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Review of the Sonicare Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush



Sonicare Rechargeable Electric ToothbrushGood dental hygiene is the cornerstone of having good breath, so it seemed fair to tell you about the sonic toothbrush that my family has been happy with for a long time.  I have been using Philips Sonicare toothbrushes for years.  We are on our third model of Sonicare.

The first one worked wonderfully until I lost the charger on a trip.  The second one we had for years and we began to wear out the on button and the cover of the handle (not easy to do).  Now our current Sonicare model is the Philips Sonicare CleanCare HX5853/71 Power Toothbrush with Quadpacer ***Twin Pack***.

Our Life with a Sonicare  Toothbrush

We got our first Sonicare long before we began our bad breath website.  I have been an overly aggressive brusher with a manual toothbrush and the Sonicare was recommended by my dentist for my tooth and gum health.

Years later, when I got braces, it did a much better job of keeping my teeth clean than when I would occasionally use my manual toothbrush.  I have a permanent retainer, so the backs of my front teeth – an awkward place to brush – still get a good sonic cleaning.

And I have found, since I am a devoted West Coast coffee drinker, that our sonic toothbrush keeps my teeth whiter than when I decide to rely on my manual toothbrush for a few days.  It doesn’t turn them into movie star bleached white, but it does maintain the look I get when I have had a cleaning at my dentist’s office.  On the occasions when I bleach my teeth, it keeps them whiter longer.

What is a Sonic Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush?

An electric toothbrush is one that has a battery and the brush head either vibrates or rotates or may both rotate and pulse.  The Sonicare toothbrush heads vibrate up to 31,000 movements per minute.  These fast motions are said to push liquids into the spaces between your teeth and along your gum line, helping clean your teeth.

They are easy to use for people who have arthritis or lack dexterity.

Cleaning with a Power Toothbrush – Fun Features

When you use your Sonicare rechargeable electric toothbrush, you will find that you don’t need to ‘brush’ with it.  Just place it on your teeth, let it do its work and gently move it along your teeth.  It does all of the brushing for you.

The vibration may seem extreme to first time users, so the Easy-Start feature was created.  When you begin brushing with a new toothbrush, it gradually increases the vibration power over the first 12 uses so you can adjust to the new feel of sonic brushing.  By the twelfth brushing, you will have adjusted to the feel and have learned the new techniques you need when using this type of brush.

Here are some tips:

  • Don’t turn the brush on until it’s in your mouth or you will have toothpaste all over the place.
  • Keep your mouth closed as you brush to prevent spraying and dribbling.
  • Try to keep the brush horizontal to avoid dripping toothpaste down the handle.
  • Keep the brush bristles on your teeth.  If you touch the hard part of the brush head to your teeth, it will vibrate and chatter against your teeth.
  • Be sure the brush head is completely attached or you will get noise and chatter from that.
  • Take a moment after the two minute timed cycle to turn on your brush again and go over the tops of your molars.

Two of the best features of the Sonicare are the Smartimer and the Quadpacer.

The Smartimer:  The brush stays on for a full two minutes, giving you a set time for a very thorough cleaning.  If you should stop the brush and start it again within 30 seconds, the Smartimer will begin at the same place you left off in the two minute cycle.

The Quadpacer:  This is one of my favorite features.  During the two minute timed brushing, the brush beeps once every 30 seconds.  This makes it easy to spend an equal amount of time on brushing each quadrant of your teeth:  top outside, bottom outside, top inside, bottom inside.  Not all Sonicare toothbrushes come with Quadpacer, so I recommend that you take care to choose one that does have this feature.

Philips Sonicare FlexCare

Rechargeable Battery

The toothbrushes come with one or two plug-in chargers that you can set on your bathroom counter.  The
battery is totally sealed within the handle which sits easily in the charger base.  Everything is, of course, safe to be around water.

The batteries will hold their charge for about two weeks if you use your toothbrush twice a day.  This gives you the option to travel without taking the charger base with you.

Some reviewers have suggested taking 24 hours to fully charge the battery, then using the unit until the battery needs to be recharged.  Personally, we just leave the charger base on the counter and use it as our toothbrush holder.

Change Sonic Brush Heads Every Season

The toothbrush heads are replaceable and come in two sizes.  The Standard is a normal size, and the Compact is smaller and designed to focus on those harder to reach places.  The necks have a colored ring so you can identify which brush head is yours if more than one person is using the Sonicare,

Sonicare recommends changing to a new brush head four times a year.  They say that microscopically the bristles show fatigue after about three months of use and are less effective in cleaning your teeth and massaging your gums.

This is in line with the American Dental Association recommendations.  They recommend that any toothbrush or toothbrush head should be replaced about every 3 months.  This is based on wear on the bristles and because germs and bacteria from your mouth can accumulate in the bristles over time.

Which One to Choose?

