The 6 best at-home teeth whitening kits in 2021, according to dentists

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • At-home teeth whitening kits help lift surface stains, but many are expensive and hurt your teeth.
  • We asked six professional dentists to recommend their go-to at-home teeth-whitening products.
  • Our top pick, Crest 3D White Professional Effects, is effective, simple, and fairly affordable.

Wanting whiter teeth in a world of first impressions and social media needs no explanation. But which at-home teeth whitening kits won’t make your pearlies sensitive after one round – that’s much harder.

In actuality, the most effective way to whiten your teeth is at the dentist’s office; however, that’s expensive and inaccessible for many people. Whitening toothpastes can help with daily maintenance, but they won’t create that ‘wow’ factor. At-home teeth whitening kits can save you money, time, and allow you to regularly re-whiten as needed (aka, as your coffee and red wine habit sees fit). The problem: A lot of whitening kits are too strong, causing your gums to become sensitive to pressure and your teeth sensitive to cold after just one use.

To find the most effective at-home teeth whitening products, including options for sensitive teeth, we asked a handful of dentists what the best teeth whiteners are for a brighter smile ASAP. We took into consideration options for sensitive teeth and gums, folks on a budget, and other buying factors. We tested many of their suggestions, as well as leading brands on the market, and combed through research and ratings. Each of the teeth whitening kits below are effective, easy to use, and less likely to irritate your teeth or gums.

Here are the best teeth whitening kits you can buy:

The best teeth whitening kit overall

crest whitening kit

Crest 3D White Professional Effects Whitestrips are effective, won’t slide around during treatment, easy to find at any drugstore, and have a less-concentrated formula for minimal sensitivity.

Pros: Produces results in four or five uses, recommended by dentists, low peroxide levels

Cons: May irritate the gums

Pack count: 20 treatments

Easy to put on and with an effective formula, Crest 3D White Professional Effects Whitestrips offers the most bang for your buck and is a favorite of Neil Hadaegh DDS, a professional dentist in Beverly Hills.

The gel is contained in strips that you press to mold around your teeth — so much so that Crest says you can even drink water and talk while wearing the strips thanks to their “Advanced Seal Technology.”

This formula typically has a lower concentration (10%) of Hydrogen Peroxide so it’s better for people who have sensitive teeth and can’t tolerate higher levels.

The Crest 3D White Professional Effects Whitestrips kit comes with 40 strips for 20 treatments (each treatment consists of a strip on the upper teeth and one on the lower teeth.) You are supposed to wear the strips for 30 minutes, once per day. Crest claims that after the 20 daily treatments, you can remove 14 years of tooth stains. 

However, strips don’t offer the custom fit of trays, which means you may notice some increased sensitivity if your gums come in contact with the whitening strips.

The best whitening trays

opalescence

If you’re looking for more precision in your application to avoid gum sensitivity, your best bet is combining teeth whitening gel with mouth trays or guards like in the Opalescence Go 15% kit.

Pros: Effective, greater control over application, potentially less gum sensitivity

Cons: Expensive, may cause sensitivity

Pack count: 10 treatments

The benefit of using a mouth tray or mouth guard with gel is that, unlike white strips, you aren’t as likely to miss spots on the teeth or irritate your gums. 

Opalescence is known for its whitening products in the dental industry. I’ve gotten amazing results with the Opalescence 35% formula, which is a syringe you squirt into your own trays and is slightly more intense. Heather Kunen, DDS, orthodontist and co-owner of Beam Street in New York recommended the Opalescence Go to Insider for how easy and mess-free the process is is to use to get that same high-quality whitening Opalescence is known for.

Dr. Hadaegh also likes this product, adding that the trays adapt to your teeth all the way to your molars. “They have 15% hydrogen peroxide, which means you only need to wear them for 15 to 20 minutes a day for five to 10 days. It also contains potassium nitrate and fluoride to help reduce sensitivity while strengthening enamel.”

However, because the concentration of hydrogen peroxide is so high, there’s a chance you may still experience some sensitivity, in which case it’s best to switch to a less concentrated alternative like Crest Whitestrips.

The best for sensitive teeth and gums

zimba white strips

Zimba white strips whiten over 7 to 14 days without causing major tooth or gum sensitivity and come in tasty flavors.

Pros: Affordable, no-slip strips

Cons: Only covers front 10 teeth (upper and lower), takes about a week to whiten, whitening doesn’t last

Pack count: 14 treatments

If you’re looking for teeth whitening strips but have had issues with teeth sensitivity in the past, Kunen suggested Zimba white strips. It’s made with a gentle formula that uses a low concentration of hydrogen peroxide.

