March 28, 2023

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Generally, electric toothbrushes are considered to deliver a more thorough, effective clean than a regular manual option.
We caught up with two expert dentists to understand the importance of using an electric toothbrush and the benefits one can expect to see when using one regularly.
Their extensive, professional expertise is here to help you decide if an electric toothbrush is right for you, whilst they also recommend some excellent options along the way.
Scroll on to learn more about the must-have health gadgets or head to the bottom of this article to discover more about our dentists and their credentials.
Read more: This must-have Philips Sonicare is now on sale
According to Dr Shabnam Zai, an esteemed dentist with over 18 years of experience, ‘brushing well removes bacteria from your teeth — and bacteria has the potential to cause serious diseases in your mouth, such as gum disease and cavities.’
Dr Parneet Sehmi, Principal Dentist at Hermes London Dental Clinic, wholeheartedly agrees with this stating that ‘brushing effectively twice daily is an important practice that will remove this bacteria and also plaque.’
There are countless benefits to maintaining a healthy mouth: you’ll avoid tooth decay, toothache, gingivitis, have a smile you can feel confident in and so much more.
While an electric toothbrush is always going to be pricier than a manual one, it offers countless benefits.
Dr Sehmi says, ‘with a manual toothbrush, people tend to brush aggressively which can really damage your teeth and gums. Given that the brush heads on electric toothbrushes vibrate, people are less likely to use such a firm hand. Plus, these vibrations make the toothbrush incredibly effective at removing plaque and bacteria.’
He went on to add that ‘with how advanced electric toothbrush technology is now, there’s less chance of people adopting incorrect brushing techniques and missing areas in the mouth; most electric toothbrushes alert you when they sense you’re using too much pressure and brushing incorrectly.’
Dr Zai similarly has only good things to say about using electric toothbrushes. ‘A smaller head enables you to get into tricky areas of the mouth while built-in two-minute timers — which are a common electric toothbrush feature — ensure you brush for long enough,’ she states.
Dr Zai believes that the most important features are ‘an in-built two-minute timer, pressure sensors and a rechargeable battery.’
Dr Sehmi recommends people also consider the toothbrush’s size, its bristle stiffness and the range of settings available.
‘Don’t go for one that’s too big or small. Generally, larger toothbrushes make it hard to effectively clean hard-to-reach areas like behind your lower front teeth and upper back teeth. But the handle should be long enough that you can comfortably hold it in your hand.’ He also told us that it’s worth looking for a toothbrush that has soft bristles, as these will be less abrasive on teeth and gums.
When speaking to Dr Zai, she made it clear that getting the most from your electric toothbrush is all about technique.
She says, ‘The main reason people’s teeth and gums don’t improve when they buy an electric toothbrush is due to incorrect technique. I always suggest my patients watch a video from their toothbrush brand on YouTube so they can learn how to brush correctly. The technique is very different to using a manual toothbrush. I also encourage my patients to take their brushes to the hygienist who can show them how to use them most effectively.’
‘The electric toothbrush should do all the cleaning for you,’ adds Dr Sehmi. ‘Just ensure that you hold it against all tooth surfaces and that you spend the full two minutes brushing.’
With an electric toothbrush, you generally just need to guide the brush head from one spot to the next rather than using any kind of motion (as is required when brushing manually).
Both our dentists recommend changing your toothbrush head every three months. Dr Zai also says it’s a good idea to use a fresh one after any major respiratory illnesses like coronavirus or flu.
Dr Sehmi also suggests changing heads ‘when the bristles look considerably worn down.’
To get the brightest, healthiest smile possible, it makes sense to shop expert-recommended picks. The cream of the crop, the impressive designs and features make these toothbrushes the best on the market.
Both Dr Zai and Dr Sehmi consider Oral-B the best electric toothbrush brand. Both have an Oral-B model themselves and swear by the brand’s effectiveness. If you’re on the hunt for a mid-range toothbrush, Dr Zai recommends the Oral-B Pro 3.
This toothbrush comes with three brushing modes (daily clean, whitening and sensitive), a two-minute embedded timer and 360° gum pressure control technology. The gum pressure sensor is particularly impressive; it alerts you if you’re brushing too hard and will subsequently reduce the toothbrush’s brushing speed until you adjust your pressure to an appropriate level. This keeps your gums healthy and protected.
The brush has a revolutionary round head that is able to access all the typically hard-to-reach areas of the mouth to guarantee users a deep clean.
Oral-B claims the brush removes up to 100% more plaque than a manual toothbrush while also removing any surface stains, thus giving you whiter teeth from just a few uses. The brush also has a slim handle perfect for gently manoeuvring it around your mouth.
The cherry on top? The built-in two-minute timer will notify you every 30 seconds so you can make sure you’ve brushed each quarter of your mouth for an equal amount of time.
You also get a travel case included in the price of this electric toothbrush. Plus, one charge gives the device more than two weeks of use time.
Dr Sehmi believes that Oral-B’s iO range is truly the best of the best when it comes to more advanced electric toothbrushes.
