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Oral B Versus Sonicare

Updated on October 28, 2014

What is the Best Electric Toothbrush?

Sonicare and Oral B are the most popular electric toothbrushes. As a user of the both systems, I love them equally, and I'll show you why. They both have strong points and weaknesses, but they are the best on the market. The two vendors, Braun and Phillips, hold most of the market by creating great quality products and by constantly improving them. Many times users are put in front of a dilemma, which one to buy, which one is the better of the two. The answer is not easy, both of them are equally good, but they have a slightly different approach to cleaning and this make them appeal to different market segments.

To make things even more complicated, I added another great electric toothbrush on the list, the Rotadent. The Rotadent is less famous than the other two, but it is a great brush if you take the time through the learning curve of using it.

Philips Sonicare HX6972/10 FlexCare Plus

  • The gentle clean promotes healthy gums, and decreases the gum tenderness.
  • It has five brushing modes with gum care mode to allow gum to heal as fast as possible. Some reported results as fast as two weeks.
  • Features: Easy-Start, Smartimer, and Quadpacer
  • It has an UV Sanitizer for your brush head to kill bacteria and other microbes on the brush.
  • A single charge can last up to three weeks of power, which makes it a great brush to travel with.
  • The contoured brush head is designed to remove the plaque all along the gum-line.
  • Decreases the gum bleeding and helps the stop of gum recession.

Beautiful smile and white teeth
Beautiful smile and white teeth

Oral-B or Sonicare - Which Is Better?

Which Toothbrush Cleans Better?

This is probably one of the most asked question when it comes to buy an electric toothbrush. As I mentioned earlier, this is mostly a personal preference matter. I know a lot of people who tried both and prefer the Sonicare, while other prefer the Oral B. Some, only tried one vendor, stuck with it, and never tried anything else because they were happy with their product.

The major difference between the two is the brush's movement type. This seems to be the major factor when people choose one over the other. Oral B has an oscillatory movement, whereas Sonicare has a vibrating movement.

A common question about the two brands is: Which one is better for gum recession?

Well, according to to a study published by NIH here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9487838, both of the systems have been proved effective for improving the recession of gum, and reducing plaque. However, the most effective of the two was found to be the Sonicare.

Despite this study, I still think they are very close. Moreover, other studies show closer results, so choosing the right one is just a matter of personal taste.

My advice is to do what I do, use both, each one will work on areas in which the other one performs poorer.

Update:
Starting 2012, Oral-B got very serious with their sonic brushes. These brushes are similar to the Sonicare line, and use vibrations as the cleaning motion. The new line is called Pulsonic and it features 27,000 vibrations per minute, a little behind the competition which has 31,000 vibrations per minute.

The Pulsonic has already received great reviews from both, customers and specialists, but Philips' products still reign for this particular segment, according to customers' ratings.

Oral-B Professional Care SmartSeries 5000

  • Wireless SmartGuide helps maximize brushing performance
  • 5 modes: Daily Clean, Sensitive, Massage, Whitening, Deep Clean, this must be one of the best features of the new Oral B brushes.
  • Specialized brushes for precise cleaning routine. I particularly like this feature, and it is one of the reasons I couldn part ways with Oral B. Using the small heads to reach in hidden places is so easy with them.
  • Advanced cleaning between teeth, simulating flossing, when using the special designed “Floss Action” brushes. Again, one of the best features in my opinion.
  • “Precision Clean” with the special designed brush for clean teeth and healthy gums
  • The “Pro White” brushes will help with an advanced cleaning and whitening, its design being inspired by the dentist’s polishing cup.
  • Use the “Sensitive Clean” for a gentle, yet effective cleaning using very soft bristles. Soft heads with electric toothbrushes were firstly introduced by Rotadent, and many dentists recommended them because of their gentle action on gums. This is a great feature again in my book.

Side by Side Comparison

Sonicare

  • Cleaning Motion - Vibrations
  • Quadpacer (Timer) - Yes
  • Multi Cleaning Modes - Yes
  • Pressure Sensor - No needed
  • UV Cleaner - Some models
  • Noise Levels - Low noise level
  • Battery Indicator - Yes
  • Easy-Start - Some models

Oral-B

  • Cleaning Motion - Pulsation, rotation, oscillation
  • Quadpacer (Timer) - Yes
  • Multi Cleaning Modes - Yes
  • Pressure Sensor - Yes
  • UV Cleaner - No
  • Noise Levels - Medium noise level
  • Battery Indicator - Yes
  • Easy-Start - No

Comments about the missing features.

