The 10 Best Toothbrushes to Buy in 2021

Spruce up those pearly whites

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First Look

Best Overall: Philips Sonicare DiamondClean Smart 9300 Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush at Amazon

"Great ergonomic design that cleans teeth and gums extraordinarily well without needing to use excessive force."

Best Budget: 5-Pack Charcoal Toothbrush at Amazon

"The brushes are long, soft, and durable, with actuated charcoal properties built into the bristles, giving them the ability to blast plaque in hard-to-reach areas of your mouth."

Best for Braces: Fairywill Sonic Electric Toothbrush at Amazon

"The interdental brush head is a game changer for anyone with braces, making cleaning in and around wires a breeze."

Best for Kids: Philips Sonicare for Kids at Amazon

"Easy to use and offers many of the benefits of their adult-centric models while managing to make the chore of brushing teeth fun."

Best for Receding Gums: Issa Foreo at Amazon

"This premium, Swedish-designed toothbrush features silicone bristles, ideal for those with sensitive gums."

Best for Sensitive Teeth: Sensodyne Sensitive at Amazon

"Extremely soft and gentle bristles are what helps prevent the pangs of pain that other toothbrushes can cause."

Best Electric: Quip at Amazon

"A fuss-free, one setting, electric toothbrush that does the work of multi-setting models."

Best for Travel: Oral-B Electric Toothbrush Pro-Health Gum Care at Amazon

"This battery-powered toothbrush is great for travel, as it doesn’t require a recharging cord and is easily portable."

Best for Whitening: Spotlight Oral Care Sonic Toothbrush at spotlightoralcare.com

"Spotlight Oral Care bridges the gap between beauty and oral health."

Best Subscription Based Service: Burst Sonic Toothbrush at Amazon

"This brush provides impressive vibrational frequency and won’t break the bank at $70."

Having a great toothbrush is fundamental when it comes to oral hygiene. However, due to the fact that there are so many brands, types, and models on the market—ranging in price from one dollar to a few hundred—it can be difficult choosing one that fits your needs, dental concerns, and budget. 

The biggest question that most of us have is whether we should be using an electric or manual brush. However, according to Heather Kunen, DDS, MS, co-founder of Beam Street, there is no right answer. “Studies show that electric and manual toothbrushes have equal efficacy when it comes to cleaning our teeth and that the brushing technique of the user is actually what is most important when it comes to toothbrushing,” explains Dr. Kunen. She does point out, however, that most of her patients who use electric toothbrushes “enjoy the brushing experience more and also maintain better hygiene."

If you're looking for a new toothbrush, here are a few of the best on the market that will keep your smile fresh and clean.

Best Overall: Philips Sonicare DiamondClean Smart 9300 Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush

Philips Sonicare Toothbrush

 Courtesy of Amazon

Philips revolutionized the electric toothbrush when they introduced the Sonicare in 1992. Over the last nearly 30 years, they have been continuing to improve their technology and have expanded their collection, now available in a variety of models at every price point. Dr. Kunen always recommends Sonicare to her patients, explaining that the DiamondClean is basically the Rolls Royce of their offerings. “This is the toothbrush I use and it is my favorite toothbrush I have tried,” she says. 

Due to its multiple settings, it's the perfect option for people with sensitive or receding gums. The brush head is smaller than most other electric toothbrushes, featuring ultra-soft bristles and a “great ergonomic design that cleans my teeth and gums extraordinarily well without needing excessive force,” she says. 

Also, the brush provides a strong and consistent vibration that perfectly removes bacteria without hurting gingival tissue. Another great feature? It has a built-in two-minute timer with 30-second interval timers to prompt you to move to different quadrants of your mouth. While it might be one of the more expensive models on the market, Dr. Kunen maintains that it lasts for years and has easily replaceable and affordable brush heads. “I had my first one for five years,” she says. 

