General Question

syz's avatar

Is there a legitimate reason to buy an expensive electric toothbrush?

Asked by syz (35567points) June 2nd, 2010

I finally bought an electric toothbrush, a $25.00 rechargeable model from the grocery store, and I like it. My teeth feel slick, like after a trip to the dentist. But I also see $180.00 models available. Is it possible that the expensive model is really 8 times as effective? I haven’t been able to find any studies or comparisons; anyone have any good links for me?

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23 Answers

kevbo's avatar

We just bought the $80 Oral B package from Costco (which comes with two brushes). I used it for the first time last night and the difference (that slick feeling) in cleaning fairly well astounded me.

I’ve also tried a couple of cheaper electric toothbrushes from the grocery store and neither of them really compare. My gf’s broke in a few weeks, but I guess the expensive ones come with a two year warranty.

Here’s the model I got and there are more unscientfic reviews on the site.

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Facade's avatar

I think it’s a good idea for people who don’t go to the dentist regularly but still want to keep their teeth and gums healthy.

gailcalled's avatar

The Oral B rechargeable is fine. One thing to remember is to let the bristles tickle your gum line front, back and in the hard-to-reach spots behind the end molars.

I got the poster child award for my gums at my last dental visit. (And you know how old my gums are.) But you still need to floss and use that $3.00 tongue scraper.

CMaz's avatar


Somethings should be kept simple. K.I.S.S

If you are lazy with a brush you will be lazy with an $80 tooth brush.

marinelife's avatar

“The evolution of the electric toothbrush has come a long way during the last several decades. The first electric toothbrushes were introduced to the consumers’ marketplace about 50 years ago. Surprisingly, despite the primitive nature of these toothbrushes and their lack of features, some close relatives of these electric toothbrushes are available yet today.

At the other end of the spectrum, the newest type of electric toothbrush design is the “sonic toothbrush” (as characterized by the Sonicare ® toothbrush). The cleansing action of these brushes is based on a technology that makes it possible for them to have a cleaning effect beyond where the tips of their bristles actually touch. This is a claim no other type of electric toothbrush design has ever been able to make.”


CMaz's avatar

“This is a claim no other type of electric toothbrush design has ever been able to make.”

And that “claim” is what sells a product. Pure marketing.

marinelife's avatar

@ChazMaz Actually, it uses sound waves to clean.

CMaz's avatar

They sure do, makes it very high Tech. You have to buy that. :-)

Merriment's avatar

I own the Sonicare brush and can say that I after I started using it I had measurable improvement in the amount of tartar that was removed from my teeth and measurable improvement in the measurements of the periodontal pocket depth.My dentist asked me what I was doing differently since I saw him last.

I’m not a paid spokesperson (although they could kick me down some replacement brush heads and I wouldn’t say no) for Sonicare but I do believe they make a product that made a difference in my oral health.

My kids owned the OralB electrics for years and they had the same improvement when we switched them over to the SoniCare.

syz's avatar

We use ultrasonic scalers to clean pet teeth – sound waves essentially blast off tartar at close range. But they’re pretty uncomfortable (the animals are anesthetized during the procedure). Is the Sonicare painful to use?

Merriment's avatar

It’s not painful at all…and your teeth feel smooth like the dentists office cleaning makes them feel.

It feels like a regular electric brush, which can take some adjustment time to get comfortable with if you are switching from a manual brush.

Oh, and never stop brushing midbrush to spit or grin at yourself with the brush still going because you will be cleaning your mirror and countertops :)

CMaz's avatar

@syz – RIght. You don’t see the dentist using them on their patients.

They use the one that you need to be strapped down for.

ParaParaYukiko's avatar

I think so, if you’re really concerned about your oral health. I have the Oral-B Triumph, a $160 toothbrush, and I absolutely love it. I used to have a Sonicare, which is also supposed to be very good, and I got it for free from my oral surgeon (I’m sure it’d be usually around $100 or more) when he found out I had been using a manual toothbrush. It was very good, but it didn’t clean the inside of my teeth as week as the Triumph does.

Then again, I have a different situation with my teeth than most people. I have two implanted teeth (ceramic crowns attached to metal rods implanted into my gums) and four of my teeth have almost no root due to complications with my braces. So, the health of my teeth and gums is very, very important—otherwise I might lose my teeth and waste thousands of dollars worth of oral care.

But oral heath is important for the average person, too. Having healthy gums helps prevent getting sick (viruses and bacteria can easily enter the body through inflamed gums), and of course you have nicer looking and feeling teeth. Chances are your $25 rechargeable will do a decent job, at least a lot better than a manual toothbrush. Some Oral-B models, even the cheaper ones, can use the nice heads that usually come with the more expensive models. However, heads themselves are expensive – about $30 for a pack of two.

nebule's avatar

I do not have any kind of electric toothbrush and after reading all that I wish I had one… but alas as with everything (and I am inclined to believe…) quality does cost more and unfortunately poverty doesn’t allow for that.

GrumpyGram's avatar

I have the $25 Oral B Vitality w/the charge base and love it. First time I used it I could Really tell a huge difference. I Had a SonicCare and detested it. It vibrates your brains out And tickles terribly. I sold it on an online auction and didn’t do too bad. No box, either. (-:

YARNLADY's avatar

My husband swears by the SonicCare, but I can’t use it because the vibrations set up a bone chilling resonance in my body. It even makes me cringe to be in the same room when he is using it. I liked the Oral B electric we used to have, with an automatic water pick. I need to replace it someday.

GrumpyGram's avatar

@YARNLADY I can relate totally but my daughter swears by them. She even presses down and has the most perfect teeth and gums imaginable. She had them bonded bright white.
@syz Dentists use an icepick after they’re finished with the electric sander tool which make the roots scream for mercy. )-:
I can go w/the icepick ok but the spinning hot sander? Nope.

lilikoi's avatar

@ParaParaYukiko So do you like the Oral B better than the SoniCare?

ParaParaYukiko's avatar

@lilikoi The Sonicare was very nice. The heads were more like traditional toothbrushes which made it very comfortable to brush with, and mine also had a self-timer thing where it buzzed ever 30 seconds to encourage even brushing. I think this is a common feature in more pricey models, though.

The thing I didn’t like about it is that while it cleaned the front of my teeth quite well, the back of my teeth never felt fully clean. That totally changed with the Oral-B Triumph. It’s more cumbersome and a bit more aggressive a toothbrush than the Sonicare, but I definitely feel like I get a more thorough brushing, even when using the brushes made for sensitive teeth.

So yeah, I like the Triumph better than the Sonicare. However, my Sonicare was an older model (2004 or so), and I’m sure they’ve improved since then.

casheroo's avatar

Because of what @marinelife posted. I love my Sonic toothbrush.

judochop's avatar

I have the Sonicare. My mouth kisses itself after every brushing. It also comes with a UV cleaner for my brushes.

lilikoi's avatar

@ParaParaYukiko Thanks so much for the info!

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