One box contains 28 stain-removing strips (14 upper, 14 lower) which cover your front 10 teeth on top and 10 on the bottom. The strips stay on pretty well with anti-slip technology and they’re slick, so there’s no gel or goop. Moreover, you can choose between two tasty flavors, coconut or mint.

Zimba says you’ll see whiter teeth in 14 days, and it truly does take at least one week to start seeing any difference. The major downside here is that the whitening doesn’t seem to last long — most reviewers say you have to use the strips regularly to maintain results. But that’s not surprising considering the formula is gentler, and considering these are about as cheap as you can get for an effective whitening kit, these are a great way to whiten before an event without breaking the bank. –Rachael Schultz, health and fitness updates editor

The best LED kit

smile direct club

If you don’t want to use strips and are determined to use an LED light, the SmileDirectClub Teeth Whitening Kit is the way to go.

Pros: Few reports of sensitivity issues, more precise application of whitening gel, reusable mouth guard

Cons: Expensive, dentists agree the LED light will not make a noticeable difference 

Pack count: 14-28 treatments

The idea of LED teeth whitening kits has mixed reviews: Brands claim the light helps make teeth whitening more effective than traditional whitening strips or trays, but there aren’t any studies to support this claim and many dentists feel like they don’t speed up the process. Patrick Campbell, DDS put it succinctly when speaking with Insider: “Frankly, these products are not worth the money.”

That being said, LED whitening kits are probably as effective as the other options so they’re not a waste of money if you can find a well-priced option. Also, they come with whitening pens that allow you a bit more control in terms of the application so you can avoid your gums and any increased sensitivity, and they usually require you to spend less time per day with the formula on your teeth.

If you want to try an LED whitening kit, SmileDirectClub’s Teeth Whitening Kit is one of the most convenient choices and about the same price as non-LED options.

The direct-to-consumer kit includes a LED mouthguard to act as a catalyst for the hydrogen peroxide whitening formula. It only requires 10 minutes a day of use and comes with nine whitening pens (enough for two full treatments). When I tested the device, I found the company’s estimates to be conservative — I got more than double the use out of the pens than expected, which is a great value for the money.

I loved that the LED device just plugs into your smartphone for power. 

SmileDirectClub’s Teeth Whitening Kit is $74 for the LED Light and an estimated 12-month supply of whitening pens, and $40 for the LED Light and 6-month pen supply. You can find them all here.

Read our full review on SmileDirectClub’s LED whitening kit.

The best natural kit

teeth whitening

The Miswak Club Natural Teeth Whitening Kit is your best alternative if you’re looking for a natural, chemical-free approach to whitening your teeth.

Pros: Inexpensive, easy to use, no added chemicals

Cons: Takes some getting used to, smells weird

Pack count: 40 treatments

Teeth-cleaning sticks known as Miswak have been used for thousands of years in what is now Pakistan, India, many African countries, and other parts of the world. And, a meta-analysis in the Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine found that the Miswak was just as effective for oral hygiene as the toothbrush and toothpaste used by Western cultures.

The Miswak Club Natural Teeth Whitening Kit features two Miswak root sticks with two carrying cases. Each stick will last for three weeks of daily use. Miswak comes from the Arak tree, and this product contains no pesticides or chemicals. Miswak Club offers a 120-day money-back guarantee if you do not have noticeably whiter teeth after using their kit.

It has a sweet musky smell (which some people like and others really don’t) and doesn’t make a mess. Some reviewers have noted that it may take a few weeks of daily use to notice effects and that the smell may be a bit off-putting.

The best for professional-level results

linhart

If you want the intenser results of whitening at a dentist’s office, but at home, the Linhart Teeth Whitening Collection uses a formula from cosmetic dentists in New York City.

Pros: Professional-grade results, easy to use

Cons: Expensive, LED has minimal proven advantage

“This whitening system was custom designed by high-end cosmetic dentists in New York City and utilizes the same whitening gel they use in their office on their patients,” Dr. Kunen, who has no affiliation with Linhart, explained.

