Buying Guide for Electric Toothbrushes – Lexicon for Medicine & Health

Buying guide for electric toothbrushes

Electrically operated toothbrushes have been recommended by dentists for a long time . They argue with a particularly thorough and gentle cleaning, including the interdental spaces that are not so easily accessible. However, the differences in the market are great, there are no uniform standards or specifications. Studies and independent tests are showing more and more frequently that the performance figure alone is not a sufficient criterion when making a purchase. The battery performance and the two different systems of electric toothbrushes are also of greater importance. The basics and key features are explained in this post.

The basis: oscillating toothbrushes

A classic electrically operated toothbrush gets to the plaque with at least 3,000 revolutions per minute This allows surfaces and spaces between teeth to be cleaned more thoroughly, deeper and more evenly.

Above all, however, incorrect brushing techniques are compensated for if the toothbrush is used correctly. The sonic toothbrushes that have been available on the market for some time even offer a significantly higher power density with around 30,000 revolutions per minute. They differ not only in the movement sequences, but also in the different handling and the differently structured brush heads.

The so-called oscillating toothbrushes work with a smaller, round-shaped brush head. This rotates alternately in both directions and, due to its size, is particularly suitable for reaching and evenly cleaning hard-to-reach areas. Higher quality models combine the whole thing with a parallel, pulsating forward and backward movement. Each tooth has to be treated individually, which means that the cleaning process takes longer overall.

In addition, if used incorrectly, there is a risk of bleeding gums , which occurs primarily with poor oral hygiene . This can be remedied by the technology of so-called contact pressure control, which is becoming more and more popular. Based on these and other factors, the experts at also examine the current model series of the brand manufacturers.

Maximum efficiency: sonic toothbrushes

Sonic toothbrushes are a kind of further development of the oscillating toothbrush. They differ mainly in that cleaning is carried out without any major pressure effect. They are operated either on the basis of a linear motor or by electromagnetic pulses. There is no other way to achieve the 30,000 revolutions per minute mentioned above.

Due to the extremely fast and rough cleaning work, the teeth are cared for more compactly. In practice, a kind of “hum” can be heard, because the up and down movement and the parallel vibration create sound waves. The generation of liquid currents in the oral cavity is cited by the manufacturers as one of the key arguments. As a result, the toothpaste is distributed in small pieces and reaches even hard-to-reach interdental spaces without separate cleaning. However, there are still no solid studies to really verify the statement.

The brush head of this type is elongated, similar to a normal manual toothbrush. This means that several teeth can be cleaned at the same time, while difficult areas are only tackled superficially. In contrast to the oscillating toothbrush, the switch is easier here because the cleaning techniques do not really differ from each other.

In individual cases, it should therefore be weighed up which function the electrically operated toothbrush should really take on. With a compact jaw structure, there are certainly several advantages with the sonic toothbrush, whereas the oscillating toothbrush is associated with more time and more personal cleaning power, as this article explains in more detail.

To the accessories

Just like a normal manual toothbrush should be replaced about every three months, electric toothbrushes need to be cared for and maintained. This primarily affects the brush heads, because depending on their composition, they only have a limited shelf life.

The housing, i.e. the enclosing body and the module for attaching the brush head, are stable and durable. Not so the brush head itself, because signs of wear and tear become visible over time. There are now systems on the market in which the color gradient on the brush itself shows that and whether an exchange is necessary. In consultation with the dentist, it is advisable to determine the degree of hardness of the brush head.

Similar to the classic variant, special systems are also available for damaged teeth or mouths with attacked gums . In terms of price, such attachments are cheaper for the typical round head brush than those for a sonic toothbrush. The use of compatible alternative attachments cannot be recommended. Their durability is far below that of the original manufacturer, and there can also be problems with fit and cleaning.

More tips on choosing the right toothbrush

  • The main focus should be on the handling of the electrically operated toothbrush. Simple and intuitive control is important because frequent switching and pausing is time-consuming. What speed levels are offered? Are there certain variants that can be chosen?
  • Models with integrated contact pressure control are particularly recommended for beginners. It sounds an alarm as soon as too much pressure is exerted on a specific area. In addition, such models are often combined with a gum massage function; This allows certain toothpaste to be distributed and applied more evenly.
  • For electrically operated toothbrushes especially for children, a model with a timer function is recommended. There are models that turn themselves off after a certain amount of time or those that start to jerk after the time has elapsed. This means that every jaw area receives the same amount of cleaning.
  • Especially with promotional goods or models from discounters, it is difficult to get replacement brush heads quickly. A low entry price can take revenge over time.
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Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.