How does an electric toothbrush work?

Electric toothbrushes are made up of a handle and a removable brush head. The handle or base unit houses the power source of the toothbrush, usually a rechargeable battery. This unit it sealed to ensure that water cannot get into the battery.

When the toothbrush is switched on, the brush head (thanks to a cam and gear unit which is situated above the battery,) can move up to 7,000 times a minute, either rotating, counter rotating, rotating-oscillating or oscillating-pulsating. The brush is used in the same way as a manual toothbrush and gently moved over the teeth in order to remove plaque, other bacteria and food debris.

Sonic toothbrushes work slightly differently; the brush head vibrates rather than rotates, moving even faster than a regular electric toothbrush. As the brush head moves, it not only cleans the tooth surface but generates waves of turbulence within the toothpaste and water, these are pushed over the teeth and between spaces.

This further helps to shift plaque and debris from the teeth.