The kit contains four syringes of 35% carbamide peroxide whitening gel, an LED whitening light to activate the gel, and a milder whitening gel to help maintain your results. It’s a bit pricier than other at-home kits but, as Kunen pointed out, “For those patients looking to replicate a chairside whitening experience, this is closest you will find!” –Rachael Schultz, health and fitness updates editor

What else we considered

What else we recommend

Glowup LED Kit ($35): This direct-to-consumer LED whitening start up will personalize the whitening formula to your level of tooth/gum sensivity and discoloration. The LED light is powered by your phone and requires 16 minutes of use. It only comes with three gel vials and the syringes aren’t the most intuitive to spread on your teeth, so SmileDirectClub is a better choice for most people. But if you have sensitive teeth and want lasting results, Glowup is a great option. (Read our full review here.)

Snow LED Kit ($149): This well-designed LED teeth whitening kit comes with 4 serum pens (no syringes) that are easy to apply precisely to your teeth. All four will last you 75 treatments. The mouthpiece is very comfortable to bite for the suggested 10 minutes and plugs into your phone for power. The kit is quite pricey, but I saw results after two uses, so the included treatments will allow a whole family to whiten regularly for basically all of time.

Opalescence PF 35% Whitening Gel ($45.49): This is a cheaper alternative to the Opalescence Go that Dr. Kunen and Dr. Hadaegh both recommend, delivering the same Carbamide Peroxide formula in a syringe. You’ll need to use your own mouth trays, but we can confirm it delivers whiter teeth after just a few 30-minute sessions.

Lumibrite 32% Whitening Gel($25): Dr. Hadaegh told Insider that Lumibrite causes little to no sensitivity, while also producing excellent whitening results due to its high concentration of Carbamide Peroxide. It does require custom bleaching trays.

Zoom NiteWhite 22% Whitening Gel ($30): NiteWhite is a clinical-grade tooth whitening gel of 22% Carbamide Peroxide. It’s medium strength, so it’s an excellent option for individuals who have some tooth sensitivity but want a whitening gel that’s not too strong or too weak, Hadaegh said.

HiSmile Whitening ($130): If whitening kits have left your teeth or gums sensitive in the past, Kunen suggested this brand which uses Pthalimidoperoxycaproic acid (PAP) as its principal whitening agent as opposed to the more traditional and harsher peroxides. It’s definitely more expensive than the other options, but it’s also super easy to use.

What we don’t recommend

GLO Teeth Whitening Kit ($150): Glo Science sells a similar device to SmileDirectClub; both use an LED mouthpiece to reportedly act as a catalyst for hydrogen peroxide. But SmileDirectClub is a better value at half the cost. We still recommend strips over gel and mouth trays over LED light options, though.

FAQs about whitening your teeth

What types of teeth whitening products exist?

There are essentially two types of kits: ones that bleach your teeth to take stains off and ones that physically scrape off the stains. Whitening trays and strips have been the standard for decades and generally rely on carbamide or hydrogen peroxide. Activated charcoal powders had a spike in popularity recently, but the dentists we interviewed would tell you to nix the powders. Ira Handschuh, DDS, cosmetic dentist at The Dental Design Center in White Plains, NY and Ania Mohelicki, DDS, a cosmetic dentist in Boulder, CO both told Business Insider that they don’t recommend these because they can be abrasive and only remove surface stains. 

There is a third type of teeth whitening product that simply blasts your teeth with LED light, which typically claims to speed up the process and achieve more intense results. However, most of the dentists we interviewed agreed that any gains from this treatment are short-lived or nonexistent. “Most studies show some difference detected by computers, but no visual difference detected by the human eye. For the studies conducted in actual patients (in vivo), most found no added benefit for light-activated systems,” Charles Sutera DDS, FAGD, a professional dentist at Aesthetic Smile Reconstruction in Waltham, MA told Insider.

Only the SmileDirectClub system in our guide uses this technology, but it is used in conjunction with a whitening gel and a mouthguard that may offer better control over your placement and avoid increased gum sensitivity in comparison to strips. 

Which teeth whitening products are most effective?

“Shopping for teeth whitening products is very simple.” Dr. Sutera explained. “There is only one active ingredient in all teeth whitening products: hydrogen peroxide. It’s the same agent whether it’s prescription use or over the counter. Any other ingredients in the product are inactive fillers needed to create the right consistency of the product.” If you see carbamide peroxide on your ingredient list, it’s just a derivative of hydrogen peroxide. 

“The key is to understand that whitening can be effective at any percentage, but what differs is the time of use. A high percentage of hydrogen peroxide typically is only kept on the teeth for 20 minutes maximum, while a lower percentage can be worn for 6 hours or overnight.” Dr. Sutera explains. “Much of the selection comes down to personal preference. If you have a tendency to develop tooth sensitivity or if you want to minimize the risks of irritating your gums, that’s when you’d select a lower concentration.”

