We can’t stress highly enough the importance of buying genuine branded replacement heads for your electric toothbrush. There are 3 kinds of replacement toothbrush heads available for electric toothbrushes:
- Genuine heads from the manufacturer of the toothbrush (Oral-B, Philips Sonicare or Colgate)
- Counterfeit heads that appear to be made by Oral-B, Philips or Colgate but are not
- Third-party heads made by a variety of manufacturers that are compatible
Firstly, the genuine articles. From a quality point of view, these are made to exacting standards to be precisely physically compatible with the mounting on the toothbrush handle and to be mechanically durable. From a dentistry viewpoint the bristles will be the correct stiffness and texture to meet the ‘dentist recommended’ standards that the toothbrush manufacturers claim. From a safety aspect, the plastics and other materials will be non-toxic and safe to put in your mouth. The head won’t fall to pieces with the vibrations presenting you with the danger of swallowing small parts. They are, of course, the most expensive but can usually be found on special offer.
Counterfeit toothbrush heads will be marked with Oral-B, Philips Sonicare or Colgate logos and might come in similarly marked packaging but they will not have been made in the official factories. None of the features mentioned above for genuine heads will apply. The counterfeits might not fit properly onto the handle and might not transfer all the mechanical vibration and movement from the handle to your teeth. The bristles might be too stiff or soft and might be too abrasive, damaging your gums and the thin coating of your teeth. Safety-wise, the plastics may contain toxic plasticiser additives and dyes. The heads may come apart leaving small pieces of loose plastic or metal in your mouth. The prices might look appealing but the risks are high.
Third-party heads are made by either more reputable or unknown manufacturers and are advertised as being compatible with particular toothbrush handles. The quality, reliability and safety of these heads varies by source so it is a case of trial and error to find out which ones are worth using! Some high-street shops sell their own brand of compatible heads, mainly for use with Oral-B brushes, such as Boots and Superdrug.
Where to Buy Genuine Heads
The safest and most reliable source for genuine replacement toothbrush heads is in reputable chainstores or supermarkets on the high street. Most supermarkets have them on occasional offer, as do Superdrug and Boots. Buying online can be a bit of a minefield as some vendors, especially on marketplaces such as eBay and Amazon, are passing off counterfeits as the genuine article. There is at least one long-term reputable seller on eBay UK who sells genuine heads – see link below. If you must use Amazon then only buy ones that say they are “dispatched from and sold by Amazon” as many of the third-party “other” sellers on Amazon will be knowingly or unknowingly selling fakes.