While you probably invest in a new smartphone or laptop at least every few years, you might never have seriously considered even once buying an electric toothbrush. True, no-one “needs” one when a manual toothbrush suffices; however, the automatic type is generally deemed more effective.
You shouldn’t overlook that particular benefit when you consider that good oral hygiene is crucial for your overall – not just dental – health, as Oral-B notes. However, as electric toothbrushes can hugely vary in their features, which of those should be uppermost in your thoughts?
Does the toothbrush have a 2-minute timer?
A 2-minute timer is one of the features the Electrical Teeth website has classed as “high-importance” – the other is a quad pacer – on any electric toothbrush. This timer will, through triggering a sound or vibration or a change in the brushing sensation, let you know when to stop brushing.
Why two minutes, though? Well, this is the length of time for which dentists, hygienists and governing and medical bodies across various countries advise you to brush your teeth per session.
Is a quad pacer included?
Now, “quadpacer” is one word you’ve probably never read before. However, it refers to another timer that can ensure each quadrant of your mouth gets its fair share of attention from you during brushing. The word “quadrant” is here used for each of four sections of your mouth.
You should spend 30 seconds on each of these sections as you clean. As a 30-second interval elapses, a quad pacer will alert you that it’s time to move on from that part of your mouth.
How long will the battery last between charges?
The consumer watchdog organization Which? has conducted tests to discern how widely battery life can vary between different models of the rechargeable toothbrush. Whereas the long-lasting of the tested models eked out over 184 minutes, the weakest brush mustered just 16 brushes’ worth.
However, battery power might not be a massive factor for you if you expect to often leave your toothbrush on its charger, allowing the battery to be replenished while you’re out of the bathroom.
Will a pressure sensor tell you when you’re pressing too hard?
Scrubbing your teeth harshly in an attempt to remove plaque can be counterproductive, as exerting excessive pressure in this way can itself damage your teeth. Reassuringly, a toothbrush with a pressure sensor will notify you, or even stop pulsing, if you do press too hard.
If your teeth are already chipped or cracked due to years of pressure-intensive brushing, you can still have that damage fixed. You could opt for teeth bonding from Ten Dental, a London-based practice.
How easily will you be able to source replacement brush heads?
Your electric toothbrush will probably come with a few brush heads – but, as each one starts showing worn bristles, you need to replace it. Once you’ve run out of brush heads, you will have to buy new ones. Fortunately, most Oral-B and Philips Sonicare brushes work with various heads, which you can purchase in multi-packs to save money.