Review: Philips Sonicare Electric Toothbrushes (parents read!)

Philips Sonicare Electric ToothbrushElectric toothbrushes for kids. I’m no luddite, but I have never seen the need for an electric toothbrush. My regular old-fashioned brush does the job fine, thanks. And it doesn’t suck up electricity which, no matter how minute, is still costing me money, right? I rigidly cling to my manual brush, despite my parents and husband all urging me to join the modern era and go electric. SO… (read on if you’re a parent, especially if, like me, you’re a lazy parent)…

The kids' Philips Sonicare electric toothbrushesMy children now have a Philips Sonicare Electric Toothbrush For Kids each –  thanks to the lovely people at Philips, who sent our whole family the Sonicare pack. (Thanks Philips!)

I’m a convert! The electric toothbrush for kids is a wonderful step forward in their dental hygiene. There are a few reasons for this, which of course I’ll go through. But the most compelling reason is that the new electric toothbrushes for kids come with alarms. A little bell rings at four intervals to direct your child when to move on to a different part of the mouth. This solves the problem of children brushing for too short a time. Divide the mouth into four quadrants and start with the upper teeth on the right hand side, then when the bell sounds move to the bottom teeth on the right hand side, then over to the left side to do the upper, followed by the lower. Or however you want to organise it.

Depending on the age of your child, I’d be reluctant to suggest it allows them to brush without supervision. Mine are 6, 5 and 4 years and the younger two children have a tendency to chew on the bristles of their toothbrush, and to also suck the toothpaste out of their mouth, leaving little paste left to actually foam up and brush their teeth. So I still supervise, and occasionally, such as Chrissy holidays when lots of sweets are consumed, I’ll even do a second brush after they’ve done their first once-over.

These Philips Sonicare electric toothbrushes for kids does give added peace of mind. The electric toothbrushes are more thorough and give a really great, all over clean.

Voice of experience and cavities

Brushing the kids’ teeth is a tedious chore – for me, at least. At the end of the day, the last thing I want to do, after I’ve got my tribe safely through another day alive and mostly intact, is sit down and supervise the brushing of three sets of dentures.

However, I know from personal experience that it absolutely must, must, must be done. I didn’t realise it at the time, but I was falling down on the job with my firstborn and as a result his front baby tooth got a cavity. Gasp! Shock! Horror! Yes, an actual cavity. We’ve kept the baby tooth and use it as a reminder to the three of them (and me!) that brushing your teeth three times a day is vital to good dental hygiene. Vital! (To be perfectly honest, his two front teeth were so close together it wasn’t brushing the problem as much as it was lack of flossing). We have learned a valuable lesson. Hopefully we only need to learn it once!

Random pluses

I recently took Matilda on holiday to SA and Victoria and we took her electric toothbrush and the recharger. I did not plug in the recharger the entire time we were away. The battery lasts a really, really long time. Which leads me to think, the power that these things use must be teeny tiny. Like, infinitesimal.

Totally waterproof, too. Last night, Matilda knocked all three toothbrushes into the bathtub – which was still full. I worried about batteries and water. No need! The toothbrushes were fine! I guess that seems like an obvious thing to protect your electric product against – water, especially when it is designed for the wettest room in the house – but I wasn’t sure.

Teaching children time management for teeth brushing. Over time, the kids are learning instinctively how long they’re supposed to be brushing their teeth – the recommended two minutes. So my hope is, thanks to the Philips Sonicare electric toothbrush, that they will brush for longer than the too-little commonly done 30 seconds. Fingers crossed!

Novelty factor. We’ve had our Sonicare toothbrushes for about four months now and the novelty factor has yet to wear off. I’ve got to say, they rarely, if ever, try to dodge teeth brushing. I rarely supervise the morning or lunch time brushes. I always pay close attention to the evening brush. And just by the by, rinsing your mouth after brushing is a critical part of the cleaning process. It helps dislodge any bits of food that have been loosened by the brushing process but not removed completely.

Random minuses

The cost of replacing the Sonicare heads – ouch! As one Tweeter said to me recently: “They make the long-term cost a luxury, not a necessity”. Replacement heads can be bought at Coles for $29.95 for a two-pack. The heads are recommended for six months, so it’s roughly $30 a year for tip top hygiene health. The Sonicare For Kids toothbrush retails for a gleaming $99.00.

