Ultrasonic toothbrushes: Which has least noise/vibration?
October 8, 2013 11:17 AM   Subscribe

Which ultrasonic toothbrush has the least noise and vibration? This is for my 12-lb dog, who has a correspondingly small head. He's already great about letting me brush with a manual toothbrush, which I do nightly, but still had some periodontal pockets at his recent dental cleaning. I think I can get him to accept an ultrasonic one if I introduce it very gradually, but I want to get the gentlest one possible. Related issues inside.

I tried contacting Sonicare customer service about this but got referred to their comparison chart, which is no help. Since I assume I won't be able to return this, I need to know for sure which is the gentlest before I buy. Right now I'm looking at the Sonicare kid's toothbrush vs the Flex Care Plus, which has "sensitive" and "gum" settings, but am open to any suggestions.

Also, am I wrong in thinking I can't return it? Is there a retailer who would accept a return?
posted by HotToddy to Health & Fitness (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I have a Sonicare with the "sensitive" setting, and it's definitely less vibration than the regular setting, but I'm not sure it's gentle enough that most dogs would put up with it...
posted by primethyme at 11:19 AM on October 8, 2013

Response by poster: Also meant to ask--would a "spin brush" type of electric toothbrush have less annoying noise & vibration? I really want ultrasonic because it's best at promoting gingival cell proliferation, but if the other kind would be easier for him to accept it would still be a step up.
posted by HotToddy at 11:29 AM on October 8, 2013

Sonicare is NOT what you want. It's an excellent toothbrush, but it's not the least bit quiet.
posted by Corvid at 11:38 AM on October 8, 2013

Petosan makes a sonic toothbrush for dogs. Here's an Amazon link to the one for dogs > 35 lbs. Amazon stocks replacement heads for a model intended for "small-medium pets up to 34 lbs" so I presume it exists too. However, some comments (on both the replacement heads and the toothbrush itself) mention that it's loud.
posted by carmicha at 11:53 AM on October 8, 2013

Also, am I wrong in thinking I can't return it?

I think you're right. Who would want to buy a like-new used toothbrush, even if they don't know that a dog used it? I guess you could use it (for yourself) and just switch out the bristle part if it doesn't freak you out too much, but a stranger would definitely say no.
posted by Houstonian at 12:03 PM on October 8, 2013

I can't imagine any dog tolerating any electric toothbrush.
posted by kindall at 12:18 PM on October 8, 2013

Seconding Corvid - my cats run from the bathroom when I use my Sonicare. I don't even want to think about the millions of scratches that would ensue from trying to put it anywhere near them while holding them still.
posted by augustimagination at 12:31 PM on October 8, 2013

I used a Colgate spinbrush while my sonicare was unavailable and it felt like the difference between a Porsche (Sonicare) and an old Gremlin that your uncle left out in the yard for 15 years (Colgate). It was LOUD and very clunky-feeling in my mouth.

Do you have any friends who have a Sonicare? Maybe you can visit with your dog or ask them to bring it to your house to test the sound?
posted by CathyG at 12:36 PM on October 8, 2013

Response by poster: Just to address the basic premise of the question--I know for a fact that some dogs, including small dogs, do tolerate ultrasonic toothbrushes, as I've occasionally read about them online over the years.
posted by HotToddy at 1:49 PM on October 8, 2013

I use a Sonicare, and while I don't find it too loud, I don't really notice that there's a mode-dependent difference in vibration level. Mine has "clean," "whitening" and "gum care," and they're ALL pretty tickly. However, the model I have (FlexCare Platinum) does have three adjustable intensity settings, and the lowest one might work for a dog.

I previously used a $12 Oral-B battery-powered brush, and that was noisy but worked fine. If I were you, I'd buy a similarly cheap one to see if it's even going to be an option for the dog. Then if he's like "OH HELL NO," you'll only be out $12. Maybe get him used to the feel of an electric brush before moving on to the expensive kind.

This might be kind of a long shot, but you could Google dental offices in your area and see if any of them have a Sonicare promotional offer for new patients. That's how I got mine - I'd never pay that much money for a toothbrush, but my dentist gave them away to new patients for a while.

Finally, if you do decide to get a Sonicare, they're really awesome toothbrushes. It sounds lame but seriously, brushing with one is fantastic. I'll never brush with anything else. If it doesn't gross you out too much, you could just swap out the brush head and use the Sonicare yourself if your dog totally hates it.
posted by easy, lucky, free at 3:26 PM on October 8, 2013

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