A few warnings about teeth whitening kits

Peroxide is effective, but it comes with several warnings. Pregnant or nursing women may want to stop using peroxide-based whitening products. It also isn’t suitable for children under 14 years old. And, you should not use peroxide for longer than two weeks of daily use without the supervision of a dentist.

The FDA does not recommend using any whitening gels with a peroxide concentration of higher than 18%. Two of the kits we recommend use peroxide (Crest Whitestrips and SmileDirectClub) but they should be safe for most people.

Again, you should always consult with your dentist before starting a course of treatment. For instance, if your darkened teeth are due to the natural thinning of tooth enamel that comes with aging, whitening kits will not help you. Also, they cannot whiten fillings, dentures, veneers, crowns, or caps.

Most importantly, Dr. Mohelicki says the biggest concern is wearing whitening kits for the right amount of time. “Over-the-counter options are inexpensive when compared to in-office whitening, but they offer no gum protection. With no gum protection, users can experience increased sensitivity and even burns in severe cases.” 

How to use teeth whitening kits effectively

Before using a teeth whitening kit, brush your teeth so your whitening agent can make contact with the surface of your teeth to improve efficacy, and so it doesn’t accidentally create an uneven white. “Any buildup of plaque or food debris will not allow for the whitening agent to contact the tooth and therefore not allow the whitening agent to do its job,” Dr. Campbell explained. “You could end up with a speckled, uneven whitened appearance.” 

And, after you’ve whitened, try to avoid food and drinks that stain your teeth.”I recommend that my patients stick to a ‘colorless diet’ just after whitening,” Dr. Handschuh told Business Insider. “Meaning, avoid highly-staining food and drink such as coffee, red wine, tea, sauces, etc.” But, if you really want to, he recommends using a straw to bypass your teeth a bit. 

As Dr. Sutera explained, whitening your teeth and then having a glass of red wine is like “two people in a canoe paddling in different directions. The whitening products open the pores and clean them out. If you have coffee, tea, or red wine within 72 hours of whitening your teeth, your teeth are more likely to absorb dark stains and adversely impact your whitening results.”

Does teeth-whitening damage your enamel?

“Most studies show that whitening does not damage enamel,” Dr. Sutera said. Though, there has been recent research that shows teeth whitening can affect proteins deeper in the tooth, though researchers are not currently sure if the damage is temporary or permanent, according to Dr. Sutera.

How can you prevent tooth sensitivity?

“It is common for the majority of people to experience increased tooth sensitivity after having teeth whitening done.” Dr. Mohelicki says. “However, for those who already have sensitive teeth, I recommend starting out by trying a whitening toothpaste. This takes significantly longer than trying an over-the-counter product or having teeth bleached in-office, but it can be significantly less painful.”

For whitening toothpaste, Dr. Sutera recommends patients with sensitive teeth use a toothpaste with potassium nitrate and fluoride and also use a fluoride mouth rinse. According to Dr. Sutera, potassium nitrate is the primary ingredient that helps with sensitive teeth, and fluoride a secondary option that has also been shown to help.  

If you have sensitive teeth and want to use a teeth whitening agent, you may just want to avoid higher concentrations of hydrogen peroxide. “The suggestion I would make is to use a lower concentration of whitening agent to get their desired whitening outcome while minimizing the risk of tooth sensitivity.” Dr. Campbell said. “Although anecdotal, I’ve found that brushing with Sensodyne toothpaste before and after whitening has helped me avoid sensitivity.”  

Why do you feel increased sensitivity after you whiten?

The bleaching temporarily weakens your enamel so the bleach can pass through it and further lift those stains, explained Dr. Mohelicki. “When [our enamel] is weakened during the bleaching treatment, many patients find that it can be hard to consume hot beverages, ice-cold beverages, or even eat certain foods. This typically wears off within 72 hours of ending treatment.” 

Our experts

For this piece, we consulted a handful of different dentists for multiple perspectives:

Read the original article on Business Insider

The 5 best electric toothbrushes for adults and kids, according to dentists

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • Electric toothbrushes can make your dental hygiene routine easier and more thorough.
  • We spoke to 3 dentists and tested several electric toothbrushes for which are the best on the market.
  • Our top pick, Hum by Colgate, cleans teeth well, has three settings, and is rechargeable, all for just $70.