Cleaning and maintenance is required. You can’t just throw these back in the cupboard after brushing and forget about them, as you do the old-fashioned manual brushes. These require some attention to upkeep. Sure, it’s not a huge drain on your time to remove the head and run a damp cloth over everything once a week, paying special attention to the grimy build-up around the spindle, but it’s still an added chore.

Which brings me to the totally awesome Sonicare toothbrushes for the adults…

Sonicare for grownups – the FlexCare range

One of the flashiest features to come with the FlexCare toothbrushes is the UV sanitiser. It is claimed to kill 99% of bacteria. The toothbrush also has a kind of a step-up program where the brush starts softly and moves up to get you used to the brushing regime.

The big questions – how does it compare with a regular toothbrush and for a comfirmed luddite is it worth the switch?

The Sonicare FlexCare toothbrush (for adults) retails for whiter than white $229, which includes the travel pack, the UV sanitiser, and two brush heads along with recharger.

A tiny jackhammer going off in my mouth!For me, trying the Philips Sonicare electric toothbrush for the first time was a bizarre experience. I found the Sonicare toothbrush gave my teeth and gums the most incredible all-over clean I’ve ever had. And I’m convinced – judging by all the crap that I was spitting into the sink which seemed to be lots more little bits of food than when I brush with what I will now refer to as my antique toothbrush – it results in a superior clean. All those toothbrush ads on TV talk about that “just-cleaned-by-the-dentist feeling” so I’m not going to use that cliched, hackneyed expression here. But I will say that I finally get what those ads are on about.

I started on the lowest setting – ‘massage’ – and it felt like a full-on teeny tiny jackhammer going off in my mouth. My head was still vibrating after it turned off! It tickled too! I’m too scared to try the higher settings!

Time for brutal honesty

I love, love, love the new Philips Sonicare electric toothbrushes – the Kids range and the FlexCare range for adults are both fantastic products. But blogging doesn’t pay all that well and so I’m not in the socioeconomic bracket that can spend $220 on a toothbrush, not to mention the $40 a year on replacement heads. That’s a judgment call for people to make themselves, as to whether they can afford it.

BUT now that I’ve tried an electric toothbrush I’m a firm convert. I love the timer that tells me when my two minutes are up. And the UV sanitiser appeals to my inner clean freak. And I’m even more of a fan of the Philips Sonicare for Kids toothbrushes. Teaching children how long two minutes is, and getting them to brush for that long, can be tricky but these toothbrushes achieve the impossible. We’ll stick with electric toothbrushes for life.

6 comments for “Review: Philips Sonicare Electric Toothbrushes (parents read!)

  1. Rebecca
    January 17, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    when phillips sends me a 5pk, i will gladly be converted – but the rate my boys chew bristles, i wont do it – even though dentists loudly proclaim the superiority of these products and you yourself have seen the difference

    • January 17, 2012 at 2:51 pm

      Yes, I agree Bec, it’s a problem when they chew the bristles. I will say that whether it’s because I’ve nagged them to death or the vibration of the electric toothbrush makes it difficult, but there has been a marked decrease in chewing on their toothbrushes lately.

  2. Mary
    April 18, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    $40/year for a brush is less than 12 cents day, and if you brush 3 times a day, that’s less than a nickle a brush. Shouldn’t break the bank.

  3. May 3, 2012 at 5:51 pm

    I love these Philips Sonicare electric toothbrushes when they work. Are family of three have used them for a decade. In the begining we shared one drive and switched heads. The unit was worn and cracked but kept on going. Our earlier model Philips Sonicare electric drive lasted three times longer than these newer units. Now we try to have a dedicated drive and head for each of us. We buy a new twin pack about every two or three years. My last Philips Sonicare electric toothbrush had intermittent timer trouble in less than six month. The only thing that is consistent anymore is change. I’m ready for a change. I will be looking for a simple off-on switch in my next one. I hope it will clean as good as the Philips Sonicare.

  4. Sarah Nicholls
    March 3, 2013 at 10:45 pm

    Thanks for your review Felicity-very helpful with my search for a great electric toothbrush (while I cringe at the price!).
    Cheers Sarah

    • March 5, 2013 at 9:49 am

      Hi Sarah,

      Glad you found the review helpful. I’ve got to add one thing, actually, which is that finding replacement heads for the brushes is difficult. Not in Coles or Woolies. 🙁

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