We all look for more convenient, more effective ways to do just about anything in life. That includes brushing our teeth. Before you spend $20 or more on a new brush, know what you’re buying.
How it works
Ionic toothbrushes are relying on the physics of positive and negative charge (opposites attract) rather than friction and force as traditional brushes and pastes do. The surfaces of our teeth carry a negative charge. Bacteria and plaque cling to those teeth because of the positive charge they carry.
The charged metal (sometimes titanium) in the ionic toothbrush changes the charge of the surface of your tooth, repelling the bacteria and plaque rather than attracting them.
Do they work?
Ionic toothbrushes have certainly been through the testing ringer and the consensus is that they do in fact work. The debate is whether they work better than a sonic or even a traditional brush. The National Institutes of Health published one study, for example, revealing better results from a sonic toothbrush when it comes to gingivitis and plaque reduction. However, the difference was statistically insignificant.
In theory, ionic brushes should be better at removing gunk in the hard to reach areas. For example, a traditional brush needs to have bristles long enough and flexible enough to get in between hard to reach molars. But in the case of ionic brushes, simple contact on the tooth surface should remove the bad stuff.
Anecdotally, some ionic toothbrush users report a significant difference in how smooth and clean their teeth feel. All things being equal, perception is everything. So if an ionic toothbrush gives you a more confident smile, go for it. However, we recommend using toothpaste even though the brushes don’t have to be used with toothpaste. Toothpaste is a good way to get a boost of fluoride, a safe way to get whitening elements on your teeth, and a pleasant way to get more pleasing breath.
Things to consider
Ionic toothbrushes typically run on batteries that can last about 2 years. So, during that time, you’re going to need to replace the brush heads. Before purchasing a brand of ionic brush, check into the availability and cost of replacement heads.
If you get an ionic brush and feel a difference to your teeth—for instance that smoother than ever feeling—please don’t mistake that for a need to brush less often. Flossing once and brushing twice a day is the bare minimum of good dental hygiene.
We feel that ionic brushes are a more trend than icon, but the most important thing about dental hygiene is consistency. So if having the latest and greatest trend makes you a more reliable brusher and flosser, we think that’s iconic.