The 8 Best Toothbrushes to Buy in 2021

Spruce up those pearly whites

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Best Electric Toothbrush

Verywell / Sabrina Jiang

Our Top Picks
Its multiple settings makes it ideal for sensitive gums while its strong vibration removes bacteria without hurting tissue.
This option offers the most bang for your buck with its easy-to-grip handle and bristles with built-in activated charcoal.
The kid-friendly model instills healthy hygiene habits thanks to the KidTimer and interactive app that promotes correct brushing.
Best for Receding Gums:
Foreo Issa 2 at
This premium toothbrush features silicone bristles, opposed to nylon, making it ideal for those with sensitive gums.
The disposable toothbrush features extremely soft and gentle bristles, making it a solid choice for those with gum sensitivity.
This electric toothbrush is great for travel, as it doesn’t require a recharging cord and includes two batteries.
If pearly whites are the goal, this toothbrush offers three speed settings and three brush heads to alternate.
Best Subscription-Based Service:
Burst Electric Toothbrush with Charcoal at Amazon
Simplify your routine with this subscription, which ships new heads every 90 days and has an add-on option of whitening strips.

Having a great toothbrush is fundamental when it comes to oral hygiene. But because there are so many brands, types, and models on the market—ranging in price from a couple dollars 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. 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 as a result."

Here are the best toothbrushes on the market today.

Best Overall: Philips Sonicare DiamondClean Smart 9300 Electric Toothbrush

Philips Sonicare Toothbrush
  • Multiple settings

  • Soft bristles

  • Built-in timer

  • Expensive

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: Dental Expert Charcoal Toothbrush 5-Pack

Dental Expert Charcoal Toothbrush
  • Soft bristles

  • Includes charcoal

  • Easy to grip

  • Doesn't provide dramatic whitening results

It’s possible you have never heard of the brand Dental Expert before, but this gum massaging, teeth whitening, disposable toothbrush will give you the best bang for your buck. 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 Kids: Philips Sonicare For Kids Power Toothbrush

  • Comes with removable stickers

  • Musical timer

  • Bluetooth compatible

  • Stickers fall off the toothbrush easily

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 best 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

Foreo Issa 2
  • Silicone bristles

  • Durable

  • Multiple settings

  • Long lasting charge

  • Expensive

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

  • Soft bristles

  • Comes in various colors

  • Small angle head

  • Sells out quickly

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, but hey are still firm enough that they won't be flattened by light brushing. Keep in mind: these toothbrushes are hard to find and sell out fast.

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

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

  • Battery-operated

  • Compatible with other Oral-B brush heads

  • Affordable

  • Batteries included

  • Loud operation

The Oral-B Electric Toothbrush is the perfect addition to your travel bag. “This battery-powered toothbrush is great for travel, as it doesn’t require a recharging cord and is easily portable,” Dr. Kunen 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
  • Multiple settings

  • Travel-friendly

  • Includes replacement heads

  • Long charging time

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 Electric Toothbrush with Charcoal

  • Comes in various colors

  • Multiple settings

  • Built-in timer

  • Includes charcoal

  • Long charging time

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,” 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. Ada Cooper, a New York-based dentist and spokesperson for the American Dental Association (ADA), recommends looking for the ADA’s seal of acceptance on a toothbrush when deciding between products. “That means that [the bristles] are soft enough so that it does not cause damage to the tooth structure,” she says, “and it’s also an indication that it’s been tested by independent reviewers that the toothbrush is effective and won’t damage your gums or your teeth.” 

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 Arizona-based dentist Parker Mitchell, D.M.D. “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.

For Kids and 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.

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.” 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How often should you change your toothbrush?

    Experts recommend for people to switch out their manual toothbrush or electric toothbrush heads every three to four months on average in order to get the best use from the device. “That’s largely because a worn toothbrush is not going to do much good in cleaning your teeth,” says Dr. Ada Cooper, a New York-based dentist and spokesperson for the American Dental Association (ADA). People should be on the lookout for frayed bristles, Dr. Cooper says, because that can indicate if the toothbrush needs to be replaced quicker than the recommended three to four months. 

  • How do you clean a toothbrush?

    Dr. Cooper advises people to rinse their toothbrush under warm tap water “to remove any remaining toothpaste and debris” from the device. Storage is another important factor when keeping a brush clean from any bacterial growth. “Store it upright and allow it to air dry,” Dr. Cooper says. “That’s because if you store it upright and allow it to air dry, the bacteria should be eradicated in time for the next use.” A mistake people can make is placing their toothbrush in a closed container or cabinet that prevents the device from fully air drying after use. “The moist toothbrush in a closed, dark environment is more likely to give rise to the growth of unwanted bacteria than is likely to occur if a toothbrush dries in an open environment,” Dr. Cooper says. If someone wants to use their carrying case, it’s recommended to wrap the toothbrush in a paper towel to allow it to dry. 

  • What's better: a regular toothbrush or an electric toothbrush?

    A consistent debate when it comes to dental hygiene is if an electric toothbrush is better to clean the teeth compared to a manual toothbrush. But Dr. Cooper says it’s not necessarily about using a manual or electric toothbrush, but instead the technique the person uses when they’re brushing their teeth. “Both are equally effective and thorough in cleaning your teeth if used correctly,” Dr. Cooper says, “and that's angling the brush at a 45 degree angle or so … and sliding back and forth beneath your gums.” Proper toothbrush technique is twice per day for about two minutes, making sure to hit the “occlusal surfaces, or the top surfaces, of the teeth” as well as the back sides of the teeth, she adds. 

What the Experts Say

“I would recommend that the patients look for the ADA seal of acceptance but also it is important to talk to your dentist. If, for example, you have braces and other restorations, then there are certain kinds of adjuncts that can be used in addition to a manual toothbrush that can help clean under and around restorations. Your dentist can provide those to you or point you in the right direction.”—Ada Cooper, a New York-based dentist and spokesperson for the American Dental Association (ADA)

Why Trust Verywell Health

As an internationally recognized health writer and product guru, Leah Groth understands that nobody wants to waste their time or money on products that fail to rear results. Over the years, she has interviewed the world's top health experts and reviewed hundreds of items, to help readers like you discover the most effective health gadgets, goops, and aids that will help you look and feel your very best.

Additional reporting for this story by Brittany Leitner and Danielle Zoellner

As a health writer with over eight years of experience, Brittany Leitner understands how important access to information is when it comes to making educated health decisions. She has interviewed dozens of medical experts, tested out hundreds of products, and aims to provide quality recommendations that won't break the bank.

As a seasoned health writer, Danielle Zoellner knows the importance of finding just the right product to fit your medical needs. Throughout her career, Danielle has interviewed a variety of experts in the medical and health fields while reviewing dozens of products. Her experience and knowledge in the field work together to help readers like yourself find the best products for your daily life.

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3 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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