What is an Ultrasonic Toothbrush?

Electric Toothbrushes

What is an ultrasonic toothbrush


What is an Ultrasonic Toothbrush – a study by the editors of bestelectrictoothbrushguide.com

An ultrasonic toothbrush is a type of electric toothbrush for home use teeth cleaning, that generates ultrasound waves usually from the toothbrush’s head that penetrates and kills plaque causing bacteria inside the gums, unlike electric and sonic toothbrushes that only clean the outer teeth surface.

They are called ultrasonic because they generate waves at a minimum frequency of 20,000 Hz or 2,400,000 movements per minute. Typically, ultrasonic toothbrushes approved by the BDA, operate at a frequency of 1.6 MHz, which translates to 192,000,000 movements per minute.

In simpler words, the frequency which they operate is higher than the average sound humans can hear. Ultrasounds can be heard, by bats, rodents, cockroaches and dogs when they are produced.

In order to better understand what Ultrasonic toothbrushes are, you must understand the different types of electric toothbrushes that are available for home use today.

The 3 Types of Electric Toothbrushes

There are 3 types of electric toothbrushes for home usage available to buy. These are:

  • Power toothbrushes
  • Sonic toothbrushes,
  • Ultrasonic toothbrushes.

Power toothbrushes vibrate in either an up/down direction, or in a circular motion(Rotating-oscillating), and sometimes in a combination of the two like the. Their speed is measured in movements per minute, where common electric toothbrushes vibrate or rotate at a speed of between a few thousand times a minute to about 10,000 to 12,000 times per minute.

Sonic toothbrushes are called sonic because of the speed of their vibration. Sonic toothbrushes usually, deliver from 18 000 to 48 000 vibrations or rotations per minute. Their frequency falls within the average range used by people in communication. The voiced speech of a typical adult will have a frequency from 85 to 180 Hz (10,200 to 21,000 movements per minute), and that of a typical adult female from 165 to 255 Hz (19,800 to 30,600 movements per minute)

Ultrasonic toothbrushes is the newest development in the field of home oral hygiene as they work by generating an ultrasonic wave – usually from an implanted microchip in the toothbrush head – to clean the teeth and penetrate the gums to kill the plaque causing bacteria that lay inside.

NOTE: Because of the similarity of the terms “ultrasonic” and “sonic”, there is some confusion in the marketplace and sonic toothbrushes are often mislabeled as ultrasonic.

A toothbrush operating at a frequency or vibration of less than 2,400,000 movements per minute (20,000 Hz) is a “sonic” toothbrush. It is called “sonic” because its operating frequency, for example 31,000 movements per minute, is within the human hearing range of between roughly 20 Hz to about 20,000 Hz.

Only a toothbrush that generated ultrasound waves, or vibration at a frequency greater than the upper limit of human hearing, can be called an “ultrasonic” toothbrush.

Here is a video that explains the difference between a normal toothbrush a sonic toothbrush and an ultrasonic toothbrush. This video promotes Megasonex® which is NOT sold on Amazon UK on any other website. You will still get a better picture of what ultrasound toothbrushes are and how they do work by watching it.

NOTE: At the bottom of this article you can find all the different ultrasonic models that are available in the market today.

History Of the Ultrasonic Toothbrush

What is an ultrasonic toothbrushThe ultrasonic toothbrush was first invented by Robert T. Bock back in 1991, a biomedical engineer that have studied the therapeutic effects of ultrasound.

In 1992 after the approval of the FDA the original Ultrasonic toothbrush was sold in the United States, Canada,Europe and Japan, under the brand names of Ultima at first and later Ultrasonex by Sonex Corporation.

After Sonex Corporation was sold to Salton Inc, and the later decided to leave the oral hygiene market few years later, several other companies have started to produce ultrasonic toothbrushes such as the Ultreo®, Megasonex®, Smilex® and Emmi-Dent® brands. Today, most ultrasonic toothbrushes simultaneously work in the ultrasonic mode together with sonic vibration.

Robert T. Bock, states that the Smilex® Ultrasonic Toothbrush is the evolved model of his original ultrasonic toothbrush. He also recommends he daily use of the Smilex ultrasonic toothbrush for best dental hygiene. Also, the Smilex® Ultrasonic Toothbrush was picked by our editors as the best electric toothbrush to buy among 10 nominees. Also, you might want to read our un-biased Smilex® review here:

Effectiveness of Ultrasonic Toothbrushes

Ultrasonic Toothbrushes today are considered superior to sonic and power toothbrushes mainly because they generate ultrasound waves have healing properties.

According to the International Society for Therapeutic Ultrasound there are three primary benefits to ultrasound.

  1. The first is the speeding up of the healing process from the increase in blood flow in the treated area.
  2. The second is the decrease in pain from the reduction of swelling and edema.
  3. The third is the gentle massage of muscles tendons and/ or ligaments in the treated area because no strain is added and any scar tissue is softened.

The ultrasound manufacturers claim that ultrasound waves emitted by their toothbrushes heal or help the healing process of a number of oral diseases by killing bacteria up to 12mm deep such as:

  • Gingivitis, periodontitis and gum bleed: Emmi Dent – one of the most well known ultrasonic toothbrush, made a study with ORMED – The Institute for Oral Medicine at the University of Witten/ Herdecke – that proves that the usage of ultrasonic waves can heal Gingivitis, periodontitis and gum bleed in 12 weeks. Check study here:
  • Mouth Ulcers: Ultrasonic waves generated by ultrasonic toothbrushes claim to heal mouth ulcers found in gums. Research has shown that ultrasound waves can heal skin ulcers faster than normal, but not for ulcers found on mouth.
  • Teeth Staining: Although ultrasound toothbrush manufacturers claim that ultrasound waves can clean the stains made by coffee, wine, smoke and other factors better than sonic or power toothbrushes, we haven’t found any significant scientific paper that support this statement. The only thing we could find that’s related to this statement is a patent of an ultrasonic whitening tooth whitening system filled by two scientist. If you have any resource that supports this statement, please contact us and let us know.
Did you know that some Ultrasonic toothbrushes support sonic vibrations too. You can use it as a sonic toothbrush, an ultrasonic toothbrush or both functions together.

Here is a video made by Emmi Dent Ultrasonic Toothbrush (read review here or check on Amazon UK here) that highlights the benefits of using ultrasonic toothbrushes.

Get it on Amazon UK

Ultrasonic Toothbrush Models

We have created this small table that compares the top three ultrasonic toothbrush manufacturers.

Smilex®Ultrasonic & Sonic18,000 Sonic vibrations & 96 000 000 ultrasonic pulses per minute.$149.954.3 (62 reviewers)
Emmi Dent 6®Ultrasonic96 000 000 ultrasonic pulses per minute.$189.003.9 (196 reviewers)
Megasonex M8 Ultrasound Toothbrush" target="_blank">Megasonex®Ultrasonic & Sonic18 000 Sonic vibrations & 96,000,000 ultrasonic pulses per minute.£119.95 (amazon Uk)None

Note: The Ultreo Ultrasound Toothbrush is no longer producing ultrasound toothbrushes.

If you believe that we might left something out, or if you have anything you would like to ask, please leave your comment below. Also make sure you share this article if you’ve found it useful.