Electric soniccare toothbrush
November 28, 2008 8:42 PM   Subscribe

Can someone who uses electric toothbrush (sonic care) pl. let me know if they make a difference ? I want it to buy for a friend. She is pregnant and has bleeding gums. I was planning to buy Philips Sonicare Essence 5300 Power Toothbrush. (around $49 at amazon) Pl. let me know the pros/cons if you are using and also any brand which you would recommend.
posted by tom123 to Health & Fitness (30 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I use an Oral B, which my dentist and hygienist strongly recommended (he is a very honest dentist and not just trying to sell stuff- and anyway I bought it from a store, not him).

At my last checkup they commented how much my gums have improved since I started using it. I don't know of any cons- as long as you don't rush and make sure to spend a full 2 minutes brushing.
posted by drjimmy11 at 8:46 PM on November 28, 2008

Pregnant + bleeding gums = see a dentist ASAP. Gum disease has all sorts of nasty repercussions.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 8:52 PM on November 28, 2008 [2 favorites]

There was just a thread about this same topic a week or two ago. Check that thread for relevant comments.
posted by tuxster at 8:57 PM on November 28, 2008

Bleeding gums aren't particularly unusual in pregnancy, here's a good article with a summation of what happens and why. Buying her an electric toothbrush is a great idea! Being good about oral hygiene is important while pregnant, and I definitely think a sonicare helps. I use one, and my dentist recommends an electric toothbrush of some sort. I have one of the sonicare advance series, not sure which model because its a few years old now. You are a very thoughtful friend :)
posted by Joh at 9:32 PM on November 28, 2008

I hadn't gone to the dentist for nearly 6 or so years, and although I was expecting the worst in terms of cavity count, etc. ... I was floored by how bad my mouth truly was. After a dreadful deep clean, the dentist suggested that I purchase an electric toothbrush. I went all out and bought a pricey soniccare (flexcare I believe?).

Let's just say that when I went back after a month, my dentist was amazed. Of course, the deep cleaning helped quite a bit. But if I maintained my old habits of brushing once a day, half-heartedly in the morning for 30-45 seconds ... my mouth would've reverted back to its nasty self in no time. I owe it all to the soniccare, 4 minutes of brushing a day, and regular flossing.
posted by mahoganyslide at 9:48 PM on November 28, 2008 [1 favorite]

Definitely makes a difference. I use a regular toothbrush when I travel now and it tears my gums up. Electrics are a lot better at focusing bristles where they need to bee. Highly recommended by my dentist as well. I don't actually know what brand I use and I can't be arsed to get up and go over to my bathroom because I don't think it's brand so much as just the fact of electric-ness. Do it, she'll love it.
posted by penduluum at 10:08 PM on November 28, 2008

I have a Sonicare brush and a couple of unanticipated cons for me were that you've got to clean it regularly (say once a week) between the base and the head, or else gunk tends to build up, and that the replacement heads are kind of pricey. If you buy her the toothbrush, it'd be super considerate of you to buy her replacement heads at the same time. Even with these cons, I think it's still worth it, though. The Sonicare brush really does give you the "just been to the dentist" feeling.
posted by cucumberfresh at 10:14 PM on November 28, 2008 [1 favorite]

I recently started using an electric toothbrush (Oral B). I like it enough that I've stuck with it, although I wouldn't describe it as a night and day difference. One thing worth considering is that I remember the manual for my toothbrush cautioning that it may cause bleeding gums for the first several days.
posted by paulg at 10:34 PM on November 28, 2008

I don't know if the model you are considering has it, but if you can, get one that signals every 30 seconds, so you can switch which area of your teeth you are cleaning.
Mine signals every 30 secs, then at 2 minutes.

The dental assistant always remarks on how clean my teeth are, for what it is worth.
posted by madajb at 10:37 PM on November 28, 2008 [1 favorite]

My awesome dentist, who sells Soniccares toothbrushes in his office told me that it really doesn't make an appreciable difference compared to a non-mechanical toothbrush, if you are brushing correctly and consistently.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 10:45 PM on November 28, 2008

Echoing cucumberfresh—I had an electric toothbrush about five years ago, and I stopped using it when I suddenly noticed one morning that there was gunk in every nook and cranny. I could've just started cleaning it, of course, but it wasn't obvious how to do so when it took standard AAs in the base, and I had no real qualms about going back to a regular toothbrush. Maybe the newer models are better about this, and I'm sure if you take regular care of it it's not a huge deal, but it's definitely something to be mindful of.
posted by brett at 10:59 PM on November 28, 2008

I have sensitive gums and discovered that what I thought was thorough dental hygiene was actually much too rough for my gums. Switching from manual brushing to an Oral B Triumph has helped tremendously with that.

