If you are buying a new electric toothbrush but you can’t decide what brand suits you best, you are at the right place. This is the ultimate Oral B vs. Sonicare comparison that will help you understand all the differences between the electric toothbrushes these two brands produce, but also everything you need to know about clinical studies and technology behind them.
But what do we know?
We tested and analyzed over 50 electric toothbrushes. We published 30+ extended reviews of Oral B and Sonicare dental care products. We talked to several dentists and dental hygienists and asked them about the benefits of using an electric toothbrush.
Here are our favorite toothbrushes of these two brands.
Before we get into the technical stuff, let’s have a word or two about Sonicare and Oral B.
Both of these brands are owned by large corporations – Braun and Philips. Both Philips and Braun have been around for over 90 years and both of them are dominating several markets, including electric toothbrush, electric shaver, and several others.
The first ever Sonicare toothbrush was introduced in November 1992 while the first Oral B electric toothbrush was introduced in 1987.
Both of these brands own several patented technologies.
Technology behind Oral B and Sonicare toothbrushes
Sonicare develops electric toothbrushes with sonic technology. This means that the Sonicare brush heads are similar as traditional brush heads and they produce vibrating movements that can reach speeds of over 31,000 revolutions per minute.
This technology drives fluids between teeth and along the gum and gets rid of the plaque in the process.
Oral B develops toothbrushes with 3D cleaning action technology. While Sonicare toothbrushes just vibrate, Oral B toothbrushes use all kinds of motions – rotating / oscillating, sweeping back and forth, and vibrating.
When it comes to testing efficiency of electric toothbrushes, nothing is more relevant than clinical studies.
- A 1997 study by Robinson PJ concluded that sonic technology is superior to rotating technology in both reducing plaque and gingivitis.
- A 2014 clinical study by the American journal of dentistry concluded that an electric toothbrush with rotating technology reduces from 17.4% to 21.3% more plaque and gingivitis than a sonic toothbrush after both four and twelve weeks of use.
- Another clinical study suggests that the the sonic technology behind the Sonicare Flexcare is superior to the technology behind Oral B 5000.
Who should you trust?
There have been dozens of clinical studies comparing sonic and oscillating technology and the results are always quite inconsistent. It’s safe to say that many of these studies were conducted by one of these two brands and it’s logical to assume that some of them are biased.
It’s also important to know that not every sonic and not every oscillating toothbrush performs the same.
We talked to several dentists and dental hygienists and while it seems that the results of clinical studies are quite inconsistent, most dentists we talked to prefer Sonicare’s sonic technology. Their argument is that oscillating toothbrushes are too aggressive which can lead to gum damages.
We analyzed over 50 different electric toothbrushes and most of them are manufactured by Sonicare and Oral B. We analyzed their design, comfort, usability, and other technical specs such as battery life.
Which one should you buy?
When you’re buying an electric toothbrush, it all depends on how much are you willing to spend. The most expensive ones can cost up to about $200, but they have the same brushing technology and they are equally effective as most middle-priced ones. The main advantage the most expensive toothbrushes bring to the table is the number of cleaning modes, and the amount of goodies that come with them (travel case, USB charging glass, etc).
Our favorite electric toothbrush with a hefty price tag is the Sonicare DiamondClean because it looks great and because we believe it’s the best toothbrush we ever tested.
Our favorite medium-priced toothbrush is the Oral B 5000 which offers 5 cleaning modes, comes with SmartGuide and is about 50% cheaper than the most expensive toothbrushes we tested.
We weren’t able to find a clear winner, but maybe there really isn’t one in this battle. Most clinical studies that have compared Oral B and Sonicare efficiency are conducted by one of these two brands. That’s why it’s impossible to know which one really has the edge. It seems that the Position Detection technology of the newer Oral B toothbrushes has the edge when it comes to advanced technology. But you should always remember that the most important thing about any dental product is the cleaning efficiency. It doesn’t matter what electric toothbrush you will choose at the end because it will almost definitely have a better impact on your oral health than a manual one.
Some people prefer vibrations and some prefer oscillating brush motions. Both Sonicare and Oral B brands produce some of the best dental hygiene products in the world in several price ranges. The only advantage we could find is that Oral B brush heads are usually cheaper. Is that enough to turn you away from Sonicare toothbrushes? Probably not.
It’s also safe to say that most people use the same brand of electric toothbrushes for ever. If you start your journey with Oral B, you will probably never know how Sonicare works and the same goes the other way around. If you are really not sure which one to try out, you can always start with a cheaper electric toothbrushes just to be sure that you like it before you decide to throw in more money for a more advanced one.