Can A New Electric Toothbrush Really Get Your Teeth Cleaner?

Becky Worley
Special Contributor, Yahoo! Tech
Upgrade Your Life

The Sonicare has been the gold standard of teeth cleaning for years. Now, the Oral B Deep Sweep says it “removes up to 76% more plaque than the Sonicare FlexCare in hard to reach places.” But is one toothbrush really that much better than another?

The Test
First, please know that I am not a dentist, nor do I have the proper instruments required to do a truly scientific test. So lawyers, take note: my results are really my subjective opinions. That said, here’s what I do to make the test as fair as possible in the comfort of my own bathroom:

I chew up those dental dye tablets – the kind your dentist uses to reveal areas where you haven’t brushed so well. Then I brush one side of my mouth with the Sonicare, for exactly 30 seconds each on top and bottom, then I brush the other side of my mouth for exactly the same time with the Oral B Deep Sweep.

Subjective Differences
The Oral B seems to facilitate more movement of the bristles, the Sonicare feels like higher frequency, smaller vibrations. The Sonicare was a little more tickly than the lower frequency Oral B. The Oral B was heavier and the brush head was bigger than the Sonicare. I like the feel of the Oral B a little better.

The Results
Which gets my teeth cleaner? When I look in the mirror, I don’t see any dye remaining. So I have my producer and editor make a careful inspection. And neither of them notice any difference between the cleaning efficacy of the devices either.

Test #2
This test, I definitely don’t recommend you do yourself: I rub fluorescent paste – the kind that shows up under black light – all over my teeth and into the crevices. The paste really shows up under the black light so maybe we’ll see some that the toothbrushes don’t clean. I brush each of the four quadrants of my mouth with one of the devices, for exactly 30 seconds each. And again, upon close inspection, the teeth all look similarly clean.

Finally, to gauge how much value these high end toothbrushes really offer, I repeat the test, comparing the $129 Sonicare and the $139 Deep Sweep to a $9 Arm & Hammer Spin Brush, and to a regular, manual toothbrush. They, too, did a good job removing the dye.

I really wish that my tests had indicated one brush was significantly different that the other. But my simple dye tests reveled no glaring contrasts. While that doesn’t prove in any way that the toothbrushes are the same, I can tell you that both left my teeth feeling clean. While it was cleaning, I liked the feel of the Oral B the best; it seemed to do a lot of the brushing work for me. The Oral B comes with a separate timer that encourages you to brush a full 30 seconds for each of the four quadrants of your mouth. The Sonicare does the same with beeps, but the little timer device from Oral B was a nice visual nudge to keep brushing. One thing I did like better about the Sonicare- it left my gums feeling a bit tinglier (is that a word?), but you get the idea; the gums got a bit more stimulated from my experience.

But paying $139 for any toothbrush is a lot, and I don’t believe that you really need to spend that much to get your teeth clean, as long as you brush properly and floss to get in the spaces that no brush can reach.

This review is completely independent and editorial. It is based on personal opinion and is not a paid advertisement.

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