We use technology for almost everything in our lives, from programming our thermostats to making our grocery list. So why not use it for our dental hygiene as well? Sure enough, more than 130 million Americans used a power toothbrush in 2020, with the number increasing every year.
That being said, not every electric toothbrush is the same. You have oscillating rotary toothbrushes, ultrasonic toothbrushes, and you have the Sonic kind. Some rotate to clean your teeth, whereas others vibrate. Some models can do both, depending on the brand. You need to understand where the lines blur if you want to make a proper choice.
But what exactly is a Sonic toothbrush, and how can it help you clean your teeth properly? This article will go through the benefits and features of such a toothbrush so that you can know exactly what choice to make.
What Are Sonic Toothbrushes?
Sonic toothbrushes are often confused with rotating toothbrushes, but they are very different. Sonic toothbrushes do not rotate – they just vibrate at a very high speed. When you look at a Sonic toothbrush, you often see the standard shape of a toothbrush attached to a bigger body.
The technology behind a Sonic toothbrush is quite simple: the more movement, the deeper the penetration. Sonic toothbrushes vibrate at high frequencies, efficiently removing the plaque while encouraging fluid dynamics. As a result, toothpaste reaches much deeper between the teeth, removing hidden plaque while preventing cavities.
How Are They Different from Other Electric Toothbrushes?
Similar to manual toothbrushes, you still need to move the electric toothbrush back and forth in your mouth. However, unlike oscillating rotary brushes, the oval head gives you more coverage over the teeth.
That being said, a Sonic toothbrush creates more movement compared to manual brushes, and even rotary brushes. The average oscillating toothbrush makes around 8,000 rotations per minute. On the other hand, Sonic toothbrushes can easily reach 40,000 movements per minute. This makes them more efficient at removing plaque and food from between your teeth.
What Can Sonic Toothbrushes Help You With?
Sonic toothbrushes can help you with various teeth issues, ensuring thorough cleanliness. Here are the most common conditions where it may prove helpful:
Plaque develops in your mouth when you have bacteria that mix up with starchy or sugary food. This includes pasta, bread, fruit, soft drinks, milk, and juice. When you do not brush your teeth properly after your meals, a sticky film forms on your teeth, which may contribute to gum disease and tooth decay. Sonic toothbrushes are powerful enough to remove that sticky buildup, no matter how much you have. They can remove bacteria and leftover food before it has the chance to turn into something more problematic, such as tartar.
Tartar is a mineralized/calcified plaque that sticks to your teeth and can be quite tenacious to remove. For the most part, once it reaches the stage of bulk tartar, you can only have it safely removed by going to the dentist. However, Sonic toothbrushes can usually handle small amounts of tartar, preventing it from bulking up. Since these toothbrushes also remove plaque efficiently, the chance of tartar forming is reduced. This should help you keep your dental appointments at a minimum.
While brushing alone cannot remove existing stains from your teeth, Sonic toothbrushes can potentially prevent newer stains from forming. Stains occur when you consume foods and ingredients, such as coffee, that can potentially leave spots on your teeth. Using a Sonic toothbrush can help remove most of the coloring item before it sets, doing a much better job than a regular toothbrush. This can help keep your teeth whiter for longer.
Cavities are caused by plaque buildup on your teeth. Featuring a combination of bacteria and food, the plaque will eventually start digging a hole in your tooth enamel. Cavities often form in hard-to-reach areas where you cannot use your toothbrush, causing the film to build up with every meal. Sonic toothbrushes can penetrate deeper into those areas, using vibration to dislodge the food. This can prevent cavities from forming in the long run.
Bad breath occurs when there are bacteria in your mouth and is mostly problematic in people with plaque and tartar. Bad breath can also occur when you have decaying food between your teeth, which you cannot reach with a regular toothbrush. Flossing could prevent this from happening, but only around 41% of Americans floss their teeth at least once a day. A sonic toothbrush can reach deeper between your teeth, making it not so tragic anymore if you fail to floss in a day.
Advantages of Sonic Toothbrushes
Sonic toothbrushes bring several advantages to the table, including the following:
Safer for Your Gums
With manual toothbrushes and rotating toothbrushes, there is a good chance that you may harm your gums during the brushing movement. This can lead to sensitivity and even bleeding, especially if you hit your gums a lot. However, Sonic toothbrushes have a gentler action. The vibration effect reduces friction, which means you won’t be putting as much pressure on your sensitive gums.
The average toothbrush can only do so much for your teeth, especially if you do not have the patience to brush properly. On the other hand, Sonic toothbrushes do much more in one minute than a simple toothbrush can. While it is recommended to stick to the 2-minute rule brought by the ADA, you will get a lot done even if you only brush for one minute.
When you use a manual toothbrush, you will have to replace it after three months. With a Sonic toothbrush, you will only need to replace the head. This will lead to less waste, allowing you to do your part in protecting the environment. It may not sound like much now, but in the long run, you will make a difference.
