New Toothbrush Tech Takes The Guess Work Out Of Brushing

Make your next trip to the dentist a happy one with these products guaranteed to up your toothbrush game.

Arm & Hammer recently added the Sonic Pulse toothbrush ($9) to its Spinbrush line.

So why is ultrasonic cleaning better? Compared to a regular electric, a sonic one creates vibration up to 10 times faster – that’s equivalent to as much as 31,000 brush strokes.

Part of its effectiveness comes from tiny cleaning bubbles created in the water and toothpaste between the bristles and your teeth–the more fluid, the more bubbles, so prep by rinsing your mouth and the brush head.

And why wait till your next checkup for your dentist to tell you your oral care routine could use tweaking? The latest model in the Philips Sonicare line, the Flexcare Platinum Connected ($200, below), sends a report to your smartphone each time you brush. Details include where you’re brushing too little, too hard or scrubbing.

And it turns out we could use the warning since going at our teeth like we’re scouring a stained casserole dish can damage both teeth and gums–and is one of the most common things we do wrong. Over time, aggressive brushing can lead to gum recession, and literally, getting “longer in the tooth” which can increase the risk of decay and tooth loss.

Another common no-no is holding onto a toothbrush too long. No more guessing with the Sonicare app. By monitoring actual brushing time and pressure, it alerts you precisely when to swap out the brush for a new one. The toothbrush itself corrects for yet another common mistake–rushing it. The handle vibrates every 20 seconds, prompting you to move to the next section, for a total of two minutes. What gets measured, gets done.

A version of this article appeared in the May 2017 issue with the headline, “Once You Go Sonic,” p. 26.