If you’re someone who takes your oral care seriously, it only makes sense that you would want the best possible tools. While there’s nothing wrong with manual toothbrushes, electric toothbrushes can help you clean your teeth more thoroughly and more easily. While the majority of the studies comparing the two device types are funded by personal care brands, a few unbiased scientific reviews and small studies do suggest that electric toothbrushes may be better at reducing plaque and preventing gingivitis, and possibly at reducing gum bleeding and inflammation.

Moreover, dentists love electric toothbrushes because the built-in timers encourage you to brush for a full two minutes – a big bump from the average brushing time of 45 seconds with a manual one, reports the American Dental Association.

“I would say that nearly 100% of people not already using one would benefit from an electric brush,” Courtney Hain, DDS, dentist and owner of Smile San Francisco told Insider. (Find out more about how if the upgrade from manual to electric is worth it in our FAQ section.)

Electric toothbrushes can also be a godsend for those with limited dexterity, but they make brushing easier for virtually everyone. Since electric toothbrushes cost more than manual ones, it’s important to pick one that’s worth your money. (Hain also points out its important to use the brush properly, especially if you have issues like gum recession. See more in our FAQ about who should and shouldn’t use an electric toothbrush.)

We spoke to three board-certified dentists about the advantages of electric toothbrushes, tips for shopping and use, and some of their favorite products available today.

Here are the best electric toothbrushes

The best electric toothbrush overall

Three Hum Electric Toothbrushes on a red background

The Hum by Colgate cleans thorough and offers advanced features and modern design for just $70, making it the best value.

Pros: Affordable, easy to use, great design, can subscribe to brush heads, smart app connectivity

Cons: Not as many fancy settings as high-end ones

The Hum by Colgate proves that not all worthwhile electric toothbrushes need to be expensive. Although it’s not as customizable and in-depth as other top-tier options on the market, the Hum electric toothbrush features more than enough pulse settings — normal, sensitive, and deep clean — and pairs with an app that helps monitor your progress and overall oral health. 

The Hum by Colgate toothbrush comes with a charging stand and a travel case for $70. You can also opt for the battery-powered model, which also comes with a travel case, for $50. The key difference between the two models is that the battery-powered version only has two pulse settings — normal and sensitive. But for most people, that’s more than enough, our dentists confirm.

For the low price of either, you still get an accompanying app, which is a helpful tool that gives you a visual of which areas you’ve sufficiently covered and which still need attention. You can track your progress while you brush, but your results are also recorded if you don’t have your phone nearby. The app is aesthetically pleasing and, if you like game-ifying everyday tasks, you’ll enjoy using it to collect points and rewards. 

If you’re curious about smart features, but not prepared to plunk down a few hundred bucks, Hum is an affordable choice. — Amir Ismael and Ariana DiValentino

The best budget electric toothbrush

Two hands, one holding the Quip Metal toothbrush and the other holding a phone with the Quip app open

The Quip is a sleek-looking toothbrush with a gentler brush great for beginners and those with sensitive teeth, or someone looking to try out an electric toothbrush for under $50.

Pros: Low price, great for travel, sleek design, replaceable head and battery, comfortable to use, ADA-accepted

Cons: Not the most powerful, no adjustable settings

If you’re looking to try out an electric toothbrush, but you’re not prepared to drop significant cash, the Quip is a stylish and affordable option. Its basic, plastic model goes for just $25, with metal and smartphone-integrated versions starting at a reasonable $45. 

The plastic version has a nicely contoured handle that’s easy to hold and slim enough to fit inside a travel Dopp kit. It takes a single AAA battery, so there’s no need to carry around a charging station. There’s only one mode, so it’s also a no-brainer to use. There are no rotating heads, but the sonic vibrations are more effective than brushing manually, and a 2-minute timer (four 30-second pulses) ensures you know to brush for the recommended time. The toothbrush is also accepted by the American Dental Association.

Brushing with the Quip is a gentler experience compared to most of the other options on this list, but that actually makes it great for beginners and those with sensitive gums: it’s simple to use and easier to prevent brushing too hard. 

Conversely, people experienced with electric toothbrushes might find the intensity a little lacking, and might miss having multiple settings to switch between.

Read more: Quip vs. Philips Sonicare ProtectiveClean 4100. Here’s how two popular electric toothbrushes compare.

Quip offers subscriptions for brush head replacements, so every three months a fresh one will arrive at your doorstep (along with a AAA battery) for just $5 each. You won’t have to mark your calendar to remember when it’s time to switch.