Type: Electric | Bristle Material: Nylon | Added Features: 3 brush head types, smart mode pairing, pressure sensor, glass charger

Best Budget: 5-Pack Charcoal Toothbrush

It’s possible you have never heard of the brand Dental Expert; however, they are responsible for making one of the most highly-rated toothbrushes on Amazon. This gum massaging, teeth whitening, disposable brush has been called the “best toothbrush ever” by reviewers. The brushes are long, soft, and durable, with activated charcoal properties built into the bristles, giving them the ability to blast plaque in hard-to-reach areas of your mouth. They also feature a slim, easy-to-grip handle making them easy and comfortable to maneuver. 

Type: Manual | Bristle Material: Charcoal | Added Features: N/A

Best for Braces: Fairywill Sonic Electric Toothbrush

Fairywill, another brand you may have never heard of, has managed to make a top-rated, high-quality electric toothbrush for a reasonable price. Their Sonic Electric Toothbrush has not only earned the ADA Seal of Acceptance but Amazon Choice status for the best toothbrush for braces. Like more expensive models, there are multiple settings—clean, sensitive, and massage—a charge that lasts up to four hours, and the ability to offer up to 40,000 micro brushes per minute. Many reviewers attest that their interdental brush head is a game-changer for anyone with braces, making cleaning in and around wires a breeze. 

Type: Electric | Bristle Material: Dupont nylon | Added Features: Built-in timer, 3 modes, waterproof handle, color reminder bristles

Best for Kids: Philips Sonicare for Kids

Aside from the fact that it is easy to use and offers many of the benefits of their adult-centric models, Philips Sonicare for Kids manages to make the chore of brushing teeth actually, well, fun. First, it comes with removable stickers, so your child can dress up their pink-or-blue brush however they please. It also features “kidpacer” musical alerts, guiding your child to move to the next quadrant of the mouth. But the coolest thing about this teeth cleaning tool is that Philips designed an interactive free app that syncs with the brush via Bluetooth. It not only tracks their progress but helps educate and train your child how to brush their teeth the right way—even rewarding them for successful brushing sessions.

Type: Electric | Bristle Material: N/A | Added Features: Interactive app, 2 minute KidTimer, customizable handle

Best for Receding Gums: Foreo Issa 2

The Foreo Issa 2 looks as good as it feels. This premium, Swedish-designed toothbrush features silicone bristles instead of the nylon offered by most other toothbrush brands, making it super gentle for more sensitive gums and anyone who suffers from a receding gum line. The material also makes them more durable, so they will last longer and keep bacteria at bay. It also offers a whopping 16 adjustable speeds—and get this—one charge lasts 365 days. 

Type: Electric | Bristle Material: PBT polymer | Added Features: 16 adjustable speeds

Best for Sensitive Teeth: Sensodyne Precision Soft Toothbrush

Sensodyne might be better known for its trademark toothpaste, catering toward anyone with tooth or gum sensitivity. However, their disposable toothbrush has amassed a cult following among those who identify with having sensitive teeth. Extremely soft and gentle bristles are what helps prevent the pangs of pain that other toothbrushes can incite. However, users attest that they are still firm enough that they don’t get flattened by light brushing. Keep in mind: fans say these toothbrushes are hard to find and sell out fast, so you might want to stock up!

Type: Manual | Bristle Material: N/A | Added Features: N/A

Best Electric: Quip

4.8

Since launching in 2015, Quip has shaken up the electric toothpaste business. The brand’s starter kit, offering a Smart Electric Toothbrush, cover, their trademark mint toothpaste, and refillable floss string, starts at just $50 for their plastic model—a fraction of the cost of most other premium electric toothbrushes. What really sets Quip apart from the competition? They have managed to create a fuss-free, one-setting, electric toothbrush that does the work of multi-setting models. And, instead of having to lug a charger everywhere you go, the brush runs on AAA batteries. Also, if you can’t remember when to change your brush head, you have the option of subscribing to Quip’s quarterly brush head delivery service. 

