Electric toothbrushes do so much more than polish your teeth, with everything from tongue cleaning to whitening on the table. We put them to the test
Nothing beats the squeaky clean feeling of a trip to the dental hygienist, but the latest wave of electric toothbrushes comes pretty close, offering a thorough clean, whitening powers and even tongue and cheek cleaning. Dentists almost universally recommend using an electric toothbrush, with dentist Hanna Kinsella, founder of oral care brand Icy Bear telling us: “Electric toothbrushes are clinically proven to remove more plaque and bacteria than manual brushes." In fact, research by Foreo, who recently launched the Issa 3 electric toothbrush, reports a 140 per cent increase in oral hygiene using an electric brush over a manual,
Indeed, you can’t achieve the electric toothbrush fresh-mouth feeling from a manual brush, though there are a few downsides to electric brushes. The need to charge them for one, the fact that they’re heavier than a manual brush and they can be noisy.
We put the latest electric toothbrushes through their paces, trying them out for battery life, the different settings and how clean our mouths felt post-brush. Although they didn't all make our edit, the Philips Sonicare Kids deserves a special mention as the best electric toothbrush for children. It's sturdy so good for little hands and has a lower intensity setting making it a good intro to electric toothbrushes for kids. Here are the ones that made our pick of the best.
1. Best luxury electric toothbrush: Oral-B iO Cosmic Black Electric Toothbrush, £400
The spec: micro-vibration technology, iO sense smart charger that provides live coaching and feedback to help you clean your teeth better, 7 brushing modes, smart pressure sensor to stop you from brushing too hard, charging travel case providing 3 hours quick charge,
Our verdict: Most of us don’t brush our teeth correctly - we either apply too much pressure, don’t do it for long enough and don’t reach the areas we need to. This is sometimes magnified even more with electric toothbrushes as those with round heads are meant to be held against and each tooth, rather than moved back and forth. This brush aims to solve all those issues, and perhaps a few more too. It does this firstly with the most intuitive and smart charger we’ve ever seen. The charger acts like your own personal tooth-brushing coach, telling you how long you’ve brushed for, the force you’ve used, the areas you’ve reached (and of course the areas you haven’t). The next bit of whizz-bang technology is the Oral B app. By teaming your brush with the app (super easy to do), you can set goals such as brushing to make your teeth whiter, or a programme specifically to help with gum care - it sets a tooth brushing schedule which you follow to get to your end result. o get the most out of this brush you really do need to utilise all the tech that comes with it otherwise you’ve spent a lot of money without maximising its full potential. If you don’t have a charge point in your bathroom, you’re also probably not going to get the most out of it as you need to be brushing near the charger to be able to take on the instructions it’s giving you. In fact, it’s so high-tech that the only thing this brush doesn’t do (yet) is put the brush to your teeth, you’re still required for that!
2. Best budget electric toothbrush: Ordo Pearl Violet Sonic+ Toothbrush, £49.99
The spec: sonic pulse technology, 4 brushing modes, 2-minute timer, quad-pacer to tell you when to move on to the next section of your mouth, USB charger, replacement heads £5 for one or £18 for four
Our verdict: Thanks to the fact that this utilises sonic technology rather than an oscillating head it means you can use it with the same movement and technique that you would a regular toothbrush - which we are all hardwired to do. Of course, we can’t not reference the price. You really are getting a lot of great toothbrush for this price making it a great option for teenagers who are ready to move onto an electric toothbrush. Or quite simply for anyone who doesn’t want to spend over £100 on one. Our only negative would be that it only comes with one toothbrush head so you will have to stock up on replacement heads fairly quickly.
3. Best eco electric toothbrush: Brushd Electric Toothbrush, £59.99
The spec: recyclable brush heads that are on a subscription service (it comes with two replacement heads), 30-day battery, brushing internal reminder, wireless magnetic charger with a wall mount.
Our verdict: Every Brushd toothbrush is sent with a pre-paid compostable pouch to return used toothbrush heads in, meaning it could not be any easier to recycle them as all the hard work has been done for you. The heads are designed very much in the style of ‘regular’ toothbrushes which allow for really good access to brush the back of the teeth and are really reasonably priced - £6.99 for two. We also really like the fact that you can charge and store the toothbrush on the wall, avoiding the toothbrush sitting on wet sink tops, or even worse, in junky-filled toothbrush cups. However it does only come with one sticky pad, so you have to commit to which sink or bathroom you’re going to be brushing your teeth in, but that’s not the biggest issue to have to deal with. Plus this one looks really nice - a great option for a teenager or if you don’t want a toothbrush that looks like it should belong in a clinical environment.
4. Best electric toothbrush for long-term battery charge: Foreo Issa 3, £152
The spec: sonic pulse technology, non-abrasive silicone bristles, ultra-hygienic silicone brush, ergonomic brush head that adapts to any tooth surface and can be used to massage gums, teeth and tongue, USB charger that gives 365 uses
Our verdict: This is a real hit in the GTG office for so many reasons. First up it has been designed to be used exactly as you would use a ‘regular’ toothbrush, meaning you can stick with the technique we’ve all been hardwired to do when brushing; manically going to and fro across our teeth. It also requires very little charging thanks to the super efficient battery - you can get almost a year out of it. The replacement heads are slightly on the pricey side at £24.99, however you only need to change them every six months (although GTG’s Editorial Director, Victoria says she gets longer out of hers). You know when they need to be switched as the silicone bristles start to detach away. And the design of the bristles are quite unique and have been designed to also be suitable for giving gums, cheeks and your tongue a good clean at the same time - something most of us never do. So if you’re looking for low-maintenance tech that really delivers from your toothbrush, this is very much it.