‘The new iO technology combines micro-vibrating bristles with a round brush head for an effective clean and a great mouthfeel. For an added bonus, the iO range uses artificial intelligence to monitor your brushing across the front, top and back surfaces of your teeth for the most thorough clean possible.’
While this iO8 model is pricey, it comes packed with features that make it a worthy investment. Most impressive is the interactive colour display on the front of the toothbrush. This display is capable of conveying a range of different notifications: it will tell you what brushing mode you’re using, when you need to replace your toothbrush head and even light up with a rewarding smile once you’re finished brushing your teeth.
The gadget has six smart brush modes to choose from to ensure you’re getting the best clean possible, every time. These modes are: daily clean, sensitive, gum care, intense clean, whitening and super sensitive.
It also has a slightly more sophisticated smart pressure sensor system than the Pro 3 above; the band at the top of the toothbrush’s handle has the ability to turn red, white or green to inform you if you’re brushing too hard, too soft or with the perfect amount of pressure.
Finally, the electric toothbrush comes with a magnetic charger that offers a three-hour quick charge if you need to use the toothbrush in a pinch.
It’s on offer now at better than half-price at Boots. So, if you like the look of this model, we recommend snapping it up quickly or keeping an eye on Boots electric toothbrush deals for more savings opportunities.
‘Boots often do great deals on electric toothbrushes,’ says Dr Zai. ‘So I often tell my patients to keep an eye out for their deals.’
While both our dentists use Oral-B themselves, Dr Zai assures us that Philips is also capable of engineering great, effective toothbrushes. She likes the ProtectiveClean 4300 the most.
This model has revolutionary sonic technology that provides a thorough yet gentle clean with every use. This technology uses an ergonomic brush head that drives toothpaste between teeth to effectively remove plaque from those hard-to-reach places and along the gum line.
The brush also comes with a built-in pressure sensor alert system that signals when you’re brushing too hard, a smart brush head replacement reminder and a travel case that makes the brush easy to pack for trips away. It also boasts a handy two weeks of battery life, so you don’t have to worry about constantly keeping the brush on charge.
Its built-in timer will alert you every 30 seconds to help you target each corner of your mouth but unlike some of the flashier electric toothbrushes, this one only comes with one cleaning mode. It does, however, have two different intensities to choose from.
According to Philips, the 4300 is capable of removing up to seven times more plaque than a regular manual toothbrush. Worth the investment? We certainly think so.
Still hesitant to invest in an electric toothbrush? Try using a more affordable one for a while and see how you get on. While basic, this budget Colgate brush is a great option for giving an electric toothbrush a go.
It comes with soft, super thin bristles that are gentle on the gums while providing a deep, precise clean that easily removes plaque. The replaceable brush has also been designed to remove surface stains; Colgate claims it will whiten teeth in just one week.
The toothbrush is battery-operated which isn’t ideal if you’re after a long-term cleaning solution — but this does make it a lightweight option. The brush also features a built-in two-minute timer.
If you’re shopping for a little one, Dr Zai advises you shop for an electric toothbrush that is suitable for their age, to encourage them to use it and ensure it’s gentle on young gums.
This Disney Lightyear model (engineered for ages three and up) is an Amazon bestseller and available in a range of different designs, in case your little one would prefer a “Frozen” or “Spiderman” theme.
It comes with four fun Lightyear stickers and two brushing modes including a sensitive one, perfect for children’s mouths. Its toothbrush head is also extra soft to make sure kids don’t accidentally irritate or bruise their gums as they brush their teeth. The brush comes with a two-minute built-in timer and its battery lasts an impressive eight days per charge.
The most exciting part? This Oral-B brush is compatible with a free Disney Magic Timer app that encourages kids to brush for a full two minutes using fun animations and interactive experiences.
After the advice from our two expert dentists — we certainly are. Offering a more thorough clean and effective features like built-in timers and reminders to change toothbrush heads, electric toothbrushes are definitely a worthy investment.
While both dentists agree that Oral-B toothbrushes (like the Oral-B Pro 3 3500) are the best choice overall, if you’re wary of committing to a new way of brushing, why not start with the budget-friendly Colgate option? For little mouths, we love the look of the Lightyear model. With fun stickers and animations, we admit we’re tempted by this model ourselves!
Dr Shabnam Zai is a Harrow-based dentist who has been qualified for over 18 years. She has a Master’s Degree in restorative and aesthetic dentistry and co-owns a private family dental practice, West House Dental. The practice offers dental treatments from orthodontics to teeth whitening, as well as a range of facial aesthetic treatments.
Dr Parneet Sehmi (BDS MJDF RCS) is the Principal Dentist at Hermes London Dental Clinic. He qualified from a leading dental university, Guys Kings and St Thomas’ Dental Institute, and then completed further training in the latest dentistry techniques both in the UK and internationally, offering his patients excellent treatment and care.
Prices updated on 12/09/2022. We are not responsible for any changes on the prices mentioned above.
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