Using an Evidence-based Approach to Making Patient Recommendations for Power Toothbrushes

Course Number: 648

Sonic Technology (Philips Sonicare and Others) Toothbrushes

A side-to-side motion undergirded by a high frequency (“sonic”) power toothbrush technology was introduced in 1992 (Sonicare® [Philips Oral Healthcare, Snoqualmie, WA, USA]) and later called Advance™. Sonic power toothbrushes also have continued to evolve since their debut. A second-generation Philips sonic brush - Sonicare Elite™ - was marketed in 2002 (Figure 3a); it was differentiated from the original sonic brush by a modified bristle trim, slim/angled brush head shaft to target hard-to-reach regions, and modified lighter and smaller brush handle.11

Figure 3a.

Figure 3a.

Sonicare Elite.

Figure 3b.

Figure 3b.

Sonicare Flexcare Platinum.

In 2013, Phillips introduced the Sonicare FlexCare Platinum with the InterCare brush head (Figure 3b). The FlexCare Platinum featured 3 modes with 3 levels of intensity offering 9 different brushing experiences. In addition, the handle was equipped with a pressure sensor to alert individuals when too much pressure was applied to hard or soft tissue. The FlexCare Platinum also featured an ultraviolet sanitizer to disinfect brush heads after use.

In 2016, Phillips introduced the FlexCare Platinum Connected in which it incorporated Bluetooth technology into the handle (Figure 3c). The FlexCare Platinum Connected features Smart Sensor technology which tracks patients’ brushing in real time and syncs via Bluetooth technology with the free Philips Sonicare app. This feature allows one to create a personalized 3‑D Mouth Map, helping users identify missed trouble spots and guiding them to proper brushing technique. The Smart Sensor technology provides feedback to help patients effectively reach more surfaces each time they brush.

More recently, the ProtectiveClean, DiamondClean and DiamondClean Smart power toothbrushes are now available, with the DiamondClean Smart electric toothbrush being the top of the line model (Figure 3d). It is equipped with up to 5 built-in smart sensors and a connected app to guide brushing. Settings are included for gum health, plaque removal, and whitening. Sonicare smart brushes deliver up to 62,000 brush movements per minute, giving the equivalent results of a whole month’s worth of manual brushing in just two minutes.

BrushSync technology is a feature of the Sonicare ProtectiveClean model which lets users know how hard they have been brushing and when it is time to replace the brush head. In certain models, BrushSync will automatically reorder and send users new brush heads once set up through the Philips Sonicare connected app.

Figure 3c.

Figure 3d.

Figure 3e.

Other sonic brushes also are on the market and widely available. One of the most notable is Quip. It is relatively inexpensive and was the first to actively market a subscription brush head re-ordering program, which others are now offering. Similar to Quip is the electric toothbrush by the smile™ Direct Club. Consumers will also see other sonic and O-R power toothbrushes, many of which have a store brand identified on it, e.g., Kroger Smile Sonic® Pro or CVS Health Infinity Rechargeable Toothbrush.

Another new entry to the marketplace is the WaterPik Sonic-Fusion® device, which combines the Waterpik® Water Flosser and a Sonic-Fusion® power toothbrush (Figure 4). This allows the user to brush and/or water floss using a single device. The sonic toothbrush uses a back-and-forth motion and is designed to clean both supra-and subgingival areas. “With the click of a button, the brush head becomes a jet tip for water flossing,” using the same hydrodynamic action used in all other Waterpik models.12

Figure 4.

Source: Water Pik

WaterPik Sonic-Fusion® device.