The UV sanitiser makes some of the Sonicare brushes a little more expensive, but don't forget, you always have the option to buy the ones without a sanitizer. The new models from Philips have changed the brush heads, and now these are less expensive than the previous models. Before the new models, this was a serious factor in deciding one over the other, since the heads for Braun brushes were less expensive.

The easy start on the Sonicare and not present on the Oral B is quite a nice feature for someone who never used an electric toothbrush. It allows the user to acclimate to the new brushing type by gradually increasing the brushing power over a few days.

On the other hand this is not useful for someone who regularly uses a toothbrush.

Oral B vs. Sonicare - A Subjective Comparison

Oral B vs Sonicare
Oral B vs Sonicare

This is a personal and subjective comparison, that may or may not help you decide. As an active user of both toothbrushes, I can make a comparison of the look and feel, and overall impression.

  • I personally love the Sonicare more because of the less movement in your mouth. The Oral B feels jittery in my mouth, and while most of the time I have no problem with that, there are days that I just cannot stand it.

  • Another pro of the Sonicare is the reduced noise, the Oral B is a bit noisier.

  • People have reported that Sonicare is less reliable than the Oral B, but the warranty covers for a prompt replacement and paid shipping for the return of the defective one. The warranty for the Philips Sonicare is two years, and the warranty for the Oral B is two years as well.

  • For me Sonicare is doing a better job with the plaque. I own both the Phillips and the Braun toothbrushes. If I only use the Sonicare for a few days I get cleaner teeth than if I use only the Oral B.

    But as I mentioned before, I use the Oral B to complement my other toothbrush, and that works great.

  • Both of them accumulate gunk if you don't remove the brush head and rinse thoroughly after brushing. The old Phillips model, the one with screw type head is the worst.

  • No matter what, you need to replace the brush head every three months. Both manufacturers feature brush heads with reminder bristles, that changes color to remind you it's time.

  • I think that the variety of brush heads is a great strength of the Braun's toothbrush, giving you access in more places than the Phillips.

  • Phillips are made in China, the Oral-B Professional 3000 is made in Germany.

Other Great Electric Toothbrushes - The Best Competitors of Phillips and Braun

Other great electric toothbrushes are: Spinbrush Pro, Brushpoint Vital Health, Ionic, Rotadent, Pursonic, Violight Slim Sonic, Ultreo, Emmi-dent, etc...

The real competitors of the two manufacturers though, are Rotadent, the ultrasonic toothbrushes from Emmi-dent, and the ionic toothbrush from Dr. Tungs.

A special product in the oral care market is the ionic toothbrush. The ionic toothbrush was invented in Japan, and while there are a few contradictory reports, the vast majority of people who used it, say that this technology is better than any electric toothbrush.

Sonicare vs Oral B
Sonicare vs Oral B

Electric vs Manual - Toothbrush Poll

Some dentists are still reluctant to recommend the electric toothbrush over the regular, manual brush; they say that choosing an electric brush is just a matter of convenience, rather than efficiency, and using the right manual brush is more effective. The studies, however, say that brushing with an electric brush is more effective for removing plaque.

Why are you using an electric toothbrush?

See results

Rotadent Classic Electric Toothbrush - Zila Prodentec Rotadent Classic ToothBrush With 3 Brush Heads

Rotadent is one of the best products on the market, and is mainly sold in the dentists office. The reason for this is that the brush needs special handling, and your dentist can show you how to use it. If you don't use it properly you will be disappointed and you might even break your toothbrush. Don't be scared though, if you use these properly it will last you forever. People change them every 6-9 years, that says something about the reliability of this product.

The Zila Prodentec - Rotadent brush head has very fine bristles, compared to other manufacturers. This makes the brush bristles very flexible, and allows them to reach places where other electric toothbrushes won't reach. The result is a close to perfection brushing, that leaves almost nothing to floss.

How To Use the Rotadent and Why Is this the Best Electric Toothbrush?

Pros and Cons of Rotadent

The biggest advantage of the Rotadent is that it will reach places where your floss won't reach, (the Waterfloss will though).

Another big advantage is its robustness, it lasts for years.

You have three different brush heads, for different hard to reach places.

It gently massages your gums stimulating them.

It is extremely quiet.

It protects your enamel from abrasive forces. For people with soft enamel, this is huge.

It will prevent periodontal disease, and will tremendously improve the condition for those who have it.

The biggest disadvantage with the Rotodent is the steeper learning curve than with the other toothbrushes.

How to Use Rotadent

Gently run the brush over the gum line and the teeth. Don't apply pressure at all. The upper teeth are to be brushed in a M pattern and the bottom teeth in a W pattern.

