Tech know: electric toothbrushes

Considering switching to an electric toothbrush, or upgrading? New high-end models may be better long-term bets than cheaper options, as they are robust, easy to use and often have helpful features.

I tested the Philips Sonicare DiamondClean and Oral B’s Genius 9000. Both have several modes, including "sensitive" and "gum care", and prompt users to move onto the next quadrant of teeth at 30-second intervals during a two-minute clean. It’s a very effective aid for doing a thorough job. Their small charging stands (plus an inductive charging glass for the Philips) require little bench space and there’s also the option of charging them in the sturdy travel cases included: the Philips by USB or powerpoint, the Oral B by powerpoint only, though you can simultaneously charge a smartphone via its case.

Diamond Clean Philips Sonicare electric toothbrush.

This is handy if using the Oral B in conjunction with its app. Your phone can be mounted on the travel-case lid, or on a mirror using the provided device that’s extremely secure but perhaps too fiddly to inspire constant use. Using your phone’s camera and the brush’s Bluetooth connection, the app provides a real-time visual representation of brushing performance, among other feedback and reminders that encourage good dental hygiene.


Clinical studies are necessary to determine which is more effective but for helpful digital features the Bluetooth-enabled Oral B and its app win out. The Philips has an appealing simplicity of design, however, and is also quieter, seems to last longer on a charge and makes brushing back teeth easy.

Oral B Electric Toothbrush Genius 9000



This toothbrush has six modes, including tongue cleaning, and alerts you if using an unhealthy degree of force. Of the nine round, rotating brush heads available, three styles are supplied (including "whitening" with a "polishing cup"). The app has many helpful, even potentially motivating features, such as performance tracking, optional reminders for tasks like flossing and replacing brush heads, and virtual performance trophies, too. According to the manufacturer, a charge lasts up to 12 days.



It has fewer bells and whistles but appeals for its simplicity of design, from a slightly more sleek look to the single button to turn it on and off and switch between five modes. This brush makes accessing back teeth remarkably easy, especially with the smaller of two supplied rectangular brushes, which very rapidly but gently and quietly vibrate. It seems to have a longer charging life – officially it’s up to three weeks.


A new type of dental device recently appeared that apparently cleans all your teeth simultaneously in 10 seconds, instead of having to brush each tooth for a few seconds. They are like sports mouthguards with bristles, which vibrate thanks to the handle containing motor and rechargeable battery. Y-Brush launched last year but pioneer Amabrush filed for insolvency in June.

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