Written by Gaby

What is the difference between rotating and sonic?

If you're looking for a new toothbrush, you'll often encounter the terms rotating and sonic. Those are the 2 terms we use to indicate different brushing techniques. What's the difference? I'll explain in this article.

In short

Rotating toothbrushes Sonic toothbrushes
Round brush head Oblong brush head
Rotating motion Vibrating motion
Oral-B toothbrushes Philips Sonicare toothbrushes

The brush head's shape

A rotating toothbrush's shape

A rotating toothbrush's shape

Rotating toothbrushes have a round brush head that rotates at high speed and also pulsates on most cases. The higher the rotational speed, the more brushing motions the brush head makes. The number of brushing motions influences the amount of dental plaque that you remove. The great thing about round brush heads is that – thanks to their shape – they completely envelop each tooth. That means the brush hairs will move deeply down to the gum line.

A sonic toothbrush's shape

A sonic toothbrush's shape

Sonic toothbrushes have an oval brush head, which means they look like a manual toothbrush. The big difference is that the brush hairs themselves vibrate at high speed. The more vibrations per minute, the more brush motions the toothbrush makes. The handy thing about an oval brush head is that it covers a large tooth surface area. In general, you'll reach more teeth and molars with 1 brushing motion than you would with a rotating toothbrush.

The brushing motion

A rotating toothbrush's brushing motion

A rotating toothbrush's brushing motion

The power of rotating brush heads is in the combination of a high rotational speed and quick pulsations. That means the brush hairs don't just brush plaque from the teeth's surface, it's also pressed against the surface of the teeth. This pulsating motions loosens the dental plaque from the surface of the teeth, after which it's brushed away by the rotating brush hairs.

A sonic toothbrush's brushing motion

A sonic toothbrush's brushing motion

Sonic technology is similar to the motion you make with a manual toothbrush, only a sonic toothbrush makes a thousand times more brushing motions in 1 brushing session. The brush hairs vibrate at such a high speed, that you can remove sticky dental plaque deep down to the gum line. In addition, the vibrations generate micro-bubbles of water that clean even between your teeth and make your mouth feel uniquely fresh.

User-friendliness

The user-friendliness of a rotating toothbrush

The user-friendliness of a rotating toothbrush

In order to use a rotating toothbrush the right way, it's important brush to each tooth individually. The brush head's round shape only works the way it's supposed to if it truly envelopes each tooth. This requires a different style of brushing than you're probably used to from a manual toothbrush. You'll need to press the brush head onto each tooth or molar, so this technique may test your patience a little.

The user-friendliness of a sonic toothbrush

The user-friendliness of a sonic toothbrush

Sonic toothbrushes let you make more of a scrubbing motion. Thanks to the oval shape of the brush head, it already completely covers the tooth's surface. The only thing you have to do, is move the brush head through each zone in your mouth. The vibrating brush hairs do the rest. This is a technique that's partially similar to the one you use with a manual toothbrush.

The extra functions

The extra functions of a rotating toothbrush

The extra functions of a rotating toothbrush

In addition to the basic functions, such as different brush settings and a 2-minute and interval timer, rotating toothbrushes have a number of distinctive functions. One of those is the smart ring. It acts as a pressure sensor, but can be personalized to your own color. The rotating smart toothbrushes from the high-end category also have location detection via your smartphone camera. In order to use this, you attach the smartphone to the bathroom mirror, and you can check if you brush each zone for long enough via the app.

The extra functions of a sonic toothbrush

The extra functions of a sonic toothbrush

Sonic toothbrushes are equipped with a number of special extra functions. Take for instance the adjustable brushing intensity. It allows you to choose how many vibrations you want to brush at. That's useful if you sometimes suffer from sensitive teeth. In addition, the smart generation also has a microchip in the brush attachment. This chip analyzes which zone you're brushing, if you're doing it correctly, and sends the information straight to the smartphone app. On top of that, the chip also recognizes the status of the brush attachment and the toothbrush indicates when it's time to replace it.


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