5. Best electric toothbrush for using in the shower: Silk’n Sonic You Toothbrush, £129
The spec: sonic vibration technology, 300-day long batter life, 3 brushing modes, interval timer, comes with two brush heads and two brush head cases, 100% waterproof
Our verdict The thing that makes this brush really stand out is that it’s very durable. It’s 100% waterproof (a factor you might think all electric toothbrushes should be, but they’re not) which means if brushing your teeth in your morning shower is part of your daily routine, this brush will slot right in. It also has an outstanding battery life. If we had to find a negative it would be that it doesn’t come with a travel case so if you are popping off on hols then you’ll have to throw it in with all your other toiletries.
6. Best electric toothbrush for all-round cleaning: Waterpik Complete Care 9.0, £215
The spec: Rotating head, 3 settings, comes with 2 heads, £19.99 for two replacement heads, 24 hour charge time and a charging dock station and separate water flosser
Our verdict: This electric toothbrush comes as part of a package with the Waterpik water flosser so if you were looking to buy one of those too, then this becomes more of a reasonable investment. The two tools slot into the charging base and the whole thing is fairly sizeable so you need surface space or cabinet space in your bathroom to house it. The charge lasts a week so this is something to think about before buying as you will need to be getting it out fairly reguarly. The toothbrush is very easy and straight forward to use with a simple on/ off button and then another button that alternates the settings. The flosser is brilliant and a genius buy if you find standard flossing tricky as it is super easy to use and also quite enjoyable. It's as close to having a hygienist appointment from the comfort of your own bathroom that you're going to get.
7. Best electric toothbrush for shelfies: ION-Sei Sonic Toothbrush, £98
The spec: Sonic toothbrush, 3 settings, 10-hour charge time, comes with 2 heads, £10.11 for 2 replacement heads
Our verdict: As you’d expect from a Japanese company, this toothbrush looks ultra-high-tech, and slick and has some seriously cool science behind it too. There’s a blue UV LED light in the tip which creates an ionic reaction with the titanium dioxide bar in the brush handle (the black strip you can see in the picture) to release negative ions which actually adhere to the teeth to stop bacteria from reproducing for up to 12 hours. Ion-Sei says that you don’t need toothpaste to get the full cleaning effect of this, just water will have the same cleaning power but we are too scared to ditch our twice-daily dose of fluoride.
8. Best electric toothbrush for braces: Curaprox Hydrosonic Pro, £148
The spec: Sonic toothbrush, 7 modes, comes with travel case, charges via USB and has 10-hour charge time, comes with 2 heads and one attachment for interdental cleaning, £22 for 2 replacement heads
Our verdict: We particularly liked that this toothbrush has a ‘tech memory’ where it remembers which speed you last set the toothbrush to and starts at that speed the next time you use it. This is great for anyone with braces because it has an interdental head to get in all the nooks and crannies. Whether it’s at full charge or two per cent battery, it delivers the same intensity, simply cutting out when there is no battery left. There’s no screen to tell you which mode you’re using so you have to gauge it from how it feels, which takes a little time to get used to and we found the highest setting was quite intense and loud – loud enough to wake people in the next room.
9. Best electric toothbrush for ease of use: Spotlight Sonic Toothbrush, was £110 now £71.50
The spec: Sonic toothbrush, 3 cleaning modes, 15 hours to full charge and battery lasts 240 minutes, comes with three heads
Our verdict: Created by dentists, this is a toothbrush that has been designed with the regular at-home toothbrushes in mind. It's lightweight and super simple to use and after two minutes it automatically switches off so there’s no risk of over-brushing. It takes a fair amount of time to charge up so you need to make sure you’re not left toothbrush-less when it needs to reboot.
10. Best for tongue cleaning: Icy Bear Sonic Whitening Toothbrush, £59.99
The spec: Sonic toothbrush, 2 brushing modes and a tongue cleaning mode, 12-hour charging time, comes with 2 heads
Our verdict: Designed to whiten or, perhaps remove stains is more accurate, this toothbrush was created by cosmetic dentist Hannah Kinsella who runs the Kiln Lane Dental Clinic in St Helen's (she's appeared on the Real Housewives of Cheshire looking after some of the most megawatt smiles). It has two settings and the more intense level is where stains may get blasted away - although we found it quite full-on. However, what does make this brush quite unique is the dedicated tongue-cleaning setting, which you use the back of the brush head to do. It feels really nice and definitely leaves the mouth feeling fresher.
11. Best for a powerful clean: Polished London The Sonic XP Toothbrush, £74.99
The spec: Sonic, 5 modes, comes with 4 heads, 16-hour charge time and battery lasts for three weeks, £14.99 for 2 replacement heads
Our verdict: Powered by twin-engine motors and claims to remove ten times more plaque than a manual toothbrush, this is the zippy sports car of toothbrushes. It's super easy to switch between modes (just a tap of the button) and the modes are written on the front of the brush, with the one you're using lit up so there's no confusion. This also comes with a silicone tongue cleaner on the back of the head but it's the deep clean setting that really impressed us. It was super efficient and our teeth felt really clean after.