What is the Best Toothbrush ? It’s probably the most subjective question you can ask, and the answer is going to be more opinionated and varied than today’s political pundits. Some will swear by the latest smart phone linked sonic brush, while others want nothing more than the cheapest hardest manual toothbrush they can snag from the Price Mart. Let’s face it, people are fickle with different wants and needs.
I’ve been a practicing Dental Hygienist in the state of Texas for the last 25 years. I’ve worked in all kinds of practices from community clinics to the high dollar cosmetic offices with scotch quaffing jazz pianists in the waiting room. I’ve cleaned over 100,000 mouths, I’ve seen it all and I’ve smelt it all. However, the question I’m most often asked is “What is the Best Toothbrush”? I’m going to answer this question, but first I’m going to preface it by stating that the question is partially flawed; I’ll explain.
In 2003 a study was performed on Dental Students in Spain, to compare the effectiveness of a sonic toothbrush to a manual toothbrush. Now keep in mind these are dental geeks like me, who frequently toast tequila shots to healthy teeth and gums. Half of this group used a manual brush while the other half used a sonic brush. Care to guess what the results were? Zero, that’s right zero. There was absolutely no clinical difference between the two brushes ability to remove plaque and prevent gum disease. The results had nothing to do with the brush but everything to do with the dental student participants. Dental students can see the teeth with the mind’s eye, which makes them exceptionally good at brushing. Think about that for a second; do you see your teeth with your mind’s eye when you brush? I loved this article because it reinforced everything I’d ever told my patients, “It’s not the brush, it’s you, and how well you use it”.
75% of the population brush their teeth on autopilot, using the same brushing technique they learned in the 3rd grade, which is typically a random scrub method. My Job for the last 25 years has been breaking this behavior pattern in favor of a more effective technique. It’s also the number one reason we created the MD Brush which I recommend in this article. Remember those dental students in Spain; they were using a brushing technique called the BASS method? It’s a simple technique that places the bristles 45 degrees to the gum line using short back and forth strokes. This ensures that the bristles penetrate just below the gum line into the small pocket called the sulcus. If you can keep your sulcus clean you will never get gum disease or experience bleeding gums. Unfortunately, the BASS method is very difficult to implement correctly. On a side note, bleeding gums do not mean you’ve traumatized yourself as we often and incorrectly assume. It means you’ve discovered an area where bacteria is growing and the gums are inflamed as a result.
Alright, so you want answers, right? What’s the best toothbrush? I’ll break this down into two categories; electric toothbrushes and manual toothbrushes. The opinions I offer are my own, and based on my professional experience.
Best Toothbrush (Electric) – The advantage of Power brushes is that they bypass the necessity of good brushing technique as plaque removal is facilitated via brute force. Basically, you just need to keep it moving for the required time and it will do the work. BTW, ever wonder where the 2 min brushing recommendation really came from? It came from a toothpaste company back in the 1940s. The assumption was that if you can keep the brush moving in your mouth for two min then you are bound to do some good.
- Sonic Brush – Top End
Phillips Sonicare Diamond Clean – This is the Rolls Royce of electric power brush. It’ the shizzle and you’re not going to be disappointed except at the price. This costly cylinder of technology is going to give you a well-established brand name with the latest NASA inspired advancements in toothbrush tech. I like the quad pacer feature to regulate “time in the mouth”, and the ability to regulate power settings as sonic brushes are notorious for being too powerful and causing sensitivity. The Diamond Clean has the standard soft end rounded bristles which should last 3-4 months. If you like tech and have the cash to burn, this is your choice. $150 – $200
- Sonic Brush – Budget
Fairywill Sonic Brush – This is a Chinese made sonic brush that has been re-branded. The technology is very similar to the Diamond Clean and offers some of the same features. Your essential getting a great sonic brush at 1/5th the price. From the standpoint of effectiveness, I see no difference between the cleaning ability of this brush and the diamond clean; but there is a slight difference in build quality. Amazons easy return policy and the 1 year factory warranty make this a no brain’er. $25 -$30
Best Toothbrush (Manual)
The manual category is a little different than the power brushes. I’m only recommending brushes that enforce good technique and offer tapered bristles. Manual brushes rely on good user technique to be effective so features like angled handles and floss tip bristles are crucial.
- Manual Toothbrush – High End
MDB (MD Brush) 80% of users say it’s the best manual brush they have ever used and will never go back to their old brush. Everything about this brush (grip, bristles, and visual indicators) is designed to get you thinking and brushing like a dental student from Spain utilizing the bass method. The handle is larger than a standard brush but ergonomically made for the average sized human hand. This brush takes a couple of days to master but will absolutely break the cycle of mediocre brushing. Utilizes end rounded and tapered bristles to target the sulcus. This is the brush we created. $15-$18 (2 pack)
- Manual Toothbrush – Budget
This is the only other brush I’ve found that even comes close to the MDB. The grip is adequately oversized, and the brush offers exceptionally fine tapered bristles. This is a VERY soft brush. If you have reasonably good brushing technique there is no reason not to get this brush. Like the MD Brush It was designed to target the sulcus. $2.50 – 3.00 ea
Written by, Mike Davidson Maverick Dental Hygienist and CEO