Change the brush head on a weekly pattern, some heads reach better in some places and some reach other places. The heads complement each other.

Use the Rotodent with gel only, and not with toothpaste. It is recommended by the manufacturer anyway.

Toothbrushes (photo by K J Payne)
Toothbrushes (photo by K J Payne)

Why do We need Electric Toothbrushes?

Manual or Electric Brushing?

Some dentists, (not so many lately), argue that we actually don't need them, and by using a soft bristle regular toothbrush we can obtain the same great cleaning. I tried both manual, and electric brushes, and I can tell you, manual brushing never leaves me the clean feeling that I feel with my electric toothbrush. There are also a few studies that showed that, for patients with receding gums, the regular use of electric brushes improves their condition within six months.

In my opinion, electric toothbrushes are cleaning better that manual, and anyone should own one.

Oral-B Pc Bn Oral-B Elec. Toothbrush
Oral-B Pc Bn Oral-B Elec. Toothbrush

Pros: Quiet, Small, Wall mounted stand.

Cons: Less brushing modes, cannot be defaulted for a brushing mode.

 

Oral-B Pulsonic Electric Toothbrush

The Pulsonic is the Oral B's competitor for the pulsing toothbrushes. The Pulsonic is the slimmest electric toothbrush from Oral B, which was one of the biggest problems with the rotating-oscillating toothbrushes.

One of the nicest features of this toothbrush is that is more silent than the Sonicare, its biggest competitor. Although scientific tests haven't been done until the date of this review, both clean your teeth about the same, that means great.

Another great feature is the wall mounted charger, which can be optionally placed on a counter if you want. My wife loves the Oral-B's wall mounting option, which allows you to keep the bathroom counter tidy.

The drawback of the Pulsonic is that to select the sensitive mode, you need to go through regular. That means either splash toothpaste all over, or get a few second of more intense brushing.

Girl Smiling Showing Beautiful Healthy Teeth
Girl Smiling Showing Beautiful Healthy Teeth | Source

What else Can I Do for my Gum's Health

Use more than one electric toothbrush

Well, I own two electric toothbrushes, a Braun Oral-B, and a Phillips Sonicare. My personal favorite is the Philips, but I use the Braun once, or twice a week. This gives me the best of the two worlds.

on the other hand, my wife and my daughters prefer the the Braun, as their main toothbrush, but they use the Sonicare too, every now and then.

If you can afford it, I strongly recommend to use both the Sonicare and Oral B. It really makes a difference.

Flossing is extremely important as well. A proper flossing will improve your dental health tremendously. I use regular floss and a water pick.

Update: I now own the air pick from Phillips. See my airfloss review. This thing is great.

Mouthwash should also be part of your teeth cleaning routine, if you have dental problems, see this page about the best mouthwashes.

© 2012 Dorian Bodnariuc

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    • David Stone1 profile image

      David Stone 3 years ago from New York City

      It was interesting. I have owned a waterpik, and I floss regularly. But I agree with you, nothing gets my teeth cleaner than a quality toothbrush. I'm an Oral-B user, and another thing I would mention is the variety of brushes available. I use a flossing brush, and the results are excellent.

    • TolovajWordsmith profile image

      Tolovaj Publishing House 3 years ago from Ljubljana

      With all these advance technology bacteria have no chance!

    • Charito1962 profile image

      Charito Maranan-Montecillo 3 years ago from Manila, Philippines

      Hi. I believe electric toothbrushes are still better than the ordinary. - Ms. Charito from the Philippines

    • Babu Mohan profile image

      Mohan Babu 3 years ago from Chennai, India

      Thanks for a great review of the two electric brush options.

    • profile image

      Marelisa 3 years ago

      This lens is so timely for me. I used to have an electric toothbrush, and I loved it but it died on me. Then I went back to using a regular toothbrush. The electronic toothbrush is much better: my teeth were whiter and my gums were healthier. I'm definitely going back to an electric toothbrush. Since I also want a Waterpik, I'm thinking of getting the Waterpick + sonic toothbrush combo. Thanks for a great review.

    • shellys-space profile image

      Shelly Sellers 4 years ago from Midwest U.S.A.

      I have not tried an electric toothbrush (yet). Honestly, my dentist always gives me a soft bristle brush and it just never seems to clean my teeth the way I want and end up buying another toothbrush.

    • profile image

      diligentwheel lm 4 years ago

      Thanks for the information

    • mariacarbonara profile image

      mariacarbonara 4 years ago

      Are electric toothbrushes better than a normal toothbrush?