We’ve been good this week, we tell ourselves. We chose a salad over a burger at dinner, we walked straight past the bakery window without buying all the sausage rolls, and we even did a bit of yoga (bending over to pick up the post counts, right?) But for all the good deeds we do for our bodies over the course of the week — heck, over the course of a lifetime — there’s one aspect of a healthy lifestyle that many of us are guilty of neglecting: our oral health. But even if you forget to floss or neglect to gargle, there’s one sure way to achieve a healthy smile: investing in a good electric toothbrush.
But why specify electric? Are electric toothbrushes better than manual toothbrushes? In short: yes. They’re clinically proven to provide a superior clean, last longer, and cut down on waste from throwing away disposable manuals, so really, they’re the superior choice. The next big decision is which one to buy.
For whitening, look for a brush head with firm bristles to scrub away the surface stains that conceal pearly whites. Teamed with one of our picks of the best teeth whiteners, you'll be on your way to a sparkling white smile in no time. If it’s brilliant care for braces you’re after, look for a brush that reaches all angles or propels water between the teeth to catch lurking bacteria. If you’re looking to cultivate good habits, either in yourself or in your little ones, look for a smart brush that incentivises proper cleaning or logs brushing behaviour. We’ve even picked a couple of travel-friendly USB charging toothbrushes, perfect for uni, camping, or overnight trips.
After that, it’s all down to your budget and how many features you need. If you have good overall dental health and you can commit to sticking to your four minutes a day, you needn’t go above and beyond for a really good clean, as our mid-range picks show.
It might come as a surprise to some that a big brand name hasn’t taken our top spot, but they’ve been pipped to the post by a worthy competitor, the Foreo Issa Hybrid. The best electric toothbrush for whitening and overall performance on our list, its silicone and PBT polymer bristles gently scrub away surface stains, leaving teeth looking bright and feeling smooth, and contribute to overall oral health by eliminating plaque buildup without irritating gums. It’s also conveniently chargeable by USB, making it great for travel. The Foreo ISSA Hybrid comes in a variety of colours and is, we think, the most stylish looking electric toothbrush around.
Oral-B’s telltale round brush heads contribute to this brush’s success in the oral hygiene department. A combination of oscillation, rotation and pulsation makes for a 360 clean, breaking up stubborn plaque and sweeping away bacteria. There’s only one mode, but for an everyday clean feel, it’s probably the only mode you’ll need. For a clinically-proven effective daily brush, with no lights or gimmicks, this is a sure bet.
Philips’ patented sonic technology promises improved gum health in just two weeks, a big claim for a little brush, but if you suffer from gingivitis or periodontitis, you may be pleasantly surprised. The Sonicare brush has five cleaning modes to treat each area effectively, and comes with a UV sanitiser for peace of mind. If you have sensitive teeth or gums, and find the rotary cleaning action of Oral-B brushes to be a little harsh, this is an excellent alternative.
The Oral-B Smart Series is an overachiever if we ever saw one, but by gum do we love it, and dentists do too. It costs a pretty penny, but for ultra-important oral health, if you have the cash to spend, we think it’s worth it. The round head is clinically proven to clean better than oval competitors, and the inbuilt pressure control reduces speed and tells you if you brush too hard, helping to conserve delicate gum tissue. Cleverest of all is the wireless SmartGuide, which gives you real-time feedback to improve habits and health. If there’s room in your budget, it’s peerless.
If you’re looking for the best electric toothbrush for children, look no further — the Philips Sonicare for Kids has our vote, offering gentle but effective plaque removal, with two brush head sizes for a toothbrush that’ll grow with them. It also offers an invaluable service: instilling in kids the skill to see to their own dental hygiene, and make it fun at the same time with customisable stickers and fun noises at time intervals to keep them going.
If you’re jetting off around the world, or even heading off on a camping trip where plugs will be few and far between, this Colgate toothbrush with included USB-charging case is an incredibly clever solution, making it our best electric toothbrush for travel. Don’t be put off by how light it is — it still leaves teeth feeling clean and smooth and whisks away food particles in an instant. If you’re a frequent traveller, this is an excellent investment, but for the price, you could get an equally brush for home use, such as the Oral-B Cross Action.
Beating the Oral-B Smart Series 6500 by a whisker, the DiamondClean is the most expensive on our list, but for its gentle and effective cleaning action on fixed appliances, it’s our best electric toothbrush for braces. It drives fluid between the teeth to clean hard-to-reach places along the gum line, and comes packed with five different cleaning modes to tick all the oral hygiene boxes. Together with the glass charging base, it cuts a dashing figure in the bathroom, but again, it is very expensive.