Did You Know?
A manual toothbrush is unable to remove up to 50% of plaque that has accumulated in the oral cavity.
Oral-B and Sonicare are two popular electric toothbrush brands in the market today. Both toothbrushes are known to be efficient in removing plaque. Although both brands are effective, each brand employs a different method of cleaning teeth. For instance, the cleaning action of Sonicare imparts a vibratory motion to bristles, while Oral-B bristles oscillate at high speed to dislodge dental plaque. Both these approaches provide deep cleaning and are clinically proven to eliminate plaque effectively.

We, as consumers, naturally find it difficult to decide the better of the two if both these toothbrushes appear to be effective in cleaning plaque. Let us shed more light on which of the two is better, through this Buzzle article.

Oral-B vs. Sonicare - Which is Superior

The oscillatory motion of Oral-B wins hands down when it comes to maintaining oral hygiene. Simply put, Oral-B is better than the Sonicare Elite at getting rid of plaque. As found through clinical trials, the plaque removal efficacy of Oral-B is higher than that of Sonicare.


A study reported in the Journal of Clinical Dentistry, involved the participation of 61 people between the ages of 19-64 years. The 2 electric toothbrushes that were considered for comparison were Philips Sonicare Elite and Oral-B Professional Care Series.

An oral tissue examination of those subjects who did not brush their teeth for approximately 24 hours was recorded. The examination before brushing revealed the whole mouth plaque scores. Subjects who scored 0.60 or more were given either one of the toothbrushes for cleaning their teeth. After 2 minutes of brushing with a commercially available dentrifice, the oral tissue examination was re-conducted to note down the plaque scores. Following a brief washout period, participants repeated the procedure after changing their toothbrushes.

✦ Outcome
It was observed that after a brushing session, both toothbrushes were effective in lowering the plaque levels substantially. However, Oral-B was found to be much better than the Sonicare Philips Elite at eliminating whole mouth care. Moreover, the plaque removal efficacy of Oral-B from buccal, marginal, lingual and approximal surfaces was also higher than Sonicare.

With Oral-B, there was a 97% reduction in approximal plaque, and an 88% drop in whole mouth plaque. Whereas, the usage of Sonicare revealed that whole mouth plaque decreased by 61%, and the approximal plaque decreased by 73%. The result clearly proves that the vibratory movement of Sonicare is not as effective as the oscillating movement of Oral-B in removing plaque.

Second Clinical Study

However, one clinical study showed that the Philips Sonicare Flexcare Platinum, the latest 'incarnation' from Sonicare, has substantially higher plaque removal efficiency than the Oral-B ProfessionalCare SmartSeries 5000.

The study involved the participation of 110 healthy individuals between the ages of 18 to 65 years. After a 24-hour absence of oral hygiene, the minimum average plaque score of the participants was recorded, which was found to be 1.8. Subjects were randomly given Sonicare FlexCare Platinum or Oral-B ProfessionalCare SmartSeries 5000 and advised to use the electric toothbrush for 3 days. This was followed by a 3-day washout phase that involved usage of a manual toothbrush. After 24 hours of no brushing, participants underwent intraoral examination to check for plaque deposition. Participants were then asked to use alternate toothbrushes and the same procedure of a 3-day power toothbrush use and a 3-day manual toothbrush wash-out phase, was followed. The participants then returned to the clinic for plaque evaluation following 24 hours of no oral hygiene.

✦ Result
It was observed that the Philips Sonicare FlexCare Platinum was a clear winner and fared much better in removing plaque. The FlexCare was found to be much more effective than the Oral-B 5000, in reducing overall surface plaque (p-value less than 0.0001), including in difficult-to-access posterior interproximal areas.

Electric Toothbrush Reviews

Oral-B ProfessionalCare SmartSeries 5000

Among the electric toothbrushes, the Oral-B ProfessionalCare SmartSeries 5000 model has received positive feedback by customers and experts alike. Thanks to its numerous features, this is one of top-rated toothbrushes recommended by dentist. The brush priced at around USD 115, comes with 5 cleaning modes such as sensitive, daily clean, deep clean, massage, and whitening. Also, if you exert excessive pressure while brushing, the toothbrush displays a warning light and even makes a noise. It also has a timer that alerts you in case brushing time is less than 2 minutes. Also, the brush head is capable of oscillating, rotating and pulsating, which helps to easily access hard to reach areas of the mouth.

Philips Sonicare FlexCare Platinum

With 9 brushing combinations, one can imagine how customizable the toothbrush can be. The brush operates in 3 modes (Clean, White, and Gum Care) and has 3 personalized intensity levels (Low, Medium, High). No matter what combination is chosen, it provides deep cleaning action that can allow to access even the most difficult areas of your teeth. The InterCare brush head has bristles of varying lengths, which not only remove plaque between the teeth and along the gum line but also whiten the teeth by removing stains, thereby giving a never before brushing experience. Similar to the Oral-B 5000, the brush is equipped with a pressure sensor and a timer that ensure you do not exert too much pressure while brushing. It also ensures that you clean the teeth for at least 2 minutes. The Flexcare model has a UV brush sanitizer that keeps the brush head safe from bacteria and viruses. So, although the brush is slightly expensive (USD 199), the tailor-made brushing experience is worth every penny.

Oral-B ProfessionalCare 1000

This is the basic model in the Oral-B lineup of brushes. Priced at around USD 40, this is a practical choice for those on a tight budget. Although it has just one mode of operation (daily clean), the brush is effective in cleaning and plaque removal. It is observed that most people prefer to use just one cleaning mode on a daily basis. It works just as well as the Oral-B 3000 series. Also, using a toothbrush that has different cleaning modes can be sometimes frustrating as the power button in Oral-B 3000 is found to be sensitive even to the most gentle of touches, which unknowingly causes a change in operation mode.

However, there have been issues with the pressure sensor feature of the Oral-B 1000 as it is not sensitive enough to detect pressure when brushing too hard. So, when using this Oral-B model, make sure to brush your teeth gently. And, if you don't feel the need for multiple modes and are looking for a cost-effective toothbrush, buying the Oral-B 1000 model is justified.

Keep in mind that it does not matter whether your brush is expensive or a cheaper alternative to the Oral-B 5000 or Philips Sonicare FlexCare Platinum. It is important that you brush properly to make full use of the cleaning technology. Brushing for just 20-30 seconds is not enough, no matter how many features the toothbrush has. Brushing for at least 2 minutes is essential for thorough cleaning. Also, it is observed that the smaller the head of the brush, the better it is at cleaning the oral activity thoroughly. On the whole, invest in a brush that you are comfortable with, and that helps to maintain the best possible oral health.