(3TV/CBS5) -- Kelly Starzec is teaching her son that a twice-a-day brushing habit helps eliminate the bacteria that causes plaque, which potentially saves you from tooth decay and gum disease. “Every night I brush my teeth with my kids to make sure they’re brushing properly,” Kelly said. “I like the electric toothbrush because I, admittedly, am not always the best flosser. But my dentist thinks I am.”

Some studies show using a powered brush, like Kelly’s, might reduce plaque and cases of gingivitis, and also lead to better gum health.

Since these brushes can cost well over a hundred dollars, how do you choose the right one?

Consumer Reports just tested a batch of powered toothbrushes. “Our volunteers were told to skip brushing or using other dental products for eight hours,” said Misha Kollontai, a Consumer Reports Testing Engineer. “We then had a dental hygienist check their plaque levels.”

Each volunteer was then given an electric toothbrush and asked to brush for two minutes. The hygienist measured their plaque levels again. “The before-and-after differences gave us our cleaning performance score. We also tested for battery performance, ease of use, and noise,” Kollontai said.

The electric toothbrush at the top of Consumer Reports’ ratings is a model from ORAL-B, which got the top score for ease of use.

A cheaper option that also did well is one from PHILIPS SONICARE.

Whether you’re using a top-of-the-line powered brush or a simple manual one, experts say the way you brush is important. For instance, you should angle your toothbrush at 45 degrees to reach the space between the teeth and gums.

Another tip? Focus on two teeth at a time and work your way around your mouth. And, try not to brush too hard. That could do more harm than good.


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