Dentists agree that brushing your teeth for two minutes, twice a day, is the best thing you can do to keep your teeth healthy. And some studies suggest an electric toothbrush may help keep your teeth cleaner.
Consumer Reports just tested some and says which models did the best.
Kelly Starzec is teaching her son that a twice-a-day brushing habit helps eliminate the bacteria that causes plaque, potentially saving you from tooth decay and gum disease.
"Every night I brush my teeth with my kids to make sure they're brushing properly," Starzec said. "I like the electric toothbrush because I, admittedly, am not always the best flosser, but my dentists think I am."
Some studies show using a powered brush, like Kelly's, might reduce plaque and cases of gingivitis and lead to better gum health. Since they can cost well over a hundred dollars, how do you choose the right one? Consumer Reports just tested a batch of powered toothbrushes.
"Our volunteers were told to skip brushing or using other dental products for eight hours," Consumer Reports Testing Engineer Misha Kollontai. "We then had a dental hygienist check their plaque levels."
Each volunteer was then given an electric toothbrush and asked to brush for two minutes. The hygienist measured their plaque levels again.
"The before-and-after differences gave us our cleaning performance score," Kollontai said. "We also tested for battery performance, ease of use, and noise."
The electric toothbrush at the top of Consumer Reports ratings is a model from OraL-B, which got the top score for ease of use.
A cheaper option that also did well is from Philips Sonicare.
Whether you're using a top of the line powered brush or a simple manual one, experts say the way you brush is important, like angling your toothbrush at 45-degrees to reach the space between the teeth and gums.
Another tip? Focus on two teeth at a time and work your way around your mouth.
And, try not to brush too hard. That could do more harm than good.