The best advanced/deep clean

The Sonicare Prestige 9900 on a marble bathroom counter leaning on it's carrying case

Dentists love Philips Sonicare and its new 9900 Prestige has every bell and whistle you could want in an electric toothbrush, including the ability to adjust its vibrations based on how hard you’re brushing.

Pros: Protective pressure and motion sensors, personalized guidance, dentist-recommended, autosyncs with Sonicare app

Cons: Expensive

The Sonicare 9900 Prestige was a close second for our top overall pick since it has everything and does it all exceptionally, but its higher price point drove it into a more niche, luxury category. That being said, if you’re the type of person who likes to spare no cost for a top-of-the-line product to score the best possible daily cleaning, the Sonicare 9900 Prestige is for you. 

All three dentists we spoke to are fans of the Sonicare line, citing the brand’s clinical research supporting its efficacy in removing plaque and preventing gingivitis as some of the strongest in the industry. The 9900 is the newest of Sonicare’s advanced electric toothbrushes, and it bears a careful blend of power, gentleness, style, and tech. Sold in sleek black, champagne, and pink, it won’t look too bad sitting on your bathroom counter, either.

During my testing, I found that the sonic vibrations feel like a little massage for your gums, and the brush head’s soft, long bristles are useful for getting into tight crevices without feeling stabby. The brush has three different power settings, which you can easily cycle through by pressing the three dots that indicate the level chosen. 

Aside from the top-notch cleaning, the Prestige has excellent AI features, including sensors to tell you you’re pressing too hard or moving too much, and the ability to actually alter the brush’s intensity to counteract the pressure you’re applying. I personally found it easy (and even pleasant!) to use, and I’m fairly new to using electric toothbrushes. 

Like most electric toothbrushes, it runs for two minutes with pulses at each 30-second interval to help you keep time. The app is straightforward and helpful, tracking your coverage, pressure, and motion and giving you suggestions to improve your technique. 

The package comes with only one new A3 brush head (which I really liked, due to its long, angled bristles that easily cleaned around my molars), and replacements are relatively steep at $30 for two. That said, the brush body is compatible with any of Philips Sonicare’s click-on brush heads, which do include some cheaper options.

The best smart brush

A hand holding the Oral-B iO Series 9 toothbrush

The Oral-B iO Series 9 is great for experienced electric toothbrush users who like tracking their dental health with data. 

Pros: App gives thorough feedback, small round brush head to give teeth individual attention, sensors let you know when you’re pressing too hard

Cons: Expensive, noisy, may be intense for some users

Oral-B electric toothbrushes, and the iO series in particular, are loved by dentists because they boast a strong clinical backing for effectiveness in removing plaque and preventing gingivitis and bear the ADA seal of acceptance. It’s another top-of-the-line product, comparable to the Sonicare Prestige in price and capabilities, but we found that the iO’s greatest strengths are in its smart features, which is why we awarded it best in this category. 

The app gives detailed information on coverage, with helpful and clear visual guides to show you where on your teeth you’ve brushed adequately and where missed spots. It also alerts you when you’re applying too much pressure and keeps track of how long you’re over-pressuring to help you learn and improve your practice. If your dentist has told you that your brushing habits need improvement — or if you’re just curious and abundantly careful when it comes to your health — this could help you turn it around. 

The app also allows you to input goals, like whitening, and then coaches on how to best attain that. It also makes the whole process fun by incentivizing you with collectible achievements and scored brushing sessions.

The brush itself has seven different settings, including specific ones for cleaning your tongue and gums. I personally found the experience to be a little intense (and loud), even on the sensitive setting, but more practiced users might enjoy the power and variety of settings. The brush head is small and round, like the kind used in dentist’s offices, so you can polish each individual tooth and navigate around the back teeth. It definitely takes some getting used to — even with the small brush head, I gagged myself a few times — but this thing is no joke, and that’s probably why it has such a devoted fanbase of dentists and customers alike.

The replacement brush head pricing is also comparable to the Prestige, at $30 for a pack of two. 

The best electric toothbrush for kids

A child's hand holding a yellow Quip Plastic Toothbrush on a yellow background

The Quip kids brush is an affordable and dentist-approved choice for little ones.

Pros: Low price, great for travel, replaceable head and battery, ADA-accepted

Cons: Only one setting, no fun gimmicks

Teaching kids proper oral health is important, and for some, the tech of the electric toothbrush’s apps will get them excited to brush. Also, since children haven’t fully developed their fine motor skills, electric brushes can help their lack of dexterity. 

