Over the past few weeks some members of our review team have been testing the Philips Sonicare FlexCare Plus, a rechargeable power toothbrush, that has been touted as the best on the market.
Philips Australia through Fleishman-Hillard, their PR, kindly sent us a few units to try out and here are our findings.
Some people have never tried an electric or electronic toothbrush. You already have to be committed to the idea that such a device can really help in your oral hygiene matters before you buy one. And you probably (and hopefully!) have never tried one that belonged to a friend. So how do you know that a power toothbrush is for you?
Surprisingly in the field of oral hygiene products, Philips offers you a 28 day trial of their Sonicare toothbrushes. That should take any hesitation away to invest in a new way of brushing your choppers because at the official RRP of $270 per unit (street price under $200) it is a fair outlay compared to the standard toothbrush.
Whilst my wife had been a fan of electric toothbrushes for quite some years, I never had taken to the idea. A quick morning and evening brush of the ivories plus an occasional floss suited me fine. Until two factors conspired against that complacency. First, I started to develop a case of halitosis. Yep, bad breath. More rigorous brushing to combat this? Perhaps…
Secondly, my wife’s Oral B toothbrush had been losing power over the previous months to the point where it became pretty useless. Time to look at a different technology? We researched the market and the different ways to get better dental hygiene. Lastly, we looked at prices. All indications pointed to the Sonicare range from Philips as being one of the top power brushes and not only evidenced by price. Time for a close encounter of the dental kind. We chose the Sonicare FlexCare Plus, the top model of the line.
Me and Philips go back a long way. 50 years or so. I grew up close to their Eindhoven Head Office in Holland and my electric shavers have always been Philishaves. Still have a Philips CRT TV in the bedroom that doesn’t wanna die. One aspect of the Philips products that has made me a lifelong fan is their design philosophy. Like Braun, famous for their iconic products (the Apple company of yesteryear) Philips has come out with some amazingly well-designed products in their 120 year long history. My expectations were high for the Sonicare.
The actual toothbrush looks great with clean lines, well-balanced and relatively lightweight. You can choose and seamlessly switch from the five brushing modes - Clean, Gum Care, Refresh, Sensitive and Massage.
How Does the Sonicare Unit Work?
Sonicare toothbrushes work by vibrating when they are turned on so that the bristles will move back and forth to loosen debris. You can see the action of the brush by dipping it in a glass of water and switching it on. Philips makes the claim that using the Sonicare can improve your teeth and gum health in only two weeks or less. The contoured brushing head removes plaque along the gum line through the ultrasonic technology that drives fluid to your gums during the brushing.
Charging the Sonicare
Most electric toothbrushes use induction charging these days. Simply put it on the stand and the electrons start flowing. Wish my mobile phone had that facility… An initial 24 hour charge will generate enough power to last 42 brushings (2 minutes each). That means you can just put it in the travel case provided and take it with you. For your 80 day around the world trip you can use the included travel charger.
The FlexCare Plus base set features an in-built UV Sanitizer for killing the germs and bacteria that often are present on the brush head. Just put the brush head(s) in the sanitizer, close the little door and it will be clean and dry in just 10 minutes. Easy and unquestionably the best way to deal with the nasties. My Robomaid robotic vacuum cleaner also sports one of these UV lamps.
If you have used electric toothbrushes before you’ll have no problems adjusting to the Sonicare. My wife absolutely loves it! For me, I had to get used to it. It’s a powerful vibration and if anything other than the brush head hits your ivories you’ll notice that immediately! But pretty soon you’ll learn the right technique for holding the toothbrush so that only the actual brush makes contact. Philips wisely incorporated a 14 day “ramping up the amps” feature that lets you start at a relatively low level of vibration, gradually upping the levels over a fortnight (actually 14 brushings).
Most people will probably start with the Clean brush mode which is 2 minutes long, divided into 30 seconds each for doing the top and bottom, inside and outside of your teeth. The vibration stops for just a fraction of a sec to let you know the 30 seconds are up. Philips calls this feature the QuadPacer. Fancy name just like trying to say “Philips Sonicare FlexCare Plus” a few times fast. Quite a mouthful…
The unit comes with two brushes, a normal sized one and a smaller. I thought it odd to have a “male/female” distinction in the size of the brush but it became rapidly clear that the small one is just for getting into the smaller places…
This is a one-person unit – unless you buy some more brush heads. No problem but getting the brush head on and off the handle takes some force. In fact, one time the brush head itself separated from the bottom bit where you can put your colour-coded ring on.
After about a week I got the hang of avoiding banging into my ivories and avoiding that dental drill sensation. Fortunately, all team members reported that the Sonicare left you with a much cleaner feel in your mouth. It’s not all about perception though but actual dental improvements are hard to substantiate over the course of just a few weeks, unless you go into clinical testing for which we are not equipped of course. The fact that the Sonicare brush has a deep penetrating way of dealing with plaque is a major step up from traditional (and even other electric) toothbrushes. It simply is the most technologically advanced way to take care of dental hygiene.
And that's why we can give it a Highly Recommended! rating.
Philips Sonicare FlexCare Plus Package Contents
The Philips Sonicare Flexcare Plus power toothbrush set includes:
- 1 toothbrush handle
- 2 hygienic travel caps
- 1 hard travel case
- 2 ProResults brush heads
- 1 UV brush sanitizer
- 1 travel charger