Okay, let us set the record straight right off the bat. Research have found that regardless of the tool, the brushing technique is the most important thing that makes a difference in ensuring cleaner teeth.
So why then are we here extolling the virtues of the electric toothbrush, if technique is all that matters?
The reasons are simple. Most of us do not have the patience to angle our manual toothbrush at precisely 45 degrees and scrub away. Neither can a good majority of us brush our teeth the way dentists want us to.The beauty of technological advances is that now, we have access to equipments that can make it easier for us to improve our appearances (hello, whiter smile!) and quality of social interactions (goodbye, bad breath!).
The first electric toothbrush was invented in the 1954 by Dr Philippe-Guy Woog, for patients who had difficulty using a manual toothbrush due to lack of dexterity or mobility issues. Comparison studies since then have shown electric toothbrushes to be far more effective in reducing plaque buildup and reaching those hard to reach places (back of teeth, the molars etc) which requires finer motor skills with the manual toothbrush.
It’s also perfect for people who have dexterity issues such as arthritis.
We know that plaque build up is one of the reasons why our teeth decay, and stink. The movements of the brushes are better and faster in removing plaque as compared to the manual ones. It helps that electric toothbrushes are also multifunctional – some comes with special modes for sensitive teeth, gum massage, whitening, and even timers that indicate when to move on to other teeth. And we kid you not, there is even electric toothbrushes that dispense toothpaste!
In addition, it has been found that some of us can be overzealous when we brush our teeth – meaning, we can brush too hard. Bleeding gums and if worst, receding gums can be a result. This is not the classic case of the more hard work we put in, the more we gain.
In this situation, brushing too hard can damage our gums, causing more harm than good, because receded gums don’t grow back. Ever.
The beauty of using a electric toothbrush is that it keeps us from brushing our teeth too hard, because technically, the brush is doing the brushing for us. And for those of us who are green minded, the electric toothbrush is actually more environmentally friendly than conventional brushes because they last much longer and smaller to replace (just have to replace brush heads every 3 months or so).
One of the top reasons why people hate brushing their teeth is because of the sheer tedious nature of the act. Because to properly brush our teeth, it requires conscious attention and effort, time and energy that we can use to do, you know, other more important things, like watching tv, read newspaper, well.. basically everything else except brushing.
What the electric toothbrush do is to free up that time because the process itself becomes autopilot. No more fussing about the angle of the brush. No more worrying about spots left uncleaned. Just put brush on teeth, let it do its stuff, move to next tooth. Rinse. Repeat. In such situations, less is definitely more.
So, in summary, we now know that the electric toothbrush are much more superior than manual ones because
- Electric toothbrushes are more effective in getting rid of plaque
- Easier to reach hard to reach places
- They are multifunctional
- Prevents us from brushing our teeth too hard
- Can be greener
- Puts us on level playing grounds with those who practice proper brushing techniques with the manual brush.
- Frees up time
Now that we know what the electric toothbrush can do for us, let’s get to know the mechanics of the electric toothbrush better. The electric toothbrush is a toothbrush that uses electric power via battery or a charging dock. The unique feature of the toothbrush is that the brush head moves rapidly, in either of the two fashions – back and forth oscillation or by rotation oscillation (clockwise then anti-clockwise). Just like how you will brush your teeth.
Most people regard electric toothbrush to be the general term for all toothbrushes other than those powered by hands. Actually, the proper general term is powered toothbrush, because under this category, there are two main forms – the electric toothbrush and the sonic toothbrush.
In the past, the main way to differentiate them is number of times that the brushes whisk our teeth. The average electric toothbrush moves about 3000-7500 times per minute, while the sonic toothbrush moves faster, about 30,000-250,000 times per minute. But as technology improves, the electric toothbrush has since caught up.
Now it all boils down to your own preferences. Vibration toothbrush releases soft pulses of vibration bristle to loosen the plague on and between the teeth whereas electric (oscillation) toothbrush, like normal toothbrush uses scrubbing and pulsation to remove plague.
There is also a new kid on the block called the ultrasonic toothbrush. The ultrasonic toothbrush makes use of ultrasonic waves to clean teeth. To be considered as a ultrasonic, the toothbrush needs to emit a wave at least (geek speak alert!) of 20,000 hertz, or 2,400,000 movements per minute, which technically means cleaner teeth in shorter time.
In the powered toothbrush market, there are basically two big players – Oral B and Philips Sonicare, and a myriad of smaller players, offering electric toothbrushes and oral care products that cater to all sorts of needs. A powered toothbrush, when compared to the manual toothbrush, generally costs more. It could range anything from a few tens to a few hundred. So naturally, the marketing jargon can sometime serve to confuse, and we get sidelined by all the bells and whistles, too dazzled by information to make an informed decision. As consumers, we think there are few things that matter when we pick up an electric toothbrush, namely
1) Does the toothbrush clean my teeth better than the manual one?
2) Does the features of the brush complement my other needs, e.g sensitive teeth, sore gums, travel friendly?
3) Is it easy to use?
4) Is it within my budget/value for money?
5) Are the replaceable toothbrush heads affordable and easily bought?
Now, there are simply too many options out there and we realized that most existing review websites tend to recommend the more expensive toothbrushes. As such, we thought it would be fun to come up with an easy to understand comparison chart with criteria that matters to us as consumers. We troughed through thousands of reviews to sieve through the better options so that you don’t have to. Employing a rigorous methodology and breaking a few toothbrushes along the way, we hereby present you the Powered Toothbrush Comparison Chart! Our team updates the chart regularly whenever new worthy products come into the market. We break the brushes so that you don’t have to. 🙂 Do feel free to use the chart in anyway it helps!