The Quip kids brush is a nice upgrade from a standard manual toothbrush without excessive bells and whistles or an intimidating price tag. Like the adult model, the basic Quip kids plastic brush is only $25. If you want app integration so you can track your child’s brushing habits, the smart version is only $20 more. Some parents will find this useful for teaching kids healthy brushing habits, like making sure they brush for a full two minutes.

The Quip brush keeps it simple and isn’t too “little kid” for your Big Kid, but also has addition like music, bright designs, and game-like app integration useful for very young children. The brush handle is also made of a soft, grippable rubber, so it’s easier for little hands to hold and maneuver than the hard plastic body o fother brushes. And the gentle vibrations mean less toothpaste splatter. 

Lastly, if you also opt for an adult Quip yourself, the company’s replacement brush head subscription option is a time-saver for busy families.

Our testing methodology/How I tested

We deferred to our expert sources for recommendations on which specific models they like and would recommend to patients, and we considered which electric toothbrushes have earned the ADA seal of approval. We read customer and professional reviews, and we personally tried out several different electric toothbrushes to take note of ease of use, speed, noise, differences in bristles, and value for cost.

What to look for in electric toothbrushes

There are a few universal considerations for a good electric toothbrush: You want one that holds a charge for at least a few days and has changeable pressure so you can ramp up the power of your brushing as you get more used to the sensation. The four 30-second timers are one of the strongest benefits of an electric toothbrush, our dentists say, but nearly every model has that feature now. Always opt for brush heads with softer bristles — too-hard ones aren’t any more effective, and can ultimately cause more harm than good. If you have limited dexterity or there are areas of your mouth that you have trouble reaching, a small and/or flexible brush head is best for you. 

But the vast majority of what to look for in a good electric toothbrush comes down to personal preference. Do you want a brush that’s rechargeable or uses a replaceable battery? What’s the price point you’re comfortable with (be sure you’re also taking into consideration how much replacement heads are)? Lastly, do you want smart features that give you feedback on how much pressure you’re applying and which spots you tend to miss? In reality, most of our dental experts said the smart features don’t do much to improve the quality of clean, but if you’d benefit from seeing a digital map of your mouth and confirmation you didn’t miss any areas, smart features may be a good choice for you.

As for how to know if an electric toothbrush is safe and effective, that’s a little harder. We usually turn to the American Dental Association (ADA), who evaluates dental care products and, if the professional organization determines that there’s sufficient evidence supporting a product’s claims and benefits, grants a Seal of Acceptance. It’s great to use a brush that has the approval of an independent committee of dentists like the ADA, but the review process is optional and somewhat costly, so it doesn’t need to be your end-all, be-all when shopping. Paul Springs, DMD, a prosthodontist with Dr. Mondshine and Associates in Queens, NY told Insider that the ADA seal is less important for electric toothbrushes than some other product categories, like toothpaste, because it’s much less likely to cause harm than a poorly formulated toothpaste. A brush that doesn’t have the ADA seal may very well still be a great product.

What else we considered

We researched and tested several electric toothbrushes on the market. These didn’t make our top picks because other products beat them in terms of value for cost, professional recommendations, and user experience – but they still have their strengths and have the potential to be someone’s favorite:

