Electric Toothbrushes : How it Works and How to Choose Best One

Mouth hygiene and the prevention of its problems are extremely important points and for this they need the best tools available.

The electric toothbrush is increasingly present in people’s homes and there are always new and different models. For this reason, a path among the best electric toothbrushes on the market can help choose the most suitable one.

Electric Tooth Brush

What it is and what it is used for

The electric toothbrush is a tool created for cleaning teeth that acts by means of a rotary, oscillatory movement, but also by means of pulsations or by means of more current technologies.

This movement is generated by a rechargeable battery motor located in the body of the toothbrush itself.

The goal of this device is the deep but gentle removal of food residues, thus preventing the formation of caries. This tool has also proved to be valid in removing plaque and cleaning the space between one tooth and another.

How an electric toothbrush works

In order for the electric toothbrush to express its full potential, it must be used properly.

Once a small amount of toothpaste is applied to the wet bristles, the head must be positioned on the teeth and then activated.

Starting the toothbrush before placing it may lead to splashes of toothpaste due to its rapid movement.

Cleaning is carried out by passing, with a light pressure, the bristles on one tooth at a time, dedicating to each one a few seconds and supporting the surface for a complete cleaning.

The movement must be vertical and include both the internal and external part of the arches.

During the first few days after switching from a manual to an electric toothbrush, there may be slight bleeding from the gums, which will soon disappear.

If bleeding continues for more than two weeks, it is advisable to consult your dentist or dental hygienist.

To clean the brush, simply remove the brush head and wash it under running water. To sanitize, just dip it in a glass containing mouthwash for about half an hour.

As with the manual toothbrush, the bristles of the electric version will also wear out over time. For this reason it is necessary to replace the heads at the right time, in order to continue having a correct cleaning.

Often the same bristles, clearing, will indicate that the time for replacement has come.

How to choose an electric toothbrush

Cleaning mode

One of the main differences between electric toothbrushes concerns the technology used and the type of movements it makes on the teeth at the time of cleaning.

Although all of them are still effective, it is possible to distinguish between:

  • fluctuation
  • Rotation
  • pulsation
  • Sonic technology

A head that rotates and swings simulates manual movement: the first movement always takes place in the same direction, while the other changes direction.

The addition of pulsation has an effective action on the plaque. The pulsations can take place with an internal-external movement or even forward-backward.

This technology, if not too much pressure is exerted, gently massages also the gum thus reducing inflammation and gingivitis.

The sonic technology causes the electric toothbrush to vibrate very quickly and also in this case there is a good action against the plaque.

The top of the bristles move at great speed from the bottom up, while the head sees a combined union of large movements that guarantee a high range of action.

The sonic technology also pushes the toothpaste into the interdental spaces and under the margin of the gums, which are simultaneously massaged.

The various electric toothbrushes also differ according to the different brushing programs.

The type of cleaning to be obtained depends on the combination of several features. You can select the type of brushing based on:

  • Duration
  • Movements
  • Dedicated head

The duration allows you to determine the time required for perfect cleaning, based on the goal you want to achieve.

Movements are an important element in the definition of a brushing program and will be activated according to the desired option.

The size and hardness of the heads can be chosen from many possibilities.

Using for example rubber inserts will allow an effect that recalls professional polishing. There are heads also dedicated to orthodontic patients to allow maximum hygiene even between the platelets, sometimes combined with single-tuft heads for the most difficult to reach areas.

Among the specific programs, the most used are undoubtedly:

  • Daily cleaning : brushing in this case is standard and the time required is about 2 minutes.
  • Whitening effect : movements and head are dedicated to this program. Some models see the ability of the toothbrush to vary speed prolonging the running time.
  • Sensitive teeth : in this case less pressure is applied, or the movements give a massaging effect.

Key features

The electric toothbrushes are more and more rich in technology and this often enriches them with interesting features.

Among the main ones you can find:

  • Timer
  • Pressure sensor
  • Intensity
  • Bluetooth
  • Gradual intensity

The timer allows you to keep an eye on the time that is being used in cleaning by dividing the mouth into quadrants.

Through an acoustic signal or a vibration, the person is then guided to understand when it is time to change the area to be brushed or to finish the cleaning.

The pressure sensor is very useful to avoid applying too much force during movements causing damage and injury to the gums, as well as making the head action less effective.

Intensity involves setting the power level that best suits your needs. This is remarkably useful for sensitive teeth.

Bluetooth is present especially in the most advanced electric toothbrushes and allows connectivity with your smartphone.

This procedure makes it possible to record daily improvements, but also to receive indications in real time to correct one’s brushing.

The gradual intensity, otherwise of the Easy start, sees an increase in power autonomously and gradually for the first 14 days of use. This allows you to familiarize yourself with elements that may be difficult to bear at any moment, such as vibration on the hand or teeth.

Power Supply

A factor that distinguishes the various types of electric toothbrush and that will also affect the price is the type of power supply.

There are two alternatives: internal and fixed batteries, or replaceable batteries.

Electric toothbrushes with replaceable batteries need stylus batteries, which must therefore be changed at the end of the charge.

The models of this type usually belong to the most economic ranges.

In cordless toothbrushes it is the person who has to make the movement along the arches, back and forth, similarly to what happens with a manual toothbrush.

