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Since I was about 8, I've had a complete obsession with brushing my teeth. I hated having any roughness or fur on them and if I could feel anything on them I would be straight to the bathroom brushing away at them, into all the little nooks and crannies! As a teenager I would brush my teeth as soon as I woke up, to clean my mouth out, again after breakfast, once more when I got home from school and a final time before bed.
So I think you'll agree that it seems a little unfair that I've never, ever had a dentist check up that didn't result in my needing some sort of work doing. The dentist does say that often you can just inherit poor teeth, which is some comfort, but of course it means that I have to look after them even more to make sure I don't lose any of them. With that in mind, when my mum told me she had bought most of my birthday presents but had a bit of money left over for something else, I mentioned that I'd really like an electric toothbrush. She picked up the Oral-B Vitality White and Clean for me as it was on a decent offer.
The package comes with the toothbrush base, which in theory should last you years, one head, which you replace every few months, and a charging unit so you can recharge the battery regularly. The manual suggests a 12 hour charge every week, and I've found that to be about accurate. It is quite irritating that there's no battery light though, to warn you that the battery is running low, or perhaps it could do a special type of buzz when there's only enough for one more brush. Instead you find yourself brushing your teeth while the vibrations gradually get slower and slower, and then stop, and you have to finish off with your manual toothbrush. The charging unit is the two pin type, so if you don't have access to a shaving socket then you will need an adaptor to charge it - but they're not exactly expensive, I think I got 2 for £3.99 from Argos.
The head that is provided with this brush is the 3D White brush. It has ordinary bristles round the outside which are designed to clean the edges of your teeth, between them, and right up to the gum line. Then in the middle there is a yellow rubber 'polishing cup' which is apparently inspired by dentists and is meant to make your teeth whiter by polishing them. I can't honestly say whether this works because I'm lucky enough to have quite white teeth to begin with, and I also don't drink tea or coffee, or smoke, and I have used a whitening toothpaste (the Arm and Hammer sensitive one) for about three or four years now. If, after trying this brush, you're not too keen on it, then the base is compatible with several other Oral-B brushes: the Dual Clean, the Floss Action, the Precision Clean and the Sensitive. Sharing a toothbrush is easy because you can get little coloured rings that clip onto the heads, then you know whose is whose.
The base is part plastic, part rubber. It's light and comfortable to hold, with finger grooves on the back. The button is covered with rubber and isn't too difficult to press, although it's sturdy enough that you won't press it by accident and switch it off while you're brushing. It has a hole at the bottom that slots on to the charging unit, and although both the base and the charger are smooth plastic, somehow the base gets charged! I assume this has been developed to make charging the brush in a bathroom safe.
So, onto using this baby! You only need a pea sized amount of toothpaste. The brush head is about the size of my index finger's nail, so you can't really fit a lot more on. I'd recommend you wait until the head is actually in your mouth before you switch it on, because it's not unknown for the vibrations to cause the toothpaste the fly off the brush and all over the sink, mirror, floor, tiles and my clothing. There, I warned you! The head is classed as a '2D' head which means it only oscillates from side to side, and doesn't move backwards and forwards. It rotates from its centre, and moves in an anti-clockwise direction for about a quarter turn, then in a clockwise direction for a quarter turn, repeatedly, extremely quickly! In fact, it makes 7600 oscillations per minute, which is more than 100 per second. Impressive! With a 3D brush, the head would also move backwards and forwards, in a sort of hammering motion, so that's what you're missing out on.
The recommendation is that you brush by taking a quarter of your teeth to work on at a time. I start at the back on one side, and spend ten seconds on the outside of the teeth, moving towards the middle of my teeth at the front. I repeat with another 10 seconds on the inside of the same teeth, and a final ten seconds on the chewing surfaces. Repeat that with the other three sets of teeth, and your two minutes is up (usually though, I count too fast and I have a little extra time for my tongue and any special areas I want to concentrate on). When the two minutes is finish, the brush will do a three short buzzes to let you know, then carry on as normal. I think this routine that is recommended is actually one of the reasons that people find their teeth so much cleaner when they use an electric brush - with a manual brush I know my brushing, at least, is pretty haphazard and never lasts for two full minutes. I find now that because I have that little routine, I don't get bored of brushing so easily, and even if I do I'm incapable of stopping brushing before my two minutes is up!