Type: Electric | Bristle Material: N/A | Added Features: 2-minute timer, refillable floss string

Best for Travel: Oral-B Electric Toothbrush Pro-Health Gum Care

When Dr. Kunen packs her suitcase, it always includes an Oral-B Electric Toothbrush. “This battery-powered toothbrush is great for travel, as it doesn’t require a recharging cord and is easily portable,” she explains. It is also compatible with a bunch of different Oral-B toothbrush heads, making it a great option for those with any specific dental concerns. An added bonus? The brush is also extremely affordable, so if it is lost during travel, it's easily replaceable.

Type: Electric | Bristle Material: N/A | Added Features: 2 AA batteries

Best for Whitening: Spotlight Oral Care Sonic Toothbrush

Spotlight Oral Care Sonic Toothbrush

 Courtesy of Ulta

Created and founded by two sisters and practicing cosmetic dentists, Dr. Lisa and Dr. Vanessa Creaven, Spotlight Oral Care bridges the gap between beauty and oral health. One of the main objectives of the Spotlight Sonic Toothbrush is to whiten up your teeth to pearly white perfection. It has three different settings—Sensitive, Clean, and White—each with a different level of speed to ensure the utmost comfort during your teeth cleaning session. Keep in mind that the price— $150—includes a nine-month supply of brush heads and a carrying case for travel. 

Type: Electric | Bristle Material: N/A | Added Features: 3 speed settings, travel case, 3 brush heads

Best Subscription Based Service: Burst Sonic Toothbrush

If you are on social media, you have probably noticed Burst Sonic Toothbrush pop up on your feed. This electric toothbrush-slash-subscription based service is another industry-changer, offering a super-effective electric toothbrush—with a battery life of up to one month—with a low monthly brush service fee, and Dr. Kunen is a fan. “This brush provides impressive vibrational frequency and won’t break the bank at $70,” she explains. It also takes the guesswork out of replacing your brush heads, as new ones are mailed to you every 90 days, with the option of adding a whitening strip subscription every three months. 

Type: Electric | Bristle Material: Charcoal-infused PBT nylon | Added Features: 3 modes, 2-minute timer

Final Verdict

If you are looking for an oral hygiene powerhouse that will last you for years on-end, we suggest the Philips Sonicare DiamondClean Smart 9300 Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush. While it is the most expensive toothbrush we analyzed, it is an investment worth making. Not only does it offer multiple settings, making it a great option for a variety of dental needs, but its disposable heads are also soft enough for comfort yet sturdy enough to deep clean your pearly whites. It also features a built-in timer, taking the guesswork out of efficient brushing. 

What to Look For in a Toothbrush

Your Preference: First and foremost, you need to decide what type of toothbrush you actually enjoy using. Per the American Dental Association, both electric and manual brushes work equally well to clean your teeth, if you are using them effectively.

Dental Concern: Do you have sensitive teeth and gums, braces, want to brighten up your yellowed teeth, are you just looking for an all-around multi-tasker? These are questions you need to ask yourself before narrowing down your list of contenders. For example, Dr. Kunen suggests that patients with sensitive gums or recession look for an electric toothbrush that has different settings to accommodate for their condition. Alternatively, if you have no pre-existing dental conditions, a one-setting brush could work for you. 

Budget: As with nearly every type of product on the market, you need to decide how much you are willing to spend on a toothbrush. Our top pick (and Dr. Kunen’s), the Philips Sonicare DiamondClean is the most expensive brush we featured. While it may offer the best quality and functionality, you can certainly purchase the Fairywill for a more affordable price, and be guaranteed a good clean. 

Type of Use: Are you looking for a brush to use at home or one that you can easily toss in your suitcase and bring with you on a trip? Since each toothbrush is unique in their size, functionality, charging method (charger vs battery operated) you might want to think about purchasing more than one brush. For example, Dr. Kunen uses the Philips Sonicare DiamondClean while at home but prefers the Oral-B Electric Toothbrush Pro-Health when she is on the road. 

