Sonic VS Oscillating Toothbrushes

I’m the type of person that just loves to know everything I can about a topic that interests me, and that often involves doing a lot of research, no matter how painstaking that may be. You might say it’s kind of like a bulldog mentality; once I get my teeth into something I just don’t want to let it go. As you might have guessed, my curious nature really kicks in when I’m buying a new product like an electric toothbrush, so I wanted to make sure I really did my homework before deciding between a sonic and an oscillating toothbrush.

The difference between these two types of brushes is fairly straightforward – the sonic brush uses a vibration technology to vibrate the plaque loose from your teeth, and an oscillating brush rotates rapidly back and forth to accomplish the same thing. They both do a great job of removing plaque from your teeth and either one is a better choice than the manual toothbrush.

The Traditional Electric or Oscillating Brush

The traditional electric or oscillating brush works by using a constant back-and-forth rotating motion that replaces manual brushstrokes. Not only does this technology do the job of brushing for you, it can perform a lot more brushes in a minute than you could do with your own hand and a manual brush. With a manual toothbrush you can expect to achieve at best 300 to 400 brush strokes per minute, but with an oscillating electric toothbrush you can achieve up to 8000 brushstrokes per minute. It’s simple math – the electric toothbrush offers a far superior cleaning experience than your traditional manual brush.

Studies may vary, but most suggest that an oscillating toothbrush can remove as much as 100% more plaque from your teeth than your old manual brush. That in itself is a great reason to upgrade, but it’s not the only reason. An electric toothbrush is also great if you’re suffering from afflictions such as arthritis or carpal tunnel syndrome. The electric brush does most of the work for you so you don’t have to worry about the extra wear and tear on your hands. It’s an added benefit that might not immediately come to mind, but it’s definitely another good reason to switch to an electric oscillating toothbrush.

Common Issues with Electric Brushes

As effective as they are at improving your dental hygiene, electric toothbrushes are not without issues. For one thing, before buying one you want to make sure that replacement heads are easy to find. It’s all right to find a great deal on an electric brush, but if you can’t replace the heads once they wear out it’s not much better than any other manual toothbrush you’ve ever used. It’s always best to choose one of the more popular models, no matter what price range you are looking at, as their popularity tends to make it easier to find replacement heads.

The other problem you may run into with an electric toothbrush is that they’re not as travel-friendly as a manual toothbrush. With manual toothbrushes it doesn’t matter which country you’re traveling to, they’ll all work the same since you don’t need an electrical outlet to recharge them. When choosing an electric brush, on the other hand, you’ll want to be careful to choose one that holds its charge for more than two or three weeks, or one that has USB recharging capability. Different parts of the world use different electrical voltage standards, which means you may not be able to charge your electric toothbrush when traveling out of country.

The Sonic Brush

The sonic toothbrush is an electric rechargeable device just like the more traditional oscillating electric toothbrush, but that’s where the similarities end. The sonic toothbrush head doesn’t rotate to clean your teeth; it uses vibration technology instead. A sonic brush may vibrate as much as 40,000 times per minute. That rapid vibration works the plaque loose from your teeth and is very effective.

Intuitively you’re probably thinking the same thing that I was at this point – the sonic toothbrush must be superior to the standard electric toothbrush due to all those extra brushstrokes per minute. As it turns out that isn’t really the case. Both toothbrush technologies do a much better job of cleaning your teeth than a manual toothbrush and there is very little to choose between the two of them. Apparently, once you get above 8000 brushstrokes per minute there really isn’t much added benefit.

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The Sonic Brush Isn’t Perfect

As great as the sonic toothbrush is at cleaning your teeth it’s not perfect by any means. That rapid vibration can sometimes be very irritating – especially if you have sensitive teeth. Sonic toothbrushes are known for creating a tingly feeling in your mouth and some people find that hard to get used to. It can certainly be uncomfortable if you have sensitive teeth.

The other issue people often find with sonic toothbrushes is that they create a lot of splash in your mouth. That rapid vibration really pushes the fluid around your mouth and if you’re not careful it can lead to a bit of a mess. I don’t want to overstate this, as most people love the clean they achieve with the sonic toothbrush, but it does bear mentioning.

It’s a Tie

After careful consideration and looking at the pros and cons of both brush types, I’d have to say there’s no clear favorite. Both sonic toothbrushes and traditional oscillating electric toothbrushes do a fantastic job of keeping your teeth clean. Either one is much more effective than a manual toothbrush, so it really comes down to a matter of individual choice, and probably a little bit of trial and error.

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