As far as cleaning the brush head goes, I try to keep mine as dry as possible between brushings and typically soak it in hydrogen peroxide once a week. It's both gross and fascinating to watch!
posted by platinum at 11:02 PM on November 28, 2008

I'm with Cat Pie Hurts. My hygienist told me the same thing. Just brush right with a regular old toothbrush and you'll be fine. I tried out an electric one a few years ago, then switched back to regular when it got all gunky. Didn't notice a difference either way, and neither did my dentist.
posted by Mountain Goatse at 12:24 AM on November 29, 2008

I always felt electric toothbrushes were stupid and a waste of money, but a few years ago I bought a SonicCare and now wish I would've done so sooner. Not because the SonicCare is so great, but electric toothbrushes in general are wonderful for people like me who tend brush too vigorously. My teeth at the gumline have indentations from years of brushing too hard (and it sucks, royally, especially when eating hot or cold foods); an electric toothbrush keeps a steady, even pressure so I don't have to constantly remind myself to brush left-handed or do any of the other annoying tricks I use to keep from falling back into bad habits.

I'm also going to echo the suggestions that you get an Oral-B rather than the SonicCare. The SonicCare has a design flaw in that when you brush and dribble, the liquid becomes trapped between the small crack in the handle -- it gets extremely funky after a while and demands constant attention to keep that area clean.

The Oral-B has a different design and, in my case anyway, it doesn't cause any dribbling. I think that's due to the smaller brush head. It's also much easier to clean and not as high maintenance.
posted by LuckySeven~ at 12:38 AM on November 29, 2008

I also Like the Oral B triumph, go all out and get the one with the wireless display.
It links up with the toothbrush and it tells you if you are brushing too hard.
posted by Iax at 1:22 AM on November 29, 2008

I also used to see them as daft gimmicky products, but they make a big difference to my teeth vs. any amount of careful brushing with a normal toothbrush.

Don't get a Sonicare Essence/Elite. The heads feature an enormous cavity that can soon start growing copious amounts of nasty mould/bacteria/whatever. Yeah, you should change them regularly, but it's a serious design flaw and means you have to buy the pricey heads more often and feel sick if you peer into one after a few weeks.

The Sonicare Flexcare has a better head design with no cavity but it's rather expensive, so you might want to look at other brands.
posted by malevolent at 1:23 AM on November 29, 2008

I have the Braun Oral-B, and ever since I bought mine, my dental hygenist has been all "Excellent home care". She used to get kind of angry and lecture me about flossing.

I read some research studies on this, and apparently the electric toothbrush shouldn't make much of a difference. I mentioned this to a dentist, and the dentist said:

"Well, yeah, there's no difference between a regular toothbrush and an electric toothbrush ... if you're brushing properly with the regular toothbrush."

Apparently, I wasn't.
posted by Comrade_robot at 5:04 AM on November 29, 2008

Could the tags be improved? This is a good thread but I think it's going to be difficult for anyone months from now to find it.
posted by crapmatic at 5:28 AM on November 29, 2008 [1 favorite]

My awesome dentist, who sells Soniccares toothbrushes in his office told me that it really doesn't make an appreciable difference compared to a non-mechanical toothbrush, if you are brushing correctly and consistently.

I've heard the same. My gums bleed if I'm not careful because I have sinus problems and breathe through my mouth at night. I've had the best reduction in bleeding gum problems when I floss daily. I don't use an electric toothbrush, and have been complimented on my tooth maintenance.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 6:37 AM on November 29, 2008

Shockingly, Sonicare toothbrushes do NOT do the flossing for you. Don't get me wrong, they do clean really well, but still floss regularly (floss after brushing to see what I mean).

It takes some time to get used to tickling sensation, but if your dedicated for a few weeks you will learn to love it. Also if you need to take it out of your mouth, make sure you turn it off! If you rip it out of your mouth with it on, it will splatter EVERYWHERE!

I used to hate - and avoid brushing my back teeth with a manual toothbrush but it all changed with this, I love brushing the back now.

