Updated: May 9, 2015

Brushing Your Teeth - Manual vs Electric:

The question you hear amongst consumers and dentists is "Which is better, manual toothbrushing or using an electric toothbrush?". Evidence points to the electric toothbrush as getting better results than people who manually brush their teeth, but there are several factors that go into having good dental checkups. I have brushed my teeth for years without using the modern electric toothbrushes and haven't had a cavity in almost 20 years. I floss each night and brush my teeth twice a day (as recommended by all dentists) for roughly 2 minutes. I have been told that I have a very powerful brushing stroke and am very thorough around the trouble areas - back molars, along the gum line, and in between teeth. I tried using an electric toothbrush that my wife bought us but I must say it felt uncomfortable since there is no work for my hand to do. I have since switched back to my regular toothbrush and my wife has continued using the Braun Oral B electric toothbrush for now. Some people have said there is no difference between manual brushes and electric toothbrushes but I guess the results in the long run will eventually let us know if the latest technology is better for our teeth and gums.
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Periodontal, or gum, disease is just as common as tooth decay and many dentists claim that electric toothbrushes do a better job of battling this than do manual brushes. One reason being that electric toothbrushes come with built in timers that guide people as to how long they should be brushing. The theory goes that people using an electric toothbrush are more likely to be brushing for the required 2 minutes each day while those with manual toothbrushes skip out on the extra minute or so and leave themselves exposed to more gum disease and plaque build up. The flouride in toothpaste needs a certain amount of time on your teeth and gums to work effectively and brushing for only 30 to 60 seconds just isn't enough time for the flouride to be effective. We will review the best electric toothbrushes on the market today and look into all the options available for dental hygiene products below. I think the old saying "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" goes well with this discussion about which type of toothbrush to use. If your dental history and checkups are going well with no problems, keep doing what you are doing since it is obviously working well. On the other hand, if you are getting cavities, plaque build up or gum diseases, consider switching to an electric toothbrush for better results. If you want just a regular manual toothbrush, we say stick with Reach, Colgate, Mentadent, Radius, Crest, Butler, Oral-B, and Aquafresh. You can view their list of best-selling electric toothbrushes here.


Best Electric Toothbrush:

The best electric toothbrush as rated by consumers and dentists is the Sonicare Elite series ($73-130) - users say it's comfortable to use, gets to all the hard to reach places and the ultrasonic bristle movement removes plaque better than the Oral B electric toothbrushes. The Sonicare toothbrush has a dual speed control and deluxe recharge gauge, and Elite handle with 2 Elite Series brush heads, a 2-minute Smartimer and programmable Quadpacer interval timer. The Sonicare also includes a "charger base, a deluxe travel case, and a luxury brush holder". One complaint on earlier models of the Sonicare was the larger brush head size and people couldn't use it effectively, but that problem is solved with the Elite 7500. Owners also say the 30 second beep that prompts you to brush in a different spot is helpful and the fact it shuts off after 2 minutes is great. Another quality electric toothbrush is the Braun Oral-B ProfessionalCare Series ($75-$130) - the rechargeable Oral B 7000 Series is slightly cheaper than the Sonicare Elite 7500 which makes the Braun Oral B a great value. The Oral B cleans by both oscillation and pulsation movements. Some users say the Braun Oral B electric toothbrush is noisy, but the overall standards are similar to that of the Sonicare. The Braun Oral-B Triumph ProfessionalCare 9900 ($100) is the most expensive electric toothbrush in our reviews - for a detailed photo review, click here. It's a computerized toothbrush that has a processor chip and the Triumph toothbrush gives you some personal touches like telling each user when their brush head needs to be replaced. There are 4 brushing modes to choose from and owners say it's easy and smooth to operate. Other lesser models include the Cybersonic toothbrush - the Sonic1 ($53), the Crest SpinBrush ($10) is actually battery powered, The Rota-Dent Electric Toothbrush ($135) - fights dental plaque and gingivitis, the Ultrasonex toothbrush, and the Interplak Power Toothbrush for around $20. In general, we'd stick with either the Braun/Oral-B or Philips Sonicare. Keep in mind that you can also buy less-expensive kids versions for around $15-$30 -- personally I can't see putting a $100 tool into my kids hand.

Toothbrush Sanitizer - Cleaner:

One thing many of us don't think about is all the bacteria that can build up on a toothbrush after months of use. Sure we rinse the brush head off in the water after we brush (I hope), but that doesn't kill the bacteria on the brush. Toothbrush sanitizers and toothbrush cleaners have recently hit the market and are selling pretty well. The best seller is the VIOlight VS100 Toothbrush Sanitizer and Storage System ($50) or the Germ Terminator Toothbrush Sanitizer ($50). If you travel a lot for business or pleasure, perhaps buying a disposable toothbrush or travel toothbrush is a good idea so you don't have to take your toothbrush cleaner with you on the road. I have never used a toothbrush sterilizer product and I don't have any bacteria or plaque issues with my teeth so I'm assuming these products are sold on "fear" and probably do keep your toothbrush cleaner than mine, but aren't doing anything for your gums/teeth.