effectively. They can help by:
Providing Feedback on Your Brushing Technique - Some brushes will make a different sound or flash a light if you brush too hard, helping you improve your brushing technique and protect your gums from damage due to over-aggressive brushing.
Helping You Brush Long Enough - Many electric toothbrushes have a timer and alerts to tell you when to move on to a new area of your mouth, and will shut off automatically at the end of a timed brushing cycle. By brushing for the full length of your electric toothbrush’s timer, you can be confident you’re giving your teeth and gums the attention they need.
By Doing Most of the Work - Electric toothbrushes with rotating, oscillating, and vibrating bristles move thousands of times per minute. And they’re consistent. By using an electric toothbrush you don’t need to worry as much about brushing with the right motion, because the brush does most of the work for you.
Giving You Options - A variety of brush heads are available for most models of electric toothbrushes. Some are extra soft for sensitive teeth, others claim whitening properties, and still others are great for using when wearing braces. There are lots of options out there!
Caring for an Electric Toothbrush
When using an electric toothbrush, you must remember to change the brush head frequently, just as you would replace an old manual toothbrush.
Brush heads made for your electric toothbrush can be expensive, but they’re worth the investment. Don’t buy knock-off or generic brush heads. They may use lower quality materials which can actually damage your teeth.
Your brush heads will come with instructions to let you know when they need to be replaced. Some will change color or show obvious signs of wear. When in doubt, replace them. It’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your dental health.
Make sure your electric toothbrush is fully powered. As batteries wear out or lose their charge, your brush may not be as powerful or effective as it once was. Get in the habit of charging batteries once a week or so.
Most electric toothbrushes won’t require much maintenance beyond an occasional gentle cleaning with a wet cloth to clean off bits of dried toothpaste. Just follow the manufacturer’s instructions and don’t submerge your toothbrush in water!
Proper Use of an Electric Toothbrush
The best way to brush with any toothbrush, electric or manual, is to ask your dentist for advice. They can show you proper technique, no matter what brush you’re using.
Generally speaking, however, when using an electric toothbrush there are a few things you should know:
Be Gentle - Electric toothbrushes are powerful! You don’t need to hold them tightly or press hard against your teeth and gums. In fact, the opposite strategy is best! Hold your brush loosely and work to keep it touching, but not pressing against, your teeth at the gum line.
Be Thorough - Make sure you’re brushing twice a day, using good technique and following the instructions from your brush.
Don’t Forget to Floss! - Electric toothbrushes, even those with floss-action heads, aren’t a substitute for flossing. Make sure you continue to floss daily.
5 Popular Electric Toothbrushes
There are so many great electric toothbrushes on the market with tons of features. Here are 5 popular models. Make sure you let me know if I missed your favorite!
Philips Sonicare HealthyWhite Plus Rechargeable Toothbrush
Retail Price: $119.99
Sonicare toothbrushes are known for their high-quality and reliability. These top-of-the-line brushes have been shown in clinical studies to be as effective in plaque removal as brushing for 6 minutes with a manual toothbrush!
This particular model produces over 30,000 brush strokes each minute and has a special cleaning and whitening mode, as well as one for everyday brushing. And there’s 3 power settings which can be handy if you have sensitive teeth or gums. Some models also come with a UV sanitizer for your brush head, which is a nice feature.
Oral-B Pro 5000 Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush
Retail Price $133.19
If you’re a techie, this is a great brush for you! It uses bluetooth to connect to your iPhone! It can give you real-time feedback on your brushing technique, tracks your brushing habits over time, and can provide you with helpful dental care tips. They are also incredibly effective cleaning tools, and have performed well in clinical studies.
Oral-B Pro Health Electric Toothbrush
Retail Price: $11.64
This brush isn’t rechargeable, but it does run on AA batteries. This can make it a good alternative to take on vacation when you don’t want to carry a toothbrush charger. It accepts the same heads as more expensive Oral-B electric toothbrushes, making it easy to vary your brushing routine by using different brush heads if you want! These brushes are not as effective as their more expensive siblings, but they could be a good way to give an electric toothbrush a try before you invest in a higher quality model.
Great value at less than $15!
Waterpik Complete Flosser & Toothbrush WP-900
Retail Price: $99.99
This rechargeable electric toothbrush set includes a water flosser, too. I’ve written about water flossers before, so you know a water flosser can be a good addition to your home dental care routine, especially if you have braces, or tend to get food stuck in your teeth.
Philips Sonicare for Kids
Retail Price: $64.99
It can be so hard to get children to develop great brushing habits, especially as they’re developing their fine motor skills. Luckily this brush can help. The brush head is specially designed to fit smaller mouths. The brush head is padded, which keeps young teeth from being bumped by hard plastic. Plus a vibrating alert lets kids know when it’s time to start brushing a new area of their mouth.
And kids can decorate the brush handle with a variety of included stickers. Talk about fun!
If you’re looking for a way to help young children start a lifelong habit of brushing and cleaning their teeth, this brush is a great start.
If you’re thinking about an electric toothbrush, there are plenty of great models available on the market today. Just remember, using an electric toothbrush isn't a substitute for flossing or visiting the dentist. And you still have to remember to brush consistently using good technique.
But an electric toothbrush can help you brush better, protect sensitive teeth and gums, improve your brushing technique, and more.