The internal fixed battery electric toothbrushes have a base on which to store the tool once it has been used. This base, connected to the power supply, will recharge the toothbrush.

Battery life varies from model to model, but constant use is guaranteed in principle for at least a couple of weeks.

Some models have a double or even triple charging system, via USB connection, travel case or charging glass.

In the field of power supply by means of a fixed battery, the latter can be lithium, which is better performing and discharges less quickly, or Ni-MH.

The characteristics to consider

Tooth Brush

What are the best features to look for on an electric toothbrush? In recent years, the leading companies in the sector have created so many new technologies that it is easy to confuse them: timersbrushes and pressure, let’s be clear.

Two minute timer

The America Dental Association recommends using electric toothbrushes for two minutes to clean your teeth carefully and effectively. Brushing the teeth for less than sixty seconds means not removing plaque and bacteria that can hide in the mouth and gum, thus causing various problems. Experts say having a two-minute timer on a toothbrush helps to clean your teeth. Depending on the model in question, the timer can be different: from the vibration classification every 30 seconds to the display of a timer with the indication of the remaining time.


The Quad-Pacer technology, applied on the best electric toothbrushes, is a division of the timer of two minutes into four vibrations every 30 seconds. Most devices that use Quad-pacer technology produce a series of pulses to alert a user when it’s time to change the arch or part of the mouth.

Pressure sensor

The most modern toothbrushes are equipped with a pressure sensor that warns the user when you press too much on a tooth or gum.  Modern pressure sensors, currently installed on high-end models, emit a buzz or pressure that indicates when too much pressure is being applied.

Battery: duration and type

The battery of a toothbrush is a feature not to be underestimated. Generally, a rechargeable battery lasts two weeks on average, which is more than enough for even the largest families. When choosing a toothbrush, you must consider the models with the rechargeable battery, instead of the battery rankings: you save time and above all money.

Pros and cons compared to the traditional toothbrush

At this point it is legitimate to ask what would change, for better or for worse, with the transition from a manual to an electric toothbrush.

According to some schools of thought, oral cleaning depends only on the correct movements during brushing.

In this logic, the electric toothbrush could be totally useless, if not even counterproductive, if at the base you are not able to manage it in the most appropriate way: the consequences could be injury to the gums, gingival recessions, caries and other pathologies.

The electric toothbrush allows the removal of plaque and residues thanks to the oscillations and movements that cannot be reproduced manually.

Without a doubt, the electric toothbrush meets those who have difficulty in moving or who, due to other pathologies, do not have the possibility to brush their teeth correctly.

Even children, who still do not have full mastery of fine movements, would seem to benefit greatly from this type of toothbrush.

A point to keep in mind however is that the toothbrush, even if electric and with advanced technology, is not enough and therefore you must never forget the use of dental floss and mouthwash, without forgetting periodic check-ups from your dentist.

Best Electric Toothbrush in India in 2020

Oral-B Kids Electric Rechargeable Toothbrush Featuring Frozen Characters

Oral-B Kids Electric Rechargeable Toothbrush Featuring Frozen Characters

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Philips Sonicare CleanCare+ Sonic Electric Rechargeable Toothbrush

Philips Sonicare CleanCare+ Sonic Electric Rechargeable Toothbrush

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Oral B Vitality Cross Action Electric Rechargeable Toothbrush

Oral B Vitality Cross Action Electric Rechargeable Toothbrush

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Colgate PROCLINICAL 150 Sonic Charcoal Battery Powered Toothbrush

Colgate PROCLINICAL 150 Sonic Charcoal Battery Powered Toothbrush

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Oral B Pro 600 Cross Action Electric Rechargeable Toothbrush

Oral B Pro 600 Cross Action Electric Rechargeable Toothbrush

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FAQ on electric toothbrushes

Questions and answers on electric toothbrushes.

Why not use a manual toothbrush?

The best dentists agreed that the way you brush is better than the product you brush with. So if you and your dentist are really satisfied with your dental hygiene, you probably don’t need to use an electrical product. If, on the other hand, you have yellow teeth, if you find it uncomfortable or boring to apply some force to clean your teeth, then you could consider buying one of these models. The Dr. Katia Friedman, explained: “One of the main benefits of vibration and oscillation is the most thorough cleaning that removes plaque and bacteria much more compared to other manual solutions.”

Should I sign up for a subscription for an electric toothbrush?

Subscription services for electric toothbrushes are an increasingly popular trend. Basically, you buy the base and receive a replacement head at home every month. Receiving a print head per month can help you change the print head more often, but honestly it’s not convenient: it is preferable to make a subscription with Amazon and a type of print head that we prefer.

What kind of bristles should I use?

When it comes to finding the best brush head for the electric toothbrush, soft bristles are the most recommended. The Dr. Ronald Rosenthal, a dentist with over 50 years of experience, he explained that the softer bristles are the best to use.

How often should I clean my toothbrush?

It is always a good idea to clean your toothbrush regularly. The more expensive models are equipped with charging and cleaning stations that use UV light to kill all germs, but are not always necessary. Some studies show that hot water is enough for each use to kill germs and bacteria.


In this guide on the best toothbrushes of 2020, we carefully analyzed every aspect before purchasing a particular model. From models for adults to those for children: hygiene is very important and we are sure that home automation will also help improve our health.

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