I also brush much longer now. Not only do I brush the 2 minute timer, I also turn it back on for another minute. Probably because its effortless now, you don't actually brush furiously but just move the head around slowly. Before with a manual toothbrush, I would only brush for less then a minute.
posted by glenno86 at 6:38 AM on November 29, 2008

I started using an electric toothbrush (Oral B) around a year back, and I'm very happy with it.

I remember seeing studies on the internet saying that there wasn't a major difference between a normal toothbrush and an electric one. Though theoretically there might not be much of a difference, practically, I find that there is.

I found that when I use the electric toothbrush I spend more time brushing. Also, I tend to concentrate a lot more on reaching all the corners of my mouth and cleaning more thoroughly. I distinctly remember not paying much attention when using the normal toothbrush.

I think its just more effective because its fun (well, as fun as brushing can be!), less of a hassle, and makes it more difficult to screw up brushing. I would suppose that there is a smaller percentage of people who do a bad job of brushing with electric toothbrushes as opposed to those who brush with a manual toothbrush.
posted by ogami at 7:27 AM on November 29, 2008

When my Sonicare used to work, I'd soak the heads in Listerine when I left for work and rinsed them off when I got home. That got rid of all the gunk. A quick wipe with a paper towel took care of the battery-part of the unit.

The Sonicare does not, however, have replaceable batteries. You want to replace it manually or recylce it? You need to break the casing. Philips even says so. That really ticked me off and now I'm back to manual brushing. But because I brush way too hard, I can feel my teeth starting to rebel so I probably will experiment with replacing my batteries thusly.
posted by Tacodog at 8:58 AM on November 29, 2008

Pasted the wrong link, sorry. Just do a search on instructables or the Google and you'll know what I'm referring to.
posted by Tacodog at 9:08 AM on November 29, 2008

The bleeding gums cant be solved with a toothbrush. Her dentist needs to scrape away all the plaque and tartar. Right now all the acid produced by her teeth are flowing onto her gums. This is how gingivitis starts. Its extremely important to get a good cleaning first.

After her cleaning her dentist will probably recommend a sonicare or similiar.
posted by damn dirty ape at 10:54 AM on November 29, 2008

Most sonicares come with a small plastic stand so you just unscrew the head after each use and put it on the stand so all the liquid can drain out properly - that keeps the head dry and stops it from getting too funky

This probably sounds like a big fuss/effort, but really it takes just a second
posted by Lanark at 11:39 AM on November 29, 2008

I use a sonicare elite. It takes a couple weeks to get used to the vibrating action. After that, it's fine. My teeth are much easier to care for now. It's not a substitute for flossing, you still have to do that.

You do have to clean out the brush by unscrewing the head every so often. From the posts above, you'd think this was the end of the world. It's really not, it takes like a minute.

My hygienist recommended the Sonicare and the next time I came back she could tell I'd been using it. I could tell too; there was less calculus under the gum to scrape away and my gums didn't hurt after the cleaning. damndirtyape is correct that you have to start with a good dental cleaning; the Sonicare helps you keep the teeth clean longer, after that.
posted by ikkyu2 at 11:52 AM on November 29, 2008

I'm a big fan of Sonicare and bought a new one last year from Amazon after my old one finally died. They send me promo stuff every so often and just sent me a link where I can e-mail a $10 off coupon to friends. I don't think you can use it on Amazon but you could at Walgreens which has a Sonicare 4100 Advance on sale (starts 11/30) for 49.99. I don't know how that compares to the one you were looking at but you can metamail me with your e-mail if you're interested and I'll send it to you.
posted by stray thoughts at 4:09 PM on November 29, 2008

Previously. I'm an Oral B fan.
posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 5:02 PM on November 29, 2008

I have a Sonic Care Flexcare that I love. Previously I had an elite. All I have is anecdotal information but here it is. Mrs. Silvertree left on a trip for six weeks earlier this year and took the brush with her. After about two days I was going crazy and bought another Sonic Care because my mouth didn't feel as clean.
posted by Silvertree at 8:27 AM on November 30, 2008

Sonicare makes a difference for me if I brush gently and for the full two minutes. But what helps the most is flossing -- also gently. I prefer Dentex Easy Angle flossers because the floss is at a right angle to the handle, not in line with it -- makes it easier to control.
posted by wryly at 1:40 PM on December 1, 2008

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