Does the (sonicare) toothbrush-head style matter? How do I choose?
July 17, 2017 12:00 PM   Subscribe

There's about 8 choices of models (sensitive, gum, interdental, diamond, etc) from Sonicare. Does it really matter? Does it even have to be from Sonicare, or are cheaper generics just as good? Any generic in particular?

Based on the marketing, I would incline towards the 'interdental' head since I had to have gum surgery (laser osseous surgery) a few years ago.

My results were good and I'm back to just regular biannual cleanings (at least for now). The periodontist recommended switching to a Sonicare brush and also using those little interdental brushes every day, in addition to flossing.

So - is more interdental better? The gum health head? Safer to stick to the sensitive head? Or does it really not matter and I should get whichever I can find for cheapest, and would that include generics?

Thank you!
posted by Salamandrous to Health & Fitness (12 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
If you haven't seen it, Wirecutter's The Best Electric Toothbrush. They recommend a cheap Oral B or a (slightly les) cheap Sonicare.
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 12:20 PM on July 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

Dentists typically recommend soft brushes except in specific circumstances. I'd default to the soft brushes unless you have reason to believe you need something else.

I have bought Sonimart brand refills on Amazon and have been happy with them.
posted by kindall at 12:22 PM on July 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

I have a pretty old Sonicare and was thinking of getting a newer one (because newer is better right?) but didn't after reading that Wirecutter review. I have bought some no-name replacement heads and they don't seem to last as long as the real ones, but then again they are much cheaper.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 12:28 PM on July 17, 2017

Haven't detected any difference between Sonicare and generic heads either personally or in comments from the dentist.
posted by crocomancer at 1:08 PM on July 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

We use Target house brand heads in our SonicCare brushes. They don't fit in exactly flush the way the official ones do, but they stay in the machine and work just as well. I think we just get the default brushes.

Enjoy your SonicCare - It makes a huge difference in tooth/mouth cleanliness. It feels like you've just had a cleaning at the dentist's.
posted by Cranialtorque at 1:32 PM on July 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

I've tried two non-Sonicare brands of replacement heads. Unfortunately I don't remember the brand names, but they were not as good on a few important attributes. My experiences have made paying for the real ones less objectionable.

One brand didn't have the little stem that goes in the guide notch in the handle, so the magnets could easily be in sub-optimal alignment with the circuitry inside, reducing performance.

The second type has the stem, but the collar is so tight it's really difficult to unscrew the head for rinsing, plus the bristles just don't last as long (I'm seeing visible deformation of the bristles after just a couple weeks of use). The collar problem was easily fixed by reusing a collar from an old real Sonicare head, but the bristle wear issue negates any savings I thought I was getting over the real ones.

I have no advice about which configuration of head would be better for you.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 1:45 PM on July 17, 2017

I use the children's Sonicare heads because they are soft and cheaper. So far so good, my dentist gives me glowing reviews.
posted by Owl of Athena at 3:47 PM on July 17, 2017

This is timely! I ordered a pack of generic Sonicare heads on Prime day and have been using them for a few days now. I can't tell a difference between them and the original heads.

I don't know what brand mine were, but they came in a box of six for approximately $15. That's less than a single name-brand head.
posted by tacodave at 4:42 PM on July 17, 2017

I buy replacement heads for my sonicare at Costco. A10 pack are cheaper than most knock offs I've found. Then again, being in Canada might be a factor there too.
posted by peppermind at 5:00 PM on July 17, 2017

You already have the Sonicare, right? Because if not, the only replacement heads I've ever found that were any better than any others were these ones from Oral B for their system that have some kind of rubber (they call them "flossing action") in them among the normal bristles and man, they work... they are like dark magic.
posted by The Bellman at 5:14 PM on July 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

My generic replacement heads from Amazon had a really annoying buzz/rattle, so I tossed them, and felt better about spending full price for the official heads.

I would vote for soft/sensitive heads, especially because it is an electric toothbrush, and you can press harder than you might realize, and start to mess up your gums.
posted by misterbrandt at 8:37 PM on July 18, 2017 [1 favorite]

Thank you so much everyone!

It sounds like it's really a ymmv thing.

I am going with the children's heads, as recommended by Owl of Athena. I did read that people tend to have better results with compact heads, and while they are more expensive than generic, they are cheaper than the adult heads. And definitely soft. This compromise satisfies my indecisiveness.

I do already have the Sonicare, The Bellman, but I'm storing that tip for the day it dies :)
posted by Salamandrous at 7:13 AM on July 19, 2017

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