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The Ultimate Toothbrush Buying Guide

By: Brittany Leitner

Brushing your teeth may feel like second nature by now, but advancements like electric toothbrushes, toothbrush head materials, and more high-tech products have really changed the way people clean their teeth. 

Brushing properly (twice a day) will reduce your risk of gingivitis, tooth decay, and other mouth diseases. But finding the right toothbrush can make this feel a lot less like a task and more like an enjoyable, self-care routine. According to the American Dental Association, both electric and manual brushes work equally well to clean your teeth, if you are using them effectively (twice daily for about two minutes each use time).

Choosing the right toothbrush for you, like choosing an electric option, “can make cleaning more exciting,” says Arizona-based dentist Parker Mitchell, D.M.D. However, using any toothbrush helps decrease your risk of mouth disease or oral health issues. Here’s everything you need to consider when choosing the right option for you, whether you’re shopping for kids, have braces, trying to understand the best bristle material, and more. 

Key Considerations

Price

Toothbrushes shouldn’t break the bank. Even electric options are more affordable now than they’ve ever been. “Great manual toothbrushes should cost $5 to $10 a piece,” says Dr. Mitchell. “There are many electric toothbrushes out there ranging from $30-250. I advise my patients to spend $60 on an electric or $5-10 on a manual brush.” 

If you’re paying over $60 for an electric toothbrush, the toothbrush might be offering more than just the standard brush, and may feature accessories like bulk replacement heads, batteries, a carrying case, and more. Some more expensive options may even have bluetooth capabilities and the ability to pair with an app to monitor your cleaning progress, or help you track brushing spots you may have missed. But in general, a quality electric toothbrush that will last for years usually falls on the higher end of the price range.

You may also want to consider the environment when making your choice. If you go with an electric toothbrush, you will produce less plastic waste over time. However, nowadays there are many biodegradable options for manual toothbrushes to consider. 

Materials

Traditionally, manual toothbrushes were made of plastic handles and nylon on the brush heads. Nowadays, there are way better options to choose from. When buying a manual brush, look for brush handles that are biodegradable. Those made from non-GMO corn starch or even bamboo. Both are environmentally-friendly options. 

Charcoal is another material that’s gaining steam in the oral care market, in toothbrushes, toothpaste, and more. “Charcoal toothbrushes are trendy right now, but they actually are beneficial to our oral health,” says Shaun Flynn, DDS and Chief Dental Officer at BURST Oral Care. “Charcoal is known to remove impurities and in turn keep your teeth fresh and clean.” Some studies also suggest that it’s effective in removing yellow stains from teeth.

Activated charcoal found on toothbrush bristles “binds to harmful toxins and chemicals before your body can absorb them,” says Dr. Mitchell. “They also provide a slight amount of abrasion to polish your teeth, scrubbing off harmful plaque and calculus. This can lead to a brighter, whiter smile. It is good for your teeth to have this kind of scrubbing and antitoxin exposure,” he adds. There are many manual and electric options that feature charcoal in the bristles.

Ease of Use

Manual toothbrushes are pretty straight forward, though some might find electric toothbrushes easier to use, and for kids, it may help make brushing more exciting. Most electric toothbrushes have simple one-button controls, and will vibrate or turn off to let you know you’ve been brushing for a certain amount of time (typically two minutes) to reach an optimal clean. 

If you are choosing an electric option, you may want to consider signing up for a timely replacement head subscription to truly take the guesswork out of brushing your teeth. If you don’t want to spend any more time thinking about oral care than you need to, automatically having these replacement heads shipped to your home can be a huge help. 

If you’re concerned about receding gum lines or gingivitis, Dr. Flynn recommends patients can still use an electric toothbrush, but to pay attention to the setting options. “Usually there is a slower setting if the patient is afraid of putting too much pressure on the gum tissue,” she says. “When you have gum recession, your gums have receded to a point where their roots are starting to become exposed. When a patient has gingivitis, their gums at their gum line are inflamed. So, I would definitely still recommend an electric toothbrush in these instances.” 

