There is a new electric tooth brush on the market called Ultreo. The Ultreo is the brain child of University of Washington Applied Physics Lab’s researcher Pierre Mourad and Jack Gallagher who helped launch the Sonicare tooth brush. Ultreo uses ultrasound waves to clean teeth. It is the first toothbrush to combine the ultrasound waveguide technology with sonic bristle action. The idea is that the ultrasound activates the toothpaste bubbles created by the action of the bristles and transforms them into pulsating bubbles that can remove plaque bacteria more efficiently. People that have used other electric tooth brushes, like Sonicare, usually find Ultreo to be a gentler tooth brush and they might have the perception it is not cleaning as well. The manufacturer points to the research indicating that Ultreo is clinically proven to remove up to 95% of the plaque from hard to reach areas in the first minute of brushing.
Like Sonicare, it has a two minute timer that shuts off by itself. Some people that have a more sensitive gag reflex find its slightly larger head objectionable. The Ultreo’s head brush needs to be changed after three months as the ultrasonic chip has only a three month life. The ultrasonic waves are produced by a chip under a rubber stop in the middle of the brush. The presence of this stop might be objectionable to some. In our own research we found that what makes Ultreo work is that its bristle design makes people hold the bristle of the tooth brush closer to the teeth. This adaptation traps the bubbles created and cleans the teeth more efficiently.
One of the issues with the Sonicare brush is the collection of residues around where the head screws to the body of the brush. Ultreo has changed that design to a rod that the head pulled out of. This new smoother design prevents toothpaste residues from gathering at this junction.
Ultreo at this time costs more that other electric toothbrushes. It retails for about $170.00 versus $90-$125 for Sonicare. Ultreo also, is not available as widely as Sonicare is, but if you are in a market for a new toothbrush it is certainly worth looking into Ultreo.