Re(al)view: Oral-B Pulsonic Power Toothbrush

Re(al)view: Oral-B Pulsonic Power Toothbrush

Gregory Han
Oct 29, 2008

When it comes to dental hygiene, we've become big proponents of electric toothbrushes for a variety of reasons. Though there have been studies showing that when used properly, both traditional manual and electric toothbrushes perform nearly equal in removing plaque and keeping the pearly whites white, many of us do not perform the habit with consistency. What we've found since first switching to an electric toothbrush is the little device keeps us more honest about how long we brush, thanks to the timer feature many new brushes come with. Switching to an electric toothbrush has resulted in no major dental worries since our first clunky model, with less gum damage or enamel wear...something about using one has made us better brushers.

Oral-B sent us their new Pulsonic toothbrush, a mid-tier priced toothbrush that offers some of the high-end features with a new slim-style form factor, and we were curious how it would perform against the Oral B Triumph ProfessionalCare 9400 (the brush system we own)...or even the standard toothbrush. Check out our experience below the jump...

The first thing we should note is that the Pulsonic operates with a different cleaning technology compared to our Oral B Triumph ProfessionalCare 9400. While the Triumph uses a combination of 40,000 pulsations/minute and 8,800 Oscillations/minute, the Pulsonic, as the name implies uses 30,000 Sonic Bribrations (their funny market speak for brush vibrations). In this regard, the Pulsonic is like our first electric toothbrush, the Philips SonicCare, a toothbrush that lasted several years without worry (though we'd remark we remember it being hit with the industrial design ugly stick).

"Which tech is better?" I think this comes down to a Windows/Mac style debate. Whichever helps you become a more consistent brusher and feels the most comfortable is the best tech. Owning both styles, I can say both leave the teeth feeling equally more clean than a standard toothbrush. The Pulsonic feels gentler on the teeth than our current model, which is partially due to the more standard bristle design and the vibration only action; those with sensitive teeth or gums may consider this a better option. There are two settings: regular and sensitive, so those of you with teeth hanging by a shred of gum can keep those teeth hanging on with the super gentle "sensitive" setting while listening to Richard Marx (though that might make our gums bleed).

The best thing about the Pulsonic is this is the first electric toothbrush that doesn't seem like it comes with its own proton plasma pack to power it. The slim form factor is really impressive, feeling almost as nimble as a normal toothbrush, and nearly as light. As you can see up above, side by side, it's a Laurel & Hardy affair comparing the two styles. We hope to see a product line wide change to a similar form factor.

The brush also comes with a 30-second timer, so you stay honest with the 2 minute total brush time recommended by dental professionals (and remember, more isn't exactly better; our dentist told us he occasionally has patients who've brushed their enamel away because of excessive brushing). A small precision head attachment is good for those Madonna-style gaps inbetween your teeth (you should still floss) and a small stand allows you to store an additional attachment if you wanted to share one handle between two people. Our only wish list note is we hope Oral-B offers an oscilatting version of this slim form factor brush (a Pulsonic+ model); we prefer that cross style action opposed to a straight up vibrating cleaning action. But besides that, at about $60, we'd highly recommend the Pulsonic as a good pickup for those of you who yet to give a tech-enabled cleaning device a try.

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