Electrically operated toothbrushes have been recommended by dentists for a long time. They argue with particularly thorough and gentle cleaning, including the not so easily accessible interdental spaces. However, the differences on the market are great, there are no uniform standards or specifications. Studies and independent tests are increasingly showing that the performance figure alone is not a sufficient criterion for a purchase. Battery performance and the two different systems of electric toothbrushes are also of greater importance. The basics and key features are explained in this post.
Electric toothbrushes are mostly rotary toothbrushes. The cleaning performance is slightly better than that of normal toothbrushes.
A classic electrically operated toothbrush hits the plaque with at least 3,000 revolutions per minute. This enables surfaces and interdental spaces to be cleaned more thoroughly, deeply and evenly.
Above all, however, incorrect cleaning techniques are compensated for, provided the toothbrush is used correctly. The sonic toothbrushes that have been on the market for some time now offer a significantly higher power density of around 30,000 revolutions per minute. They differ not only in terms of the movement sequences, but also in the different types of handling and the differently structured brush heads.
The so-called oscillating toothbrushes work with a smaller, round brush head. This rotates alternately in both directions and, due to its size, is particularly suitable for reaching areas that are difficult to access and cleaning them evenly. Higher-quality models combine the whole thing with a parallel, pulsating forward and backward movement. Each tooth has to be treated individually, which means that the brushing process takes longer overall.
In addition, if used incorrectly, there is a risk of bleeding gums, which occurs especially when the oral hygiene is poor. The technology of so-called contact pressure control, which is becoming more and more popular, provides a remedy. On the basis of these and other factors, the experts at Elektrozahnbuerste.com also examine the current model series of the brand manufacturers.
Sonic toothbrushes are a kind of further development of the oscillating toothbrush. They differ mainly in that they are cleaned without any major pressure. They are operated either on the basis of a linear motor or by electromagnetic pulses. The 30,000 revolutions per minute already mentioned above cannot be implemented otherwise.
The extremely fast and rough cleaning work takes care of the teeth in a more compact manner. In practice, a kind of "hum" can be heard, because the upward and downward movement and the parallel vibration create sound waves. One of the main arguments mentioned by the manufacturer is the generation of fluid flows in the oral cavity. As a result, the toothpaste is distributed in small pieces and reaches even hard-to-reach spaces between the teeth without separate cleaning. However, there is still a lack of solid studies to really verify the statement.
The brush head of this type is elongated, similar to a normal manual toothbrush. This means that several teeth can be cleaned at the same time, while difficult areas are only approached superficially. In contrast to the oscillating toothbrush, the switch is easier here, as the brushing techniques do not really differ from one another.
In each individual case, it should therefore be considered which function the electrically operated toothbrush should really take on. With a compact jaw structure, the sonic toothbrush certainly has several advantages, whereas the oscillating toothbrush is associated with an increased expenditure of time and more personal cleaning performance, as this article explains in more detail.
Just like a normal manual toothbrush should be replaced about every three months, electrically operated toothbrushes must be cared for and maintained. This primarily applies to the brush heads, because depending on their composition, they only have a limited shelf life.
The housing, i.e. the enclosing body and the module for attaching the brush head, are stable and durable. Not so the brush head itself, as signs of wear and tear will become visible over time. Systems are now on the market in which the color gradient on the brush itself shows that and whether an exchange is necessary. In consultation with the dentist, it is advisable to determine the degree of hardness of the brush head.
Because, similar to the classic variant, special systems are also available here for damaged teeth or oral spaces with damaged gums. In terms of price, such attachments for the typical round head brush are cheaper than those for a sonic toothbrush. The use of compatible alternative attachments is not recommended. Their durability is far below that of the original manufacturer, and there may be problems with fit and cleaning.