Fun to Use
Sonic toothbrushes are generally fun to use for kids, especially those who slack around when they brush their teeth. Their action will give a “wow” element that may intrigue your children, causing them to brush their teeth for the whole two minutes. This will also take away your fear that they are not brushing their teeth properly.
Main Features of a Sonic Toothbrush
Most Sonic toothbrushes come with several technical features that you may find useful. These can include:
According to the ADA, you should brush your teeth for two minutes, twice a day. That being said, not everyone respects these recommendations. They either do not have the patience to stay for the whole two minutes or simply do not realize that not enough time has passed.
Most Sonic toothbrushes have 2-minute timers that shut the brush off automatically, ensuring you meet the ADA recommendations. Moreover, some units beep every 30 seconds so that you know when to change the quadrant that you are currently brushing.
For good oral hygiene, you should change your toothbrush once every 3 months. This helps avoid bacteria buildup while ensuring the bristles remain as efficient as possible. However, not everyone remembers to do this. If you have a manual toothbrush that you are using incorrectly, you may end up having the same toothbrush for more than half a year.
Usually, Sonic toothbrushes have reminders to prevent this from happening. They will remind you to replace the brush quarterly, ensuring efficient brushing while helping you take care of your hygiene.
Many people have a rather “violent” way of brushing their teeth. They either overbrush or exert too much pressure, leading to abrasion or gum issues. On the other hand, Sonic brushes often come with sensors that measure exactly how much pressure you exert on your teeth while brushing. This could help prevent teeth damage in the long run.
Depending on the brand you choose for your Sonic toothbrush, you may have different cleaning modes to pick from. For instance, you can choose from certain ways to clean your teeth based on what your goals are. If you have sensitive teeth or gums, then you may want a toothbrush with a sensitive cleaning mode. This will offer a gentle type of cleaning that will produce as little discomfort as possible.
Easy to Use
Sonic toothbrushes have bigger handles that are much easier to grab onto. Also, since they do most of the brushing on their own, they represent a great option for people with limited mobility. Since you do not need to make as many movements yourself, these toothbrushes are amazing for those with arthritis or other similar conditions that cause mobility discomfort.
If you go for high-end Sonic toothbrushes, there is yet one more advantage that you may enjoy: connectivity. Some models come with built-in sensors and Bluetooth that can be connected to a smartphone app. This will keep track of your oral habits, ensuring that you brush your teeth based on the ADA recommendations.
Potential Disadvantages of Sonic Toothbrushes
While Sonic toothbrushes bring several benefits to the table, there are also some potential disadvantages. Here are some of the most frequent concerns:
Since Sonic toothbrushes use higher technology, they are much more expensive compared to your average toothbrush. However, when you compare the benefits, the cost is often worth it. These toothbrushes are also fairly long-lasting, and when used correctly, they can keep your dentist trips at a minimum. In return, this can save you a lot of money that you normally would have paid for professional cleaning.
Sonic brushes release vibrations and oscillating waves that clean your teeth, all the way to your gums. This may lead to a tingling sensation which first-time users may find quite odd. However, most people get used to the sensation after a while and no longer heed any thought to the sensation, as it becomes the new normal.
How to Choose a Good Sonic Toothbrush
Depending on the brand or the model, Sonic toothbrushes may come with different features. You need to choose the one that fits your budget, needs, and hygiene goals the most. Here are some factors that may prove relevant to you:
Number of Vibrations per Minute
Each Sonic toothbrush has a set number of maximum vibrations that it can reach. Some stop at 20,000 vibrations, whereas others go as high as 40,000. A good recommendation would be to aim for one that has at least 30,000 vibrations. The more it has, the deeper it can clean. If you are not sure how your teeth will handle the vibrations, you should go for a model that has multiple power modes.
Each brush has its own design, which is why you should make sure it fits your comfort level. The toothbrush should have an easy grip and not be too large or small for your hand. If it does not fit properly in your hands, this can potentially lead to discomfort. Also, make sure that the head design fits your mouth nicely. It should be big enough to cover your tooth, but it should not be as big as to make you open your mouth too wide.
Similar to manual or oscillating toothbrushes, heads come with soft, medium, or hard bristles. The harder the bristles, the deeper they can clean – however, this may not work very well for sensitive teeth. You may want to choose a model with softer bristles, as these are less likely to damage your tooth enamel or gums. The rest of the cleaning power will be covered by the vibrations.
The Bottom Line - Is a Sonic Toothbrush Right for You?
A Sonic toothbrush is a very useful tool to keep your teeth as clean as possible. Doctors recommend them for their plaque-prevention capabilities, helping you keep the appointments at a minimum. They also limit the effort that you have to make, as the Sonic vibrations are much more effective than your average hand movements.