Money Wise--The New Toothbrushes

It's a daily drill that's often such a grind, but you have to brush your teeth. The question though, is which toothbrushes are worth your money? You see them on the store shelves. Some cost a buck or two, others are a lot more. So which ones actually get the job done? The Good Housekeeping Institute tested some of the newer ones that promise to make the job a little easier.

"The toothbrush has evolved a long way from the standard manual brush," said Amy Keller, GHI's beauty editor.

Good Housekeeping had these next-generation toothbrushes evaluated by three dental professors.

"Sometimes patients just want to have something that's new and sometimes these things are gimmicky," noted Dr. Charles Wakefield from the Baylor College of Dentistry.

Take the Radius brush. It's selling point is that it has three times more bristles than the standard. But Good Housekeeping found problems with the large head.

"The oversized head was a little too difficult to maneuver in some people's mouths," said Keller.

But the maker of Radius says, "Most consumers who switch to Radius repurchase. They got used to a large brush and are receiving the benefits."

Other brushes like the Oral B Cross Action Vitalizer have rubber prongs along their sides to massage the gums. But the dental professors weren't impressed.

"We are very interested in being able to clean around the tiny little crevice that goes around your tooth, those rubber prongs were too large to get into that area and clean," said Dr. Wakefield.

But the Vitalizer's maker says, "The brush has been clinically proven to significantly reduce inflammation of the gums in only four weeks."

One bright spot: inexpensive battery-powered toothbrushes like Colgate Motion.

"We found that some of those models worked just as well as some of the more expensive models where you had to have the recharger," said Dr. Wakefield.

For both manual and power brushes, dentists recommend a small head and extra-soft bristles. That should help you to stay away from what some call the dreaded chair.

Good Housekeeping says the power motion of battery-operated toothbrushes may also encourage kids to brush their teeth longer. And dentists say no matter what kind of toothbrush you're using, always floss, and you can stick to the inexpensive brands for that too, because the end result is almost always the same.

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Reported by: Dmitra Denmark,