Healthy Body

Okay, For Real—Is a Sonic Toothbrush Really Better Than a Regular One? I Tried It To Find Out

Erin Flynn

Erin FlynnAugust 20, 2020

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In my lifetime, the only habit I’ve held onto longer than learning the lyrics to every Taylor Swift song ever released (TBT to 2006 Taylor) is brushing my teeth.

But despite my longstanding dedication to my twice-daily routine, I’ve never given much thought to the tools I use to complete it. I’ve typically been a run-of-the-mill, two-dollar drugstore toothbrush person. I’ve dabbled in electric toothbrushes, but never understood the appeal. They’re just like regular toothbrushes that vibrate a little, right? Why do so many swear by them?

It turns out, most of the people I know who are in the electric toothbrush fan club are actually using sonic toothbrushes, which dentist Vanessa Creaven, MD explained to me is basically a souped-up version of a standard electric toothbrush.

“A sonic toothbrush operates by generating ultrasound in order to aid in removing plaque and rendering plaque bacteria harmless,” says Dr. Creaven, who co-founded Spotlight Oral Care with her sister Lisa Creaven, MD. “We recommend a sonic toothbrush over a non-electric toothbrush as the efficient, high-frequency brush movements ensure both toothpastes and oxygen are delivered to even the most inaccessible places. It is gentle and effective in removing plaque and discoloration, ensuring an amazing clean and in turn, long-term oral health.”

Pearly whites for years to come? I’ll bite (come on, I had to have at least one tooth pun). To see if the benefits of a sonic toothbrush are all they’re chalked up to be, I decided to take the Spotlight Oral Care Sonic Toothbrush for a spin .

First up: Figuring out how to use it. The Spotlight Sonic Toothbrush has three settings—sensitive, white, and clean—that correspond to different speeds and your goals for your teeth. The instructions suggest starting with the sensitive setting because some sonic toothbrush newbies can find the experience a bit intense at first. But I jumped in with gusto and tried the clean setting.

Let me tell you, the reviewers who say this toothbrush leaves you feeling like you just walked out of the dentist’s office aren’t kidding. After just two minutes of working the soft brush head over my teeth (the toothbrush vibrates every 30 seconds, prompting you to move to a different area of your mouth), they had that deep-clean feeling you only get after a visit to the pros.

One of the benefits of a sonic toothbrush: Feeling like you just walked out of the dentist’s office every time you brush your teeth.

That’s the benefit of using dental products designed by actual dentists—they’ve got the inside scoop on what really works. “As dentists, we have a unique insight into the needs and wants of patients,” Dr. Vanessa Creaven says. “When you look at oral care products, you see really basic formulations with seriously questionable ingredients, or natural products that just don’t work. We want to improve your oral health, but not at the expense of your overall health.”

Their passion for supporting people’s overall health is why they also put sustainability at the top of their priority list when they founded their company in 2016. Now, they make bamboo toothbrushes in addition to the sonic toothbrush, and all five varieties of their toothpastes are vegan-friendly, ocean-safe, and formulated with non-toxic ingredients in a 100-percent recyclable tube made from sugar cane. (Did you know it takes a plastic tube 700 years to dissolve?)

Now don’t get me wrong—I support sustainability as much as the next person, but usually when I read a description like that, the skeptic in me thinks, “there’s no way that type of toothpaste will leave me feeling as minty-fresh as the standard drugstore stuff.”

Well, I was wrong again. The Spotlight toothpaste felt just as powerful as my previous go-to thanks to its clinically proven ingredients, but it came with the peace of mind that I wasn’t putting sodium lauryl sulfate, triclosan, or artificial dyes and preservatives in my mouth (because, ew).

“The lining of your mouth is 50 times more absorbent than your skin,” Dr. Lisa Creaven says—i.e., if you’re using clean skin-care products, you might want to consider how clean the ingredients in your toothpaste are.

After several days of using the Spotlight Sonic Toothbrush and toothpaste, I was hooked. My teeth have honestly never felt cleaner, and the whitening toothpaste was starting to work its magic. Brb, going to get my membership card to the sonic toothbrush fan club.

Sponsored by Spotlight Oral Care

Top photo: Getty Images/Cecilie_Arcurs

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