With so many electric toothbrush types available on the market, it's often difficult to select the right toothbrush for your own needs. First, let's distinguish between electric toothbrushes and battery-powered toothbrushes.
Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush
A rechargeable electric toothbrush, also known as a "power toothbrush" is the kind you plug into the wall to recharge, keeping the handle and replacing the brush head every three months or so. Rechargeable electric toothbrushes differ among the kind of cleaning technology they use, such as oscillating-rotating (3D Cleaning Action) or sonic technology.
Battery Power Toothbrush
Those who want a dose of power but are weary of electric toothbrushes may like battery power toothbrushes. Like electric toothbrushes, battery power toothbrushes are sometimes simply called “power toothbrushes” due to their use of a AA battery. While similar in design to regular manual toothbrushes, battery power toothbrushes have just enough vibration to add some extra cleaning action.
Once you decide whether you want a rechargeable electric or battery power toothbrush, your next decision will likely be based upon the features of each type of brush.
Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush Features
Generally rich in technology and features, electric toothbrushes provide many oral health benefits. Some can even enable you to improve your brushing habits. Hi-tech features include:
- Numerous brushing modes specialized for sensitive teeth, whitening benefits or gum-massaging action
- Pressure sensors to signal when you’re brushing too hard
- Timers to help you keep track of how long you’re brushing each quadrant of your mouth
- Digital reminders to replace your brush head
- Oscillating-rotating or sonic technology
Multiple brush head compatibility so you can choose which kind of bristle design you prefer
Most electric toothbrushes also come with features for added convenience, like a brush head or toothbrush holder, bathroom-counter storage units and travel toothbrush chargers.
Battery Power Toothbrush Features
While similar in features to regular manual toothbrushes, these kinds of toothbrushes also vibrate to provide additional cleaning action. In addition to those of manual toothbrushes, features include:
- Built-in AA battery that can be replaced in some models
- “On/Off” or “+/-“ button located on the handle
- Bristles or split brush heads specially designed to pulsate along with the vibrations
Other factors that might affect your decision include:
- The need to modify brushing technique: Proper brushing technique varies when using different kinds of toothbrushes. Battery power toothbrushes require you to provide all or most of the brushing action, moving the brush back and forth along all sides of your teeth and gums. In contrast, rechargeable electric toothbrushes provide the cleaning action while you need only guide it along all surfaces. Once they get the hang of it, many people find this method of brushing easier.
- The level of value in terms of features and benefits: Rechargeable electric toothbrushes tend to have a higher price value than battery power and regular manual toothbrushes, but you can find some for as low as $22 MSRP, like Oral-B® Vitality®. Keep in mind that they offer more health benefits and features. Battery power toothbrushes are usually only a few dollars more than ordinary manual toothbrushes.
- The ability to “test-drive” an electric toothbrush: It’s understandable to want to test-out a rechargeable electric toothbrush before buying a hi-tech one for the first time. While your dental professional is the best person to ask for a recommendation, you may also consider some affordable, entry tier options like Oral-B CrossAction® Power Max or Oral-B Vitality. They’re ideal for people who are curious about giving an electric toothbrush a try but want a taste of what it’s like first.