The Seven Best Toothbrushes, All Approved by Dental Experts
For such a utilitarian item, there sure are a lot of toothbrushes on the market. While having options can be nice, it can be hard to know where to start when you're shopping for these essentials. Is one better than the other? And what about electric models? Are they worth the splurge? According to the American Dental Association (ADA), both electric and manual toothbrushes can be used effectively to remove the plaque that causes tooth decay and disease.
That said, across the board, dentists are quick to praise electric toothbrushes. "Think of manual toothbrushes as shoveling snow and power toothbrushes as a snowblower," says Dr. Charles Sutera, FAGD, a board-certified dentist in Massachusetts. "The horsepower of the toothbrush allows more thorough hygiene in significantly less time—a formula for hygiene success." When shopping for an electric toothbrush, the most effective way to objectively compare them is to look for pulsations and oscillations per minute, says Dr. Sutera. "The more oscillations or pulsations per minute, the more effectively the toothbrush can clean."
But electric toothbrushes tend to be much more expensive, and they can be difficult to carry in travel. Manual brushes, on the other hand, cost just a couple of dollars and can be found at nearly any convenience store. When shopping for a manual brush, the ADA recommends looking for one with multi-level or angled bristles and soft to medium bristles for superior plaque removal that's gentle enough for gums. No matter which route you go, look for the ADA Seal of Acceptance, which means the toothbrush has been carefully evaluated by the ADA Council on Scientific Affairs for both safety and efficacy.
Here, a handful of sealed products with the additional accolade of being dentist-recommended:
- For Small Mouths: Oral-B 6000 SmartSeries Electric Toothbrush
- For an Ergonomic Clean: Hello Black Replaceable Head Toothbrush Starter Kit
- For a Smart Brush: Philips Sonicare Flexcare Platinum Electric Rechargeable Toothbrush
- For Affordability: BURST Electric Toothbrush with Charcoal Sonic Toothbrush Head
- For a Custom Clean: Philips Sonicare DiamondClean Smart 9300 Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush
- For Most Eco-Friendly: Plus Ultra Bamboo Toothbrush
- For a Manual Brush: GUM Technique Deep Clean Toothbrush
For Small Mouths
"Oral B is known for using smaller round heads that are easier for people with small mouths," says Dr. Sutera. Because of this design, it's also easier to reach tighter areas of the mouth, he explains.
Shop Now: Oral-B 6000 SmartSeries Electric Toothbrush, $119.94, walmart.com.
"I love how soft the bristles are, the ergonomics of the handle, and how sustainable the brush is," says Dr. Lawrence Fung, cosmetic dentist and founder of Silicon Beach Dental. The brush has floss-tipped taper bristles for effective tooth and gum cleaning with minimal risk for gum recession, he explains. And instead of tossing the whole thing when it's time for a replacement, you simply remove and replace the head.
Shop Now: Hello Black Replaceable Head Toothbrush Starter Kit, $9.99, hello-products.com.
"This smart toothbrush is the best one on the market today," says Dr. Joseph Salim, a board-certified dentist in New York. It's gentle on your teeth and gums, plus has a companion app that gives you feedback on how you did when you brushed and the areas that you need to improve going forward.
Shop Now: Philips Sonicare Flexcare Platinum Electric Rechargeable Toothbrush, $140.01, amazon.com.
Though a fraction of the price of many other touted electric toothbrushes, the Burst is an excellent choice, says Dr. Greg Gelfand, a board-certified dentist in New York. It has three brushing modes, a two-minute timer with a movement reminder every 30 seconds, and oscillates at an impressive 33,000 sonic vibrations per minute.
Shop Now: BURST Electric Toothbrush with Charcoal Sonic Toothbrush Head, $69.99, amazon.com.
"I love that the Sonicare DiamondClean has multiple settings and can accommodate all of the brand's head attachments," says Dr. Sophya Morghem, a board-certified dentist in San Francisco. For people with a strong gag reflex, she recommends using the kids' brush head attachment. "It's a compact head that is great for getting the hard to reach areas like the back of the upper molars."
Shop Now: Philips Sonicare DiamondClean Smart 9300 Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush, $199.95, amazon.com.
"This toothbrush is not only kind to your body, but also to the environment," says Dr. Dianna Cortese, a board-certified dentist in New York. It has soft bristles that are gentle on the teeth and gums—great if you have receding gums or sensitivity, she explains. Plus, the bamboo handle is organically grown, biodegradable, and free from BPA, parabens, and plastic.
Shop Now: Plus Ultra Bamboo Toothbrush, $16.99 for four, amazon.com.
"If you're looking for a manual toothbrush, the GUM Technique Deep Clean Toothbrush in soft is my favorite, hands down," says Misty Mattingly, a dental hygienist at Sage Dental. It's easy to grip and has extended bristles for a deeper clean in hard-to-reach areas, she explains.
Shop Now: GUM Technique Deep Clean Toothbrush, $14.99 for 12, amazon.com.