What are the best toothbrushes, an electric powered toothbrush or manual toothbrush? What kind of toothbrush does the American Dental Association (ADA) recommend kids and adults use to take good care of teeth and for best overall health?
Choosing the best toothbrush for yourself, kids and family can be confusing, with so many brands and types of manual toothbrushes and electronically powered toothbrushes on store shelves. Which is better, a manual toothbrush or an electric one, according to Consumer Reports tests and reviews?
According to the American Dental Association, when used correctly, both manual and electric powered toothbrushes can be equally effective at thoroughly cleaning teeth and gums, remove plaque and prevent or reduce calculus (tartar) buildup, thereby reducing gingivitis (gum disease). What kind of toothbrush you or your family uses is not the most important thing to consider, but how you use it. Do you brush thoroughly twice a day for a minimum of two minutes and floss daily like dental hygienists and dentists recommend to patients?
The ADA’s recommendation about manual vs. electric toothbrushes simply says to “buy the one that you will use and one that displays the ADA Seal of Acceptance.” The ADA’s Seal assures you the products have been independently evaluated or endorsed by a body of scientific experts for safety and effectiveness, and the packaging and advertising claims are scientifically supported.
If your dentist or dental hygienist has recommended you buy an electric toothbrush as part of your dental care routine, do it. Children may find that brushing with a electric powered toothbrush is fun and will be more likely to brush their teeth regularly without parental prodding. Elderly, arthritic or physically disabled persons who have difficulty brushing properly while using a manual toothbrush may find a powered toothbrush easier to use or more comfortable.
Whether you choose to buy a manual or electric toothbrush, find a toothbrush that you like, is easy to use and reaches all surfaces of your teeth, so that you’ll use the toothbrush twice a day without fail to thoroughly clean your teeth and gums. Soft-bristled toothbrushes with rounded tips will typically be the most comfortable and safest choice for most dental patients, since medium to hard bristled brushes can cause damage to your tooth enamel and gums, depending on how hard you brush your teeth.
Consumer Reports Best Electric Toothbrushes
Consumer Reports Health (www.consumerreportshealth.org), in its March 2010 edition, listed test and review results of what it considers the best electric toothbrushes. Since the final ratings analysis and recommendations included a list of only 10 toothbrushes ranging in cost from $15 – $140.00, consider carefully what Consumer Reports says are the best toothbrushes on the market today.
#1 and Best rated: Oral-B Professional Care SmartSeries 9400 (floss action head). Discontinued but replaced by similar model Oral-B Professional Care SmartSeries 4000 in CR with comparable reviews. 3-speed spin brush; average price of $130; replacement head $7. Overall score of Very Good (82 out of 100). Categories for Plaque Removal and Comfort, both received an “excellent” rating, with Ease of Use receiving a “Good” rating.
#2 is Philips Sonicare Flexcare R910. 5-speed sonic brush; average cost of $140; replacement head $10. Overall score of Very Good (81 out of 100). “Excellent” rating for Plaque Removal, with Comfort and Ease of Use each receiving a “Very Good” rank.
#3 is Oral-B Professional Care 7400 (precision clean head), now discontinued but replaced by Oral-B Professional Care 1000 in CR with comparable review. 1-speed spin brush; avg cost of $70; replacement head $7. Overall score of “Very Good” (71 out of 100). Plaque Removal score “very good”, with Comfort and Ease of Use each receiving an “Excellent” rating.
#4 is Waterpik Sensonic Professional (standard head). 2-speed sonic brush; average price of $80; replacement head $5. Overall score of “Very Good” (68 out of 100). Plaque Removal, Comfort and Ease of Use all received a “Very Good” rating.
#5 is Spinbrush Pro Clean Sonic (Arm & Hammer), also listed as Consumer Reports “best buy”. 1-speed sonic brush; average cost of $15; replacement head $5.00. Overall score of “Very Good (62 out of 100). Plaque Removal and Comfort received a “Very Good” rating, while Ease of Use received a “good” review.
#6 is Oral-B Vitality Sonic. 1-speed sonic toothbrush; average price of $22; replacement head $7. Overall score of “Very Good” (61 out of 100). Plaque Removal received only a “Good” rating. Categories for Ease of Use and Comfort, both received a “Very Good” review.
#7 is Philips Sonicare Essence e5500. 1-speed sonic brush; avg cost of $85; replacement head $18. Overall score of “Very Good” (61 out of 100). Plaque Removal received a “Good” rating, while categories for Ease of Use and Comfort received “Very Good” ratings.
#8 is CVS Sonic, a 3-speed sonic toothbrush. Average cost of $50, with replacement head costing an average of $9.00. Overall score of “Good” (56 out of 100). Plaque Removal receives a “Good” rating, while Comfort and Ease of Use received an equal rating of “Very Good”.
#9 is Interplak OptiClean Power Plaque Remover. 1-speed spin brush. Avg cost of $21, with replacement head cost of $7. Overall score of “Good” (49 out of 100). Plaque Removal, Comfort and Ease of Use ALL received a rating of “Good”.
#10 is Walgreens Vital Health Pulsating Clean. 1-speed pulsating toothbrush. Average cost of $15, and replacement head $3.00. Overall score of “Good” (49 out of 100). Plaque Removal and Comfort received “Good” ratings, while Ease of Use received a “Very Good” rating.
Research studies have shown that between the different types of toothbrushes, manual or electric, both kinds can be equally effective if used right. Do you and your children brush and floss your teeth correctly, for a full two minutes, every single day including weekends? Time yourself with a stopwatch and see, because it is common for people not to brush long enough and thoroughly reaching those hard-to-get-to places in your mouth.
When brushing with a manual brush or an electric toothbrush, be sure to cover all the surfaces of your teeth. Don’t rush through brushing your teeth, be a good example for your kids by flossing properly everyday and teach your kids the importance of taking good care of their teeth and gums. Remember that silly quote dentists use all too often: “You don’t have to brush all your teeth…just the ones you want to keep!”