Philips Sonicare & Oral B Braun vs. Manual Toothbrush

You would have to be living under a rock to not be familiar with electric/rechargeable toothbrushes but almost every day we get questions about which one to buy, how are they different and do they really make a difference. Trust me I could write many posts on this subject and direct you to any number of scientific articles. I’m sure you’d enjoy my posts but the articles would be boring. To make this simple, I am creating a pros and cons list for you with a focus on the Philips Sonicare and the Oral B Braun VS manual toothbrushes. I just googled top-rated rechargeable toothbrushes and depending on the source sometimes Sonicare rates #1 while other lists have Oral B as #1. With this in mind, you can’t go wrong, I will do my best to point out the biggest differences while convincing you that electrical/rechargeable is the way to go over the manual for most folks.


Electric/Rechargeable (we are not talking about AA battery-operated brushes)


-brush heads sweep or oscillate at a rate of 10,000-40,000 brush strokes per minute to remove up to 4 times more plaque, reducing the rate of decay and gum disease. No way can your hand move this fast.
-on some models, built-in pressure sensors prevent you from pushing too hard and damaging exposed root surfaces and tender gum tissue.
-handles are thicker making them easier to hold if you have trouble holding a thin brush handle.
-built-in timers to keep you honest. You should be spending 2 minutes every time you brush, most people spend 1 minute per brushing on a good day.
-designed to do the work for you, the bristles rotate and vibrate to remove plaque and food. No more wondering if you are scrubbing the right way.
-both Sonicare and Oral B have 15 or so models to choose from ranging in price from $25.00-$350.00. (Okay this is a pro and con)
-brushes usually have smaller heads making them easier to fit into the back of most mouths.
-2 year warranties, they want happy customers.
-makes your teeth feel like you’ve just had them professionally cleaned and it makes brushing fun!!


-Costly. Newer models can cost upwards of $400.00 including tax with the cheapest much more affordable at around $25.00. Price range depends on things like the quality of the battery, type of timer, brushing modes ie, gentle, massage, deep-clean, and perio to name a few, number of heads and bases that come in the box, overall style, and design (black usually cost more), Bluetooth capability (yes that’s right, I said Bluetooth) and any additional accessories like a travel bag.
-brush vibrations and noise can be challenging for some people to get used to.
-need a convenient electrical outlet and countertop space.
-replacement heads cost more than manual brushes.
-you may need to purchase replacement brush heads online if you can’t find them at local stores.
-can break if dropped on a hard bathroom floor.


Manual Toothbrush


-cheap and easy to replace.
-lots of new styles, colors, and brands on the market to choose from.
-easy to travel with.
-won’t break if dropped on the bathroom floor.


-no timer……and this is a BIG con.
-you have to work hard to perfect your technique……also a big con.
-really easy to push too hard, damaging roots and gums…..also a big con
-brushes can be hard to hold if you have dexterity issues.

Hopefully, this list of Pros and Cons: electric vs manual is helpful.

A quick note on the main difference between Sonicare and Oral B.

Sonicare has an oval-shaped brush head that uses a sweeping motion with sonic waves to clean your teeth, feeling more like a traditional brush.
Oral B uses a round brush that oscillates to clean your teeth, feeling more like the polisher at the dental office.

The Sonicare brush may be a little quieter but vibrations may be harder for some to accept.
The Oral B brush may be a little louder but vibrations are usually more acceptable.

The good news at Prairie Village Dentists we have both the Sonicare and the Oral B available in our office for you to “test drive”. As it will take 5-10 minutes for you to try both, please let us know at the beginning of your appointment that you are interested in these services. Also, we usually have the most recent model of both Sonicare and Oral B for purchase.


Honorable mention

Waterpik Sonic-Fusion. Waterpik has combined the wonders of water flossing with electric brushing. If you don’t have an electric brush or a Waterpik this could be an option for you.

Quip and similar brushes. These lower-end brushes are great brushes for kids, travel, overnight guests or gateway brushes to better brushes. They are not as refined and usually have large heads and clunky motors.

Hopefully, this is somewhat clear but as always we are here to answer any questions you might have and direct you to what we think will be the best option for you in achieving optimal oral health.

Smiles and happy brushing, Diane