When an email landed in my inbox about a smart toothbrush with built-in voice control through Amazon Alexa, I had two questions: What is a smart toothbrush? And is this the 2020 version of tooth tunes? Sadly, the Oral-B Guide does not play music in your head (its charging base has speakers), but it does connect to an app to give you feedback on your brushing to promote good oral hygiene habits. And it’s not alone—brands like Quip, Colgate, Phillips, and Kolibree also carry smart toothbrushes, acting as fitness trackers for your teeth.
Smart toothbrushes are essentially electric toothbrushes that connect to an app via Bluetooth. If you tend to brush too hard, it’ll tell you. And if you go to bed without brushing your teeth, it’s documented, shaming you the next morning. If you could not care less about your teeth brushing stats, a smart toothbrush is not for you. But if learning more about your habits could empower you to be a better brusher, you may consider making the upgrade. To help you make your decision, I tried three. Keep scrolling for my thoughts.
The best smart toothbrushes—and what I think of each
1. Quip Smart Electric Toothbrush, $45
The Quip Smart Electric Toothbrush gamifies your brushing experience. Brush well and you get points that you can put towards other quip products. Like the the original Quip, this toothbrush is electric. It delivers sonic vibrations to help you get a better clean, but since the brush head doesn’t move you still have to put in a bit of elbow grease. When you’re brushing, it lets you know when you’ve hit 30 seconds so you can switch to another quadrant in your mouth. The app tells you how long you brushed for, how much time you spent on your top teeth versus your bottom, your average strokes per minute, and how intense you brush. It also explains what ranges you want those aforementioned metrics to fall within and why. It’s available in plastic ($45) and metal ($60), around $20 more expensive than the traditional Quip. And if you already have a Quip brush, you can make it smart by upgrading the motor ($25)
The most affordable brush on this list, the Quip smart brush is really nice. The app is easy to use and I love that good brushing habits translate to useable points. I have the metal version, and I love it’s slim but with a bit of added weight, making it feel sturdier than the typical toothbrush. I prefer my electric toothbrushes to have stronger vibrations, but if you’re happy with just the sonic vibrations and don’t wanna shell out a ton on a toothbrush, it’s perfect.
Shop now: Quip Smart Electric Toothbrush, $45
This brush comes with three brush heads—one for day-to-day cleaning, one for whitening, and one for gum health. Each head is shaped differently, hugging your teeth in a different way. And each head triggers a corresponding setting on the toothbrush. The brush vibrates to let you know when to switch between six sections of your teeth.
If you hit the brush button in the app when you start brushing it tracks your brushing live in the app, showing you where you missed a spot and giving you more time to hit those spots after your initial brushing. This function is a bit wonky—depending on how you’re holding your toothbrush it sometimes won’t pick up what you are in fact brushing the outside of your back teeth on the upper right-hand side. But, being more deliberate with your hold, and the flick of your wrist diminishes that. If you’re brushing too hard, too slow, or too fast, the toothbrush gives a distinct vibration and the app tells you to ease up. The app also tracks your habits allowing you to take a deep look at your most recent brush, or get a seven-day overlook. However, the only downside is if you don’t hit brush on your app when you start brushing, it won’t connect to the app to track your progress.
This smart toothbrush was my favorite out of all of the ones I tried. And not just because I got it in pink. Forget about the app for a sec—the Phillips Sonicare provides an unrivaled degree of cleanliness. The sonic vibrations are so powerful I just had to step away from my computer to double-check if the brush head moved. It does not—but the vibrations are so good you’d swear it does.
The most intriguing part of this toothbrush is that it’s connected to Alexa. I thought that meant Alexa was gonna tell me when I missed a spot. Unfortunately (or fortunately?), the Alexa bit has more to do with the charging base than the brush itself. Instead of giving verbal cues, lights on both the base and the brush change colors to let you know what you’re doing wrong. You can tell the mini Alexa base to play the news or your favorite song. But don’t expect it to deliver the sound quality of an actual speaker. This is a toothbrush charging base that happens to be a speaker, not a speaker that happens to charge your toothbrush. The quality isn’t great, but it’s louder than playing music straight from your phone.
The app auto connects to the brush, telling you how many ties you brushed today and how many seconds (or minutes) you spend brushing too hard. The brush head both vibrates and rotates giving you a really good clean. It has six vibration patterns for different modes of cleaning: daily clean, whitening, pro-clean, sensitive, gum care, and tongue.
The best part of the toothbrush is that it comes with a speaker, which is nice because you only have to use one of your precious bathrooms for this combined toothbrush charger and speaker. But it doesn’t sound as good as it could.
Shop now: Oral-B Guide With Amazon Alexa Built-In, $219
My final thoughts on smart toothbrushes
Again, no one needs a smart toothbrush. But as a lazy brusher, I really like having an app to tell me where I can improve. And all of these toothbrushes are close in price (if not less than) some of the non-smart electric toothbrushes sold by the same brands. If you like tracking your sleep and heart rate, or just wanna be a better brusher, a smart toothbrush is right for you.