  • Smile Direct Club electric toothbrush ($19): This was the lowest-priced brush we came across, from the brand already well-loved for its invisible aligner program. The Quip had stronger credentials (ADA acceptance and customer reviews), which is why it earned the best budget brush spot over this one. But we still found it to be a solid battery-powered brush with the right amount of intensity and comfortably soft bristles. 
  • Philips One ($25 for battery version, $40 for rechargeable): You don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars to try out the brand dentists love to recommend. The Philips One is a great budget option that comes in stylish colors, and AAA-battery-operated as well as rechargeable models. The brush heads are well-priced, too, at $10 for two. 
  • AquaSonic Vibe ($37): The Vibe model is an all-around solid choice for a rechargeable electric toothbrush that doesn’t include smart features, and it’s sold in pretty shades like rose gold and metallic grey. The Vibe also boasts ADA acceptance, signifying its proven benefits in plaque removal and gingivitis prevention. It was originally priced at $140, but at its current markdown, it’s a good deal. We also love that it comes with eight brush heads – way more than any other product we found – and refills are affordable, too, going for $19 for eight. 
  • BURST Sonic Toothbrush ($100): The hum offers more features for less money, the BURST is a sleek and respectable product, with its diamond-faceted handle and three intensity settings. Brush heads go for $8 each. 
  • BURSTkids Sonic Toothbrush ($70): Like the adult BURST brush, we wish this one offered smartphone integration for the price it’s going for. Still, the silicone handle and two different settings (standard and sensitive) make it an appealing choice. 
  • Brusheez ($20): If the Quip kids brush isn’t exciting enough to get your little one motivated to brush their teeth, Brusheez are another affordable choice for children. They come in 9 different animal character styles, like Luna the Llama and Shadow the Shark. Instead of shutting off or pulsing after two minutes, it comes with a sand timer – lower tech, but the visual cue may work better for some kids. 
  • The CO. Worker ($99): Colgate’s new CO. line looks and feels like a cosmetics brand (hence why they’re selling at Ulta stores), and the CO. Worker electric toothbrush is pretty, with its white and gold body, pink bristles, and pastel ombre carrying case. It has some advanced features, like pressure sensors, but ultimately we felt other products offered comparable benefits at better prices. If aesthetics are a high priority, it’s a fine pick. 
  • Spotlight Sonic Toothbrush ($150): With three settings and no app integration, we felt that this brush offered less than some others, like the hum, for more money. But the small, almond-shaped brush head is great for maneuvering into tight spaces (which is no surprise, given it was designed by dentists) and the brush bodies come in nice colors. 
  • Soothsonic by Tend ($100): The Soothsonic, like the Spotlight and CO. Worker, is a little expensive for a brush that doesn’t include smart features. But we do like the small, teardrop-shaped brush head with soft bristles, and the mint green travel case it comes with is super cute.

FAQs

Who should use an electric toothbrush?

According to the dentists we spoke to, virtually everyone would benefit from upgrading to an electric toothbrush. Electric toothbrushes are especially useful for people with limited dexterity or mobility issues, but for most, their primary benefit is a psychological one. 

“Just the fact of their additional cost can be a motivating factor for some people to use the brush to its full effect,” Dr. Paul Springs said. Similarly, they almost always have 2- to 3-minute timers, which encourages most people to brush for a lot longer (and, therefore, more thoroughly) than a manual brush.


Is there anyone who shouldn’t use an electric toothbrush?

If you’re someone who already tends to brush too hard, electric brushes may worsen the problem, causing damage to gums and teeth. The good news is that many brushes on the market today have sensors to alert you if you’re pressing too hard, so you can adjust your technique. Ultimately, if you have concerns about gum recession or tooth structure, talk it over with your regular dentist. They can give you personalized advice.


Are electric toothbrushes really better than manual toothbrushes?

Well…it depends on you. There is some clinical evidence that supports electric toothbrushes being more effective at removing plaque from molars and premolars, but the dentists we consulted with said that it’s perfectly possible to clean your teeth thoroughly and effectively with a manual toothbrush. 

“Contrary to popular belief, a manual toothbrush can do just as excellent a job as an electric, assuming the user has the appropriate manual dexterity and motivation,” Dr. Springs told Insider.

An electric toothbrush just makes your job a little easier, plus they generally have a timer to let you know when you’ve brushed for the recommended full two minutes. Again, the benefits are mostly psychological, so go with whatever is going to help you brush regularly and for an appropriate length of time.

Lastly, electric toothbrushes are more landfill-friendly, since you’re only tossing out the small plastic head rather than and entire plastic manual toothbrush.


Can I brush my teeth for less time if I’m using an electric toothbrush?

Nope, sorry. In fact, what dentists often like most about electric toothbrushes is that they include a timer to guide you towards brushing for two minutes, which is the ideal time to use any toothbrush, manual or electric. But it might be an easier two minutes, especially if you’re someone with limited dexterity.

Expert sources

Dr. Ben El Chami, DMD is a dentist and the co-founder and chief dental officer of dntlbar, a family of Manhattan dental practices. 

Dr. Courtney Hain, DDS is a dentist who owns and operates her own practice, Smile San Francisco.

Dr. Paul Springs, DMD, is a prosthodontist who practices with Dr. Mondshine and Associates, a dental practice in Forest Hills, Queens, NY.

The best deals on electric toothbrushes from this guide

Electric toothbrushes are one of those things that you don’t want to spend a whole lot of money on. Of course, biting the bullet on a good toothbrush can save you in the long run, and a nice discount can make that easier. Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Amazon Prime Day are when we see all time lows, but you can still find $10 to $15 discounts throughout the year.

Below, find the best deals to help you enjoy brushing your teeth a little more. 

Shop the same prices from other retailers: 

Read more about how the Insider Reviews team evaluates deals and why you should trust us.

Check out our other oral care guides

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