Manual Toothbrushes

What’s The Best Toothbrush For Me?

Here's what I recommend as the best toothbrush for the under 40 crowd. It could be the best 20 bucks you ever spend to take care of your teeth.

by Dr. Burhenne

Can an Electric Toothbrush Cause Bleeding Gums?

Dr. B, I've noticed you're offering a free Sonicare to Facebook fans but I'd be fine with a free old school scrubber. Got me thinking - What is the best toothbrush and toothpaste combo for a 24-year-old male such as myself? - Steven from Mountain View, CA

A: Steven: Glad you asked. At 24, you’re probably just out of college and starting your career, so I’m sure you can appreciate the low cost of the old school scrubber. However, at this age, you need a high tech solution like an electric toothbrush with a 3-megapixel camera, full qwerty keyboard, and 3G network.

No, but seriously, here’s the best toothbrush for those under age 40: The Oral-B Vitality. It’s a rechargeable electric toothbrush and should cost you about 20 bucks. A bit more of an investment at first, but for the same amount of time you would have spent using a manual toothbrush, the electric toothbrush will be more effective at cleaning your teeth and removing stains.

Don’t overspend on all the bells and whistles – this is all you need. Keep a soft bristle manual toothbrush to brush your teeth while away from home, such as in the car or after lunch at work. And replace all toothbrushes and toothbrush heads every 2 months.

Since at 24 years of age your gums have not receded yet, the Oral-B Vitality Precision is best for you as it removes the biofilm (skin of your teeth) better than manual brushing and with less harm to your gums than if you were to brush manually.

Make sure you let the toothbrush do the work for you otherwise you’ll be damaging your gums and your teeth. Hold the toothbrush in place (no scrubbing back and forth as you would with a manual toothbrush) and let the spinning of the head do the work for you. This motion is unique and impossible to be mimicked by the human hand.

The Oral-B is also much better for removing teeth stains, and with all the coffee and wine your age group is exposed to, the Oral-B is the best choice.

Later, when you are 40 years old (it’ll happen!) with slightly recessed gums, the Sonicare becomes the toothbrush of choice, as it’s better at getting in between the teeth than the Oral-B, and biofilm specifically between the teeth is more of an issue at this age.

Now, if you really want to get OCD (like me), alternate between the two toothbrushes, and benefit from both of their specialized strengths!

As for toothpaste, stay away from whitening formulas, anti-tartar formulas, and Sodium Lauryl Sulfate. Many kinds of toothpaste contain triclosan which is a chemical that is linked to endocrine disruption and thyroid problems.

Stay away from these formulas and stick with a toothpaste that is mildly abrasive and that tastes great (so that you look forward to brushing).

You can usually find these qualities in the Rembrandt and Tom’s of Maine brands.

Toothpaste has one sole purpose: to add a mild abrasive to aid the toothbrush to remove biofilm– that’s it.

Hope this helps, Steven.

Mark Burhenne DDS

Juggling all the pieces of your health is hard...

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Dr. Mark Burhenne DDS


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  1. Thanks Dr. B, great answer, really nice to have someone cut through the barrage of discordant information coming from people trying to sell things.

  2. First of all, I love this website. What a good resource. Second, I read this article previous to when I left for my semester abroad. I can somewhat be the dentist’s nightmare, being a kid who has had 14 fillings. I bought the Oral B “Vitality” electric toothbrush prior to my departure and was pleasantly surprised by the results. I came back from abroad with no cavities, nor etchings. So NOTHING! What a happy ending to a previously filling- filled mouth! I highly recommend this toothbrush.

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