Laboratory test
The dentist checked the amount of plaque and the condition of the gums before and after 28 days of use. Photo: Matthieu Colin

Testfakta Research has conducted a comparative laboratory test of electric toothbrushes on behalf of Oral-B. The lab test was performed by the independent French laboratory Eurofins ATS in Aix en Provence.

 

The following electric toothbrushes were tested:

  1. Oral-B Genius 9000 + Cross action
  2. Philips Sonicare Diamond Clean + HX6068/26
  3. Jordan Clean Premium + Clean head
  4. Colgate ProClinical A1500 + Triple clean

 

The sample was taken from premium products (the most expensive and most advanced options) made by the biggest manufacturers in the market. All the toothbrushes are rechargeable with integrated batteries.

The Oral-B Genius 9000 is equipped with position detection via a smartphone app. The app tracks where and how the user brushes and gives instructions for optimal brushing. The other toothbrushes are “classic” electric toothbrushes.

The test items were purchased by Testfakta Research in July 2017. A total of 25 toothbrushes per model were required in order to carry out the test.

 

The laboratory test

The main focus of the test was on the toothbrushes’ capacity to remove plaque, prevent the build-up of plaque and improve the condition of the gums. The evaluation was carried out by a test panel comprising 139 individuals, split into six groups, who used their allotted toothbrush for 28 days. All the individuals brushed with the same toothpaste for the whole of this period.

The performance of the different toothbrushes is based on the results of a clinical examination of all the teeth and the various regions of the gums for each individual, before and after the test period.

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An employee at Eurofins assesses the test notes along with the independent and experienced dentist employed for the test. Photo: Matthieu Colin

The test involved the following main elements:

  1. Clinical evaluation of the toothbrushes’ capacity to eliminate plaque.
  2. Clinical evaluation of the toothbrushes’ capacity to reduce plaque over time (long-term effect).
  3. Clinical evaluation of the toothbrushes’ impact on the gums (gingival effect).
  4. The test panel’s assessment of ergonomics and ease of use.
  5. Battery capacity and charging time.
  6. Durability.

 

After an initial dental examination, 139 individuals were selected for the test. Selection criteria:

  • Men and women aged 18–70
  • Smokers and non-smokers
  • At least 20 natural teeth
  • Incidence of plaque
  • No to mild gum irritation/inflammation
  • Users of manual toothbrush or both manual and electric

 

The test panel was split into four groups based on the criteria above. In choosing the split, the greatest emphasis was placed on the incidence of plaque (how much plaque), gum condition, whether the individual was a smoker/non-smoker and age.

 

The panel members in each group were given an electric toothbrush along with instructions on how it works and how they should brush for the duration of the test – brushing morning and night, two minutes at a time, divided equally between the upper and lower jaw and the left and right side (all regions of the mouth). Each panel member used the toothbrush in their home environment over a period of 28 days.

 

Clinical evaluation

An examination of the teeth and gums was conducted by a qualified and experienced dentist.

Plaque

The assessment of the amount of plaque was made using the Quigley Hein Index, a 5-point scale for determining the amount of plaque covering the teeth. The assessment was performed on all the teeth in the mouth, on the front and back of each tooth. The assessment of the back also included the gaps between the teeth.

 

Quigley-Hines-Index

Gums

The condition of the gums (incidence of swelling, irritation or inflammation) is determined on a 4-point scale:

0: No signs

1: Minor signs

2: Moderate signs

3: Clear signs

 

Test parameters

A. Clinical evaluation of the toothbrushes’ capacity to eliminate plaque

The toothbrushes’ capacity to eliminate plaque is judged by comparing the amount of plaque before and immediately after brushing in the lab. The assessment is performed on all the teeth in the mouth.

B. Clinical evaluation of the toothbrushes’ capacity to reduce the build-up of plaque

The toothbrushes’ capacity to reduce the build-up of plaque is judged by comparing the amount of plaque before brushing at the start of the test period and at the end (after 28 days). If the amount of plaque has reduced, this indicates that the toothbrush has the capacity to reduce the build-up of plaque on the teeth.

C. Clinical evaluation of the toothbrushes’ impact on the gums

The toothbrushes’ impact on the gums is judged by comparing the incidence of swelling, irritation or inflammation in the gums, before brushing, at the start of the test period and at the end (after 298 days).

D. The test panel’s assessment of ergonomics and ease of use

 

The panel members answer a number of questions about ease of use, the accompanying instructions and ergonomics:

  • Manual and instructions
  • Handling and ergonomics
  • Menu system
  • Replacing the toothbrush head
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All 92 panel members judged the ergonomics and ease of use of their toothbrush, which they had used for 28 days. Photo: Matthieu Colin

The panel members also noted any technical problems with the different toothbrushes during the test period.

E. Battery capacity and charging time

The battery is fully charged, the brush head is put under a load of 100 g and then the brush is run until the battery runs out and that time is measured. The measurements are taken at intervals of 2 minutes with a 30-second rest in between. The battery is emptied (running toothbrush until it stops). Then the time it takes to fully charge the battery is measured (when the toothbrush indicates that the battery is fully charged).

F. The toothbrush’s durability

The toothbrush is dropped repeatedly and at different angles onto a hard floor from a height of 120 centimetres. After the test, the toothbrush is checked to see if it still works.

All the toothbrushes survived the drop test from a height of 1.20 metres onto a hard floor. None of the toothbrushes were damaged. Photo: Matthieu Colin

All the toothbrushes survived the drop test from a height of 1.20 metres onto a hard floor. None of the toothbrushes were damaged. Photo: Matthieu Colin

Weighting and grading of the test results

The results from the various elements of the test have been graded on a scale from 1–5, where 5 is the best. A score of less than 3 is only given if the results are poor and significantly worse than for other products in the sample.

Testfakta’s grading is based on the laboratory’s test results and the reported measurements. The weighting and grading of the various sub-results has been conducted in consultation with the laboratory.

 

The grades from the different elements of the test have been combined to give a total score, using the following weighting: effect on plaque and gums 70% (of which effect on plaque 70% and effect on gums 30%), ergonomics and ease of use 20% and battery performance 10%.