Which Type of Toothbrush is More Effective? Standard, Oscillating or Sonic Electric Toothbrush?
As a dental hygienist, the question I am asked more often than any other is,
“Are those electric toothbrushes really any better than a regular toothbrush?”
The short answer is yes, but I’m sure you definitely are here to hear the why.
First of all, I would like to say that as a pediatric dental hygienist, I see TONS of children and I know they are ALL very different and have different preferences and sensitivities. There are some children who have sensory issues that will love or hate any type of toothbrush. BUT more often than not, they will especially dislike a toothbrush with extra power.
So hear me when I say this…
PLEASE use whatever type of toothbrush that will actually get used!
If you or your child will use a manual standard toothbrush more effectively then that may be what is best suited. With that being said, lets discuss the different types of toothbrushes.
Nitty gritty facts.
Standard Manual Toothbrush
First up we have your standard manual old school toothbrush. It has been around for a VERY long time and not much has changed about it. It can be very effective if used the proper way. These come in many different bristle designs, and different feel of bristles. They come in different sizes from baby to adult size. They have hard, medium and soft bristles. I’m not quite sure why they still make hard toothbrush bristles. Hard bristles can be very damaging to gums and teeth. I’m hoping that people are only using those to scrub dirt off of their old tennis shoes!
The regular standard manual toothbrush is powered completely by your hand motion. So these types of toothbrushes are very technique sensitive. The user must properly brush using the correct technique for the correct amount of time in order to be effective in plaque removal. So this type of toothbrush relies solely on the user and their ability to brush properly. These manual toothbrushes are probably the most popular due to cost. You can typically find these at almost any store for $1-5.
Studies have shown that people using manual brushes can often brush too hard and damage gums, teeth. If you brush too hard, you can irritate your gums or even worse, cause recession on your teeth. Recession can lead to lots of dental problems and sensitivity.
Additionally, there is not usually a built in timer on a standard toothbrush.. So often times, you will not brush for the recommended 2 minutes.
Typically using anything besides a standard manual toothbrush will provide more motivation to do a better job brushing your teeth. There are different types of electric toothbrushes. People typically refer to anything other than a standard manual toothbrush as an electric.
However they are actually quite different. There are sonic electric toothbrushes which use ultrasonic vibrations. Then there are rotating/ oscillating toothbrushes that move clockwise and counter clockwise. There are also battery or simple vibrating toothbrushes but we won’t get into those because they are basically just a manual toothbrush with some vibration.
Studies have shown that electric toothbrushes are much better because they are less technique sensitive and you simply move the toothbrush from tooth to tooth. Electric toothbrushes can also encourage children to get used to a higher powered toothbrush making dental visits easier.
Benefits of an electric toothbrush
With both the oscillating and sonic brushes, you are only replacing the brush head itself as opposed to the entire toothbrush. So this typically means less waste than a manual toothbrush. So it’s better for the environment! I always recommend to re purpose toothbrushes and toothbrush heads that way you have less waste since these can not be recycled.
Another bonus to an electric or sonic toothbrush is that there have been studies that show that people who use these brushes concentrate on their brushing techniques better. Which in turn, leads to a more effective brushing session.
Ah, braces. Have you had orthodontic appliances or braces before? These can be a chore to keep clean! Electric toothbrushes can definitely help keep your orthodontic work in check! I have found that BURST’s sonic electric toothbrush has an AMAZING bristle design that REALLY helps get around brackets and wires much more effectively.
BURST has tapered, soft, feathered multi-level bristles that get into hard to reach areas better!
Bonus, the bristles are infused with charcoal so it also helps remove and keep stain off of your pearly whites! But don’t worry, the charcoal particles are nano particles so they particle size is so small it is not abrasive to the teeth!
Oscillating or Rotating Electric Toothbrushes
Next up we have the oscillating or rotating powered toothbrushes. These typically have a toothbrush head that rotates or vibrates to help give extra brushing power. These usually give about 2,500 to 7,500 strokes per minute.
That is definitely more impressive than the manual standard strokes of 300 or less per minute. But not as impressive as BURST’s 33,000 sonic vibrations per minute.
Research has shown that oscillating movements do better than standard manual toothbrushes. But not as good as sonic vibrations from a sonic brush.
Sonic Electric Toothbrush
Lastly, we have my personal favorite. The sonic electric toothbrush. These are like the superheroes of toothbrushes. They come from several different companies and they usually have some pretty rad features. Sonic toothbrushes have the ability to clean that extra mile.
Their high powered sonic vibrations can actually clean areas even further than what they are actually touching due to their extra fast sonic vibrations forcing saliva, water and toothpaste around harder to reach areas. Their high velocity sonic vibrations really give your brushing technique that extra power!