The Philips Sonicare Rechargeable Electric Toothbrushes

There are several versions of the Philips Sonicare toothbrush, from a very basic model to ones with bells and whistles.  Some of the bells and whistles, in my opinion, are worth the price.  For instance, the Sonicare HX5752/02 Essence is a slightly more expensive version of the Essence because it has the Quadpacer feature.  Over time you will find the convenience of the well worth it.  If there is more than one person using the Sonicare or if one travels a lot, you might consider the Philips Sonicare CleanCare HX5853/71 Power Toothbrush with Quadpacer ***Twin Pack***, which comes with 2 handles, 2 chargers, 3 brush heads, 2 travel cases and travel caps for the brush heads.

The Philips Sonicare FlexCare Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush

The FlexCare is the most advanced Sonicare toothbrush.  It has three cleaning modes programmed into the handle.  It removes more plaque than other electric toothbrushes, including the Sonicare Elite.  Some units have an ultraviolet (UV) Sanitizer unit in the charger base that removes up to 99 percent of the bacteria on your toothbrush.  They all have the Quadpacer feature.

Better Than a Manual Toothbrush

Consumer Reports states that there have been studies that show that a manual toothbrush can be as effective as an electric “if used right”.  Realistically the average person won’t brush his or her teeth for two minutes each time if they are using a manual toothbrush.  And that is adults – children and teens are even less likely to do it.  Most people won’t devote the same amount of time to each of the four areas of their mouth.  They can’t move the toothbrush more than maybe 300 or 400 times per minute and wouldn’t maintain that at a steady pace or at the proper angle.  And it’s unlikely they would do it maintaining the same amount of pressure and proper angle of the brush.

Sonicare Essence Toothbrush with QuadpacerI know I won’t and don’t do that.  For real life, a sonic toothbrush gets the brushing done right time after time.

How Much Should You Expect to Pay?

Right now, 2012, you’ll pay anywhere from around $45 for the Philips Sonicare HX5351/30 Essence 5300 without Quadpacer up to $123 for the Philips Sonicare CleanCare HX5853/71 Power Toothbrush with Quadpacer ***Twin Pack*** that we use.  This is a lot more than the cost of a manual toothbrush, and you do need to buy replacement heads.  Broken down over the years you’ll have your Sonicare toothbrush, this is the price of a couple of cups of coffee a month.  Compared to dental work, it is a very small cost.

The lowest prices I’ve seen are on Amazon.  And Pricegrabber.com has listed them as having the lowest prices of eight online retailers.  On one Amazon page I even saw a request for feedback to tell them if you have seen lower prices elsewhere.

Does It Include a Warranty?

The manufacturer website states that all Philips Sonicare and FlexCare toothbrushes have a 2 year warranty.

What Others Are Saying

All models of these toothbrushes have gotten rave reviews from most purchasers.  On the Amazon website, the Philips Sonicare HX5351/30 Essence 5300 Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush has received 1,096 reviews with an average rating of 4 ½ out of a possible 5 stars.

The Philips Sonicare HX6932/10 FlexCare RS930 Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush has gotten 716 reviews with an average 4 star rating.  Many of the positive reviews came from previous Sonicare owners who were replacing an older model and from users of other brands of electric toothbrush who switched to Sonicare.

Here are some of the comments:

  • “This toothbrush is absolutely AMAZING!”
  • “It’s almost like getting a professional cleaning”
  • “I had my first Sonicare for 6 years…and loved it. “
  • “Gingivitis patients should not hesitate to buy this toothbrush: the cost is nothing compared to the benefits.”
  • “I’m very happy with this toothbrush…”
  • “We have had other Sonicare products and this is the best yet.”
  • “Good Product Here!”
  • “You can actually feel the surface of your teeth getting cleaner.”
  • “This is definitely the kind of appliance that sets a standard for what you come to expect and want.”
  • “Worth every penny.”

Our family is in the category of happy continuous owners.  Our grown children also have Sonicare toothbrushes.

Any Complaints?

I found very few complaints about this toothbrush.  One consumer disliked the screw on design of the brush head.  She found that water and brushing liquids could seep down into the top of the handle, which she found quite disgusting.  I had the same experience but eliminated the problem by keeping my lips closed and the handle fairly horizontal when I brush, and then by rinsing and wiping off the neck of the brush when I’m finished.  I do the same thing when I’m using a manual toothbrush because I don’t like a gummy handle on any toothbrush.  This unhappy reviewer then went on to recommend that people buy the Sonicare Flex Care model, which has a different attachment design.

Where Can You Buy the Sonicare and Flexcare Power Toothbrushes ?

You can buy these Sonicare toothbrushes and replacement heads from lots of places, but I recommend that you get yours from Amazon.  One benefit from shopping on Amazon is that you have a full range of products to choose from, which is rarely the case when you buy from a local store or from some of the other online retailers.  And Amazon has great prices which are usually at a discount from the regular retail price.  At the moment Amazon is offering a free shipping option for purchases over $25.

Amazon ships several of the Sonicare products in “certified Frustration-Free Packaging”, which is a streamlined packaging they created in cooperation with Philips.  This means that your product may ship in its own special package without an additional shipping box, the packaging is recyclable, and it is easy to open without a knife or box cutter.

Where Can You Read More Reviews

You will find the most reviews by actual purchasers and user of these toothbrushes and for other Sonicare products on Amazon.  Click here to read more.



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