Experts agree that your mother, as is so often the case, was correct. It really is important to brush your teeth at least twice a day.
Brushing your teeth removes plaque, which prevents tooth decay, cavities, and bad breath. But regular brushing also helps prevent gingivitis, which is the inflammation of the gums, and periodontitis, commonly referred to as gum disease. If either of these diseases are left unchecked they can potentially lead to respiratory diseases, heart diseases and even cancer.
Regularly brushing is the best way to prevent these afflictions. (Though as is often the case when it comes to your health, a balanced diet and avoiding smoking are also key.) While the regular toothbrushes you pick up at CVS or Target work just fine, there are some advantages to electric toothbrushes. A good electric toothbrush can really get in there to remove plaque and the pesky food particles that get stuck between teeth, which is often a problem for people with braces. Some studies have also found that people concentrate more when using electric toothbrushes.
Electric toothbrushes are especially useful for people with arthritis, carpal tunnel or any other issue that decreases hand strength or agility. That said, remember not to use too much force when you brush.
"There are obvious benefits to using electric toothbrushes for maintaining good oral health. Overall, electric toothbrushes reduce plaque and gingivitis more than a manual toothbrush, but there are also some things you need to be careful of," says. Dr. Brian Harris, a Phoenix, Arizona-based cosmetic dentist. "The most common issue we see is over-aggressive brushing and using manual motion with the electric brush. This can cause both gum recession and sensitivity."
To determine which electric toothbrush is right for you, we asked dentists and oral hygienists which ones do the best job.
Best Electric Toothbrushes
1. Best Overall: Philips Sonicare DiamondClean Smart 9700 Electric Toothbrush
Some of us have a delicate touch in life. Others, not so much. If you are a bull in the china shop but the china shop is your mouth, Dr Lieb thinks the Phillips Sonicare DiamondClean Smart might help you ease up a little.
"This electric toothbrush is especially unique in that it’s equipped with technology that provides personalized feedback and coaching on your brushing. I also love that it comes with three different brush heads that serve different purposes: removing plaque, caring for gums and whitening teeth," she says. "Users can swap out the brush heads depending on their needs. The ultrasonic feature of this toothbrush is gentle, yet very effective in cleaning every surface of the teeth. This is also great to use for patients with sensitive gums."
2. Editor's Pick: Philips Sonicare ProtectiveClean 4100 Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush
Everything is interactive these days. So why shouldn't your toothbrush get in on the fun? "Most patients are unaware of their improper brushing technique and may potentially be causing themselves long-term harm," Dr. Greg Gelfand, a dentist based in Queens, New York, explains. "Electric toothbrushes with a tactile feedback mechanism are key in ensuring optimal brushing and can help guide a heavy-handed user. For this reason, I often recommend Philips Sonicare, which gently pulses to signal when too much pressure is applied during brushing.
Dr. Harris also recommends the Philips Sonicare ProtectiveClean 4100. "This brush is my go-to for new electronic toothbrush users. It has a built-in pressure sensor, which protects teeth and gums from excess brushing pressure," he says. "It also has other brushing modes, which allow users to focus on different types of cleaning."
3. Best Water Flosser Combo: Waterpik Electric Toothbrush & Water Flosser Combo Sonic Fusion Professional
In addition to brushing, flossing is also important for keeping your mouth clean. If you've ever complained that no one has the time to both brush and floss, then Dr. Pia Lieb DDS, founder of Cosmetic Dentistry Center NYC, recommends the Sonic-Fusion Professional. "You can brush your teeth, floss and more. You also have the option to add mouthwash," she says.
4. Best for Smart Features: Oral-B Genius Pro 8000 Electric Toothbrush
Afshan Ahmed, DDS, owns North Spring Dental in Springfield, Ohio, and she likes Oral B Genius electric toothbrushes, because they're almost foolproof. "They take the guesswork out of how long, how strong, and where one needs to brush. That helps with folks who have dexterity issues like our elderly patients and young children," she says. "Electric toothbrushes give the user a guide to not brush so hard, but still leaves a squeaky clean feel that they are wanting."
5. Best for Low Prices: Oral-B Pro 1000 Electric Toothbrush
Looking to get those hard to reach places in the back of your mouth? Then Dr. Harris recommends the Oral-B Pro 1000 Power Rechargeable Electric. It features brushes that "rotate, vibrate, or oscillate, which gives these brushes a slight edge over others. Because they rotate and oscillate, they are able to reach all sides of the teeth," he says. "Additionally, this model showcases soft-bristles, pressure sensor, and a timer to ensure that you’re not brushing too hard."
6. Best Interactive Electric Toothbrush: Oral-B iO
There's an app for everything these days. So, why not an app for your teeth? If you want the most interactive cleaning experience possible, then Dr. Harris has just the toothbrush for you. Oral-B’s iO was released in August and features "3-D tracking and AI recognition work to guide you to the best clean for your entire mouth," he says. "Guided feedback, such as from an app, is quite helpful in assessing how well you’ve brushed and if you’re covered every surface. Most patients brush regularly. Regular plaque buildup in similar areas can mean that they continue to miss brushing certain areas."