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Tech Review: Sonicare Essence 5300 Toothbrush

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There's no getting around it. Toothbrushing is important. Whether we like brushing our teeth or not, there is a direct correlation between how well we take care of our teeth and the number of trips to dentist we make each year.

Does proper dental hygiene require an expensive toothbrush? Most dentists will tell you no. Any toothbrush can do the job, assuming you brush thoroughly and properly. For years I had looked down at those pricey expensive electric toothbrushes with scorn. What could a piece of vibrating plastic do that a bit of elbow grease and a traditional brush could not?

I actually didn't want one, but a few days ago, I received a Philips Sonicare Essence 5300 toothbrush as a door prize at a local event. Who would guess that I would eventually fall in love with it?

The Sonicare line has been around for many years. A quick look on Amazon will you show you there are all sorts of models available. The most expensive runs for $179.99 and includes a UV sanitizer. My model, the 5300, is the least expensive one. It's only $50.00.

Before using the Sonicare, it must be charged for several hours. It comes with a sturdy base that not only charges the brush, but gives you a place to put it where it won't get lost. One brush head is also included. I was surprised at how light the brush was. I thought that since it had a rechargeable battery, it would be somewhat heavy.

My first night with the Sonicare was an interesting experience. The vibrating head, which is driven by a magnetic force field, feels like a jackhammer until you get used to it. My whole head rattled to the pulse of the brush head for the few minutes I brushed. This feeling went away after a few nights, however, and now it feels like any other toothbrush.

As I have only been using the brush for a few days, I can't comment on how much better it cleans than a regular toothbrush, but I was able to brush my teeth with more ease. Instead of being rough on my gums as I had imagined, the brush actually soothes and massages them. Finally, the Sonicare left my teeth feeling slick and smooth after one use.

The toothbrush also has a pre-set timer that beeps and turns the brush off after two minutes. It would be nice if you could set the timer yourself or turn it off, but since two minutes is the optimal amount of brushing time, many will find this feature useful.

The brush head does wear out after a while, however, and must be replaced every month or so. A pack of two costs around $20.00. For the brush to do its job properly, a reasonably new brush head must be installed, so think about the upkeep cost before buying any brush like the Sonicare.

At only $50.00, the Sonicare Essence 5300 is a good buy. Five years ago this brush would have cost over $150.00. Had I known this brush was so competitively priced earlier, I might have picked one up. Given the current economy, I don't think it will be long before prices on this model go down even further. If you haven't given the Sonicare a try, now might be the time. This site has a good overview of the most popular Sonicare toothbrushes, but I still recommend sticking with the most basic one. The more expensive ones really don't seem to offer that much more functionality for the price.

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About Daniel Foster

  • It’s ridiculous how important the battery capacity and charging frequency are for an electric toothbrush…

  • Bacteria shmacteria. Your mouth ain’t the clean room at a computer chip factory, you know. Shoving a handful more in there to add to the few billion already in residence mostly ain’t gonna make a diff.

    I like my Sonicare because, once you get used to it, the timer (mine beeps every 30 seconds, so as to prompt you to brush all four quadrants of your mouth evenly) does ensure you get a thorough brushing, especially if you’re a slapdash manual brusher.

    It also holds a charge for up to two weeks, so it can be taken on overseas trips without the need for an international adaptor.

  • The Sonicare Flexcare is the one with the UV Sanitizer. I agree with you with the fact that the Essence might be more practical but I also feel that everyone should have a UV Sanitizer to kill off all the bacteria that harbor on your toothbrush.