The world can be split into two types of people: those who use an electric toothbrush (and swear by it) and those who don’t. For the electric-curious, switching sides can be overwhelming—particularly when some “smart” brushes now come with apps, sensors and highly slick displays. Are the flashy add-ons truly worth it?
Generally, “electric toothbrushes are proven to be more effective, if you use them correctly,” says Brampton, Ontario, dentist Dr. Sanjukta Mohanta. That means holding the brush at a 45-degree angle along the gum line and gliding across the teeth. Cover every part of each tooth, including the back, and brush for two minutes without pressing too firmly or softly. Replacing heads every three months is also essential.
Our tester gave five models a spin—ranging from basic to luxe—and the Oral-B iO Series 8 was a standout. In addition to the brush’s soft bristles and gently vibrating round head, she found its corresponding app—which uses a 3-D model of your mouth to track six zones on each tooth and prompts you when it’s time to move to a different one—the most useful.
Tip: Our tester’s pick is admittedly pricey. The good news? Virtually any soft-bristled electronic brush—when used properly—is better than a manual one.
At $300, it comes with all the bells and whistles, including a sensor that detects when you’re brushing too softly or firmly and a built-in two-minute timer. But the add-ons are only worth it if they prompt you (as they did our tester) to brush better. “I’m already motivated to brush my teeth for two minutes and I know I shouldn’t skip any surface area,” says Mohanta. “But if you need that extra motivation, then do it.”