Toothbrush test

March 14, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
Electric toothbrushes cost a whole lot more than the manual ones with some priced at more than $100. If you dread going to the dentist because your teeth are in bad shape, you may have been told you should use an electric toothbrush.

"Particularly we recommend electric toothbrushes when people have a history of periodontal disease or gum disease," Dr. Steven Abel said.

Consumer reports tested 10 electric toothbrushes, brushing almost 2,000 times to find the best. The brushes ranged in price from $15 to $140.

"One convenience of many electric toothbrushes is that they have built-in timers that signal after two minutes," Amy Keating said.

Some also alert you when 30 seconds are up.

That's when it's time to move to the next quadrant of your mouth.

"Panelists used each toothbrush for an entire week, and at the end of the week they refrained from brushing for 24 hours to build up plaque," Keating said.

Then a dentist used a red dye to determine how much plaque was left.

One of the top-rated toothbrushes, $140 Philips Sonicare Flexcare, removed more than 75 percent of plaque. It has three cleaning modes; clean, sensitive, and massage. But some panelists found the Philips Sonicare uncomfortable.

"I kept looking at the time. Is the two minutes over, because it was hurting so bad. It was just too much vibration," Antonietta Maggiacomo said.

"I didn't really love it," Adam Kaplan said.

"It tickled my gums a little bit," Alex Willen said.

Most panelists preferred a less expensive Oral-B toothbrush. Consumer reports says a good one to try is the Oral-B Professional Care 1000 for $70.

The Oral-B Professional Care 1000 is also sold under the name Oral-B Professional Care 7400.