In my research, the most interesting fact I found of all is that the sonic vibrations are SO POWERFUL that they actually clean an area about 4-5 mm or a little over 1/8th of an inch away from where the bristles are actually even touching.
The extra energy can help irrigate gum pockets and flush toothpaste and water in between teeth and even under the gum line! I know what you are thinking, and no this does not give you a pass to stop flossing!
How awesome is that???
This is great for getting around the gum line and getting interproximal (in between) teeth better. This non contact method of extra cleaning sends charged water particles all around your mouth and into harder to reach areas. This can also stimulate blood flow to your gums and provide better oral health stimulation.
As you probably already know, your mouth contains LOADS of bacteria and plaque. The areas that aren’t brushed contain bacteria colonies that will continue to multiply until removed! This is why you are supposed to brush and floss daily as well as see your dentist every 6 months!
So these super sonic vibrations can actually disrupt these bacterial colonies and kill off harmful bacteria! Your mouth contains streptococcus mutans, a cariogenic (cavity causing) bacteria. Studies have shown that sonic brushes can actually KILL AND DESTROY THE CELL WALL plus their ability to attach to the teeth.
These sonic vibrations are also great for getting around and irrigating existing dental restorations, under bridges and around crown margins! So a sonic brush can help you keep your teeth and dental work protected!
So in reality, the sonic brush covers more surface area than a standard manual toothbrush can. More plaque/biofilm removal coverage typically equals less cavities and gum disease.
Sonic toothbrushes are pretty cool, eh?
Sonic brushes vibrations can go up to 33,000 (66,000 strokes) sonic vibrations per minute! Holy Moly! The BURST sonic toothbrush is the one I recommend and it is also the most powerful (and affordable) on the market!
Sonic brushes are also great for those who are handicapped with limited hand mobility or have arthritis. Since the toothbrush itself does all the work with the powerful sonic vibrations, you can save your hands the extra effort. Plus, some sonic electric toothbrushes such as BURST are extremely lightweight so they are easier to hold.
Another bonus is most, if not all, sonic toothbrushes have a nice built in timer. The timer should be for 2 minutes. That is how long dentists recommend your brush your teeth to remove all the plaque effectively. Even better, some of the toothbrushes, like the BURST have an even more superior timer, the quad pacer timer!
This quad pacer timer double vibrates every 30 seconds to let you know to move to a different section of your mouth. So you brush the upper right for 30 seconds, upper left for 30 seconds, lower right for 30 seconds and finally lower left 30 seconds. This ensures you are brushing ALL areas of your mouth for the correct amount of time and EVENLY.
As a hygienist I am always surprised to see how most people brush one side of their mouth so much more effectively than the rest. So all in all, more people brush the correct amount of time using a sonic brush so that usually means more plaque and bacteria is brushed away. Win, win.
Which sonic toothbrush is the MOST powerful and the MOST affordable?
The current most powerful sonic electric toothbrush on the market, and it just so happens to be my personal favorite is the BURST sonic toothbrush. It also happens to be the most affordable and in my opinion the highest quality. Since I am a BURST Ambassador you can grab yours HERE for only $39.99 with my $30 off BURST coupon code FFERVX at burstoralcare.com
To check out all the details and features of this amazing toothbrush, check out the article below!
Sonic toothbrushes are awesome so of course they typically come with an awesome hefty price tag. Some of the platinum versions can cost you almost $300. As a dental hygienist who has tried all of them though, I would definitely go with the BURST for the the best quality and affordability!
Only Brush the teeth you want to keep!
Like I mentioned before, there are a few people who will not like the sensation of electric vibrations. So I would definitely get one with multiple settings. BURST sonic toothbrushes have 3 modes, whitening, sensitive and massage. So hopefully the user can find a setting they prefer. Worst case scenario, BURST offers a 90 day love it guarantee. No questions asked. So that is always a plus.
Another fear some people have is the cost of the replacement heads for these electric toothbrushes. You should be replacing your brush head at least every 3 months and always after you are sick. Some of these brush heads can go upwards of $25 each!
Luckily, BURST has that in check as well by using a subscription method and automatically sending their customers brush heads every 3 months for only $6! Including FREE SHIPPING. That’s just another reason I am so obsessed with this company. They really are on a mission to make oral health care tools affordable for everyone!
BURST Oral Care also has a LIFETIME warranty on their brush as long as you are continuing to receive their brush heads. That’s crazy awesome. So that makes it extremely cost effective. You will never have to buy another toothbrush! Ever.
After much research and after testing all of these out myself as well, the sonic electric toothbrush proves to be the most effective for so many reasons! Get one today so you can see and feel the difference! Your teeth and dentist will be happy you did!
If you have any questions, feel free to contact me or drop a comment below!
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, if you click through and make a purchase, I make a commission.