If you’re concerned about overdoing it, a manual toothbrush might be a good option to consider too, since you can control how soft or hard to push and how fast to clean.

Electric Toothbrush Warranties/ Toothbrush Replacement Time

Electric toothbrushes follow the same rule from dentists as manual ones: replace the brush/brush head every three months. But “personally, I change it out every month to keep it fresh,” says Dr. Mitchell. 

Of course, when you choose an electric toothbrush, you’re only replacing brush heads, which eliminates plastic/material waste. Most electric toothbrushes come with a warranty that lasts at least a year. In that time, you can decide how you like the brush, and hopefully if anything does happen to it in that first year, it can be replaced. 

For Kids/Braces

Both Dr. Flynn and Dr. Mitchell agree that using an electric toothbrush can be a better option for kids. “Depending on the age of the child, I usually recommend kids start using electric toothbrushes as soon as they can,” says Dr. Flynn. “Electric toothbrushes clean better—especially with kids who tend to not get all their teeth properly. They also tend to get kids more into brushing and taking care of their teeth because they like the vibrations of the brush. So have some fun with it and let your children use an electric brush as soon as they can handle one.”

“Electric can assist kids who have trouble with the dexterity of their hands get the scrubbing power they need,” notes Dr. Mitchell. “Additionally, we recommend parents help kids brush up until the age of eight years old.” 

If kids are too young to use an electric toothbrush, choose a manual brush that comes in a kid-friendly color and shape. The handle should be a little wider than usual so smaller hands can grab on and maneuver it more easily.

Brands/ Manufacturers

Grin

Grin is known for being environmentally friendly. It has eliminated the use of palm oil in its toothpastes, which is a controversial ingredient used in almost everything (food, skincare products, biodiesel fuel, etc.) since it comes directly from rainforests and releases large amounts of CO2 when rainforests are cleared. Grin’s toothbrushes are also made from either environmentally friendly and biodegradable bamboo and corn starch. 

BURST

While BURST may be a newcomer to the oral hygiene scene (founded in 2017), it has quickly become a major player. Since it sells directly to consumers with no middle man, it boasts selling quality electric toothbrushes at the most affordable price possible (their kits start at $70).

Philips Sonicare

If you’re familiar with electric toothbrushes, chances are you’ve had a Sonicare. The perk of buying from such a legacy brand is that you can score serious discounts and money-back guarantee when you buy from places like Amazon or Walgreens. There are also many different product ranges so you can splurge and get a huge set or stick to the basics for under $60.

Fairywill

Fairywill is known for being one of the most affordable brands out there for electric options. If you want a no-frills option, Fairywill is a great place to start and products come in multiple colorways. 

Oral-B

Like Sonicare, is another classic brand that’s reliable. It also has very affordable electric options, some that even fall below $20. If you prefer to travel with or just use electric toothbrushes that aren’t chained to a charging dock, Oral-B has great battery powered options.

Quip

Quip is another fairly new brand (2015) that operates on a starter kit and subscription basis. It is free of charging chords, and if you subscribe to get brush head replacements, you’ll also receive a free battery every three months to go with it.

Conclusion

Again, choosing a manual or electric brush is entirely up to you, and though experts may have their favorite option, the overall consensus is that it’s entirely up to the consumer, and both work to prevent gum disease and gingivitis when used properly. 

Depending on what you’re looking for, there are so many basic, no-frills electric options that you can get started with that are affordable. Manual brushes have really developed in recent years as well. Now you can get environmentally-friendly options made from recycled materials, biodegradable corn starch, and more, further proving that whatever option you’re looking for to suit your needs is out there. 

Make sure you get what you need to make brushing your teeth part of your everyday health routine because ignoring oral hygiene can contribute to much larger issues, like mouth disease, kidney disease, or even heart disease. Your mouth health is just as important as your heart health, so make sure to never put it last.

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Article Sources
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