Testing out electric toothbrushes
VANCOUVER -- Brushing your teeth for two minutes, twice a day, is the best thing you can do to keep your teeth healthy.
That's what Kelly Starzec is teaching her son - about bacteria and plaque and how to keep his teeth clean, to prevent tooth decay and gum disease.
"Every night I brush my teeth with my kids to make sure they're brushing properly," she says. "I like the electric toothbrush because I, admittedly, am not always the best flosser – but my dentists think I am."
Some studies suggest an electric toothbrush may help keep your teeth cleaner. But they can cost well over $100, and it's important to choose the right one. So Consumer Reports took a look.
"Our volunteers were told to skip brushing or using other dental products for eight hours," Misha Kollontai, Consumer Reports' testing engineer says. "We then had a dental hygienist check their plaque levels."
Each volunteer was then given an electric toothbrush and asked to brush for two minutes. After that, the hygienist measured their plaque levels again.
"The before and after differences gave us our cleaning performance score," Kollontai says. "We also tested for battery performance, ease of use, and noise."
The electric toothbrush that came out at the top of the ratings was the Oral B Genius X 10000, which costs $250. It has six brushing modes, Bluetooth connectivity, a pressure sensor, timer and charge level indicator. It was the top choice because it's easy to use.
But if you're looking for something less expensive, the Philips Sonicare ProtectiveClean 6100 also did well, and costs $150. It has three brushing speeds and modes, a pressure sensor and timer, and also has a charge level indicator.
Whether you're using a top-of-the-line electric toothbrush or a manual, non-electric one, experts say the way you brush makes a difference. Angle your toothbrush at 45 degrees to reach the space between the teeth and gums. Try focusing on two teeth at a time, working your way around your mouth. And don't brush too hard – that could do more harm than good, especially if you have a receding gum line.
Something else to consider when shopping for a toothbrush - how much waste plastic manual toothbrushes create. By using an electric model, you only have to replace the brush head, so you’re tossing out a little less plastic every time.
With files from Consumer Reports