I do find that whilst with a normal brush you tend to have foam still in the bristles at the end of your brushing session, this brush (because it moves so fast?) tends to lose all the foam so by the end you can feel like you're brushing with just water. I don't think this affects the quality of the results, to be honest, as I suppose as long as you've had toothpaste in your mouth washing over all the surfaces, it will be helping to remove the plaque and killing bacteria, but it just feels a bit weird!
One of the things I always worry about is brushing too hard, because my teeth are quite sensitive and I don't want to damage the surfaces any further. This is one of the disappointing things about this brush - it doesn't have any warning system to tell you if you're brushing too hard. Personally I had thought that this was pretty much standard with electric brushes - my mum used to have one where the head would bend back if you were pushing too hard, so you knew to stop - but it isn't included on this one.
This brush can get a bit messy. I follow the recommended instructions and remove the head to rinse inside it and rinse the base after every use. This stops any buildup of dried toothpaste forming. When I put it together, though, and put it on the wooden shelf where I keep it, water drips down to the bottom and leaves a ring on the shelf. This is really quite irritating but there's not a lot I can do about it! Because I don't have a shaver plug I can't keep the brush in the bathroom on the charger unit, which would be an ideal solution. I've taken to leaving the parts separately, and lying them on a flannel, which is fine but it looks a bit cluttered, to be honest.
A brush head generally lasts about as long as a regular toothbrush - two to three months. There are blue bristles on the top and bottom of the head that will gradually fade with use and when they're more than half white, then you need to get yourself a new brush. The heads are usually cheaper the more you buy, so whilst a pack of 2 (of any Oral-B head) is about £10, you can probably pay closer to £3-£4 if you buy in bulk. I don't mind buying more because I know that if I decide to upgrade to another Oral-B brush, then the chances are the heads will be compatible with it, unless I go for the Sonic range. This price is only slightly more than a brand name toothbrush, so I think it's a reasonable price considering how much better the results are.
The price of the initial unit varies wildly. At the moment it's £20 on Amazon and £17.50 on the Waitrose website, but I see it regularly in shops for £30, £35 or even more. It's definitely worth shopping around for! There are regularly sales on Oral-B products where all the brushes are half price, so if you see that then grab it!
Overall I think this is just an okay product. It definitely does its job and gets your teeth clean, and I like that fact that it's compatible with a lot of different heads, but I've only had it about six months and already I think I'm going to upgrade to something a bit flashier. I think I'd prefer a '3D' brush, that oscillates in more than one direction, and I also want a battery display light and something to tell me when I'm brushing too hard. I think I'd also like something with a stand, so I don't have to get my shelf wet and marked every time I put the brush down.
I'd recommend this for someone who wants a really basic brush, or maybe someone who isn't sure whether an electric one is for them. It would be great to just test the water with, as it can be picked up so cheaply. It's a reasonable price for what it is, but personally I want a bit more from my toothbrush.
Three stars; it's decent enough at its job, but it could be so much better with some little additions.
Be good to your teeth and gums with the Oral-B Vitality Precision Clean Electric Toothbrush , a fuss-free way of maintaining good oral hygiene everyday / This white & blue rechargeable toothbrush cleans and naturally whitens teeth, giving you a healthy confident smile! This electric toothbrush has a high-speed oscillating system and a brush head that adapts to each tooth to remove plaque and polish away stains / The handle of the Oral-B Vitality Precision Clean Electric Toothbrush also has a two-minute timer that ensures that you brush for the dentist-recommended duration each time / Take the first step towards shinier teeth and worry-free oral hygiene by upgrading from a regular toothbrush to the Oral-B Vitality Precision Clean Electric Toothbrush! Technical information Type of brush Electric toothbrush Speed 7,600 oscillations per minute Clock timer function Two-minute timer on handle Shower function No Type of head Precision Clean brush head Power supply Rechargeable battery Included accessories Charger with stand Rechargeable battery 2 brush heads Colours White and Blue