Picking the best toothbrush for travel is a tricky business and a very personal one. Your choice will all depend on many factors. The length of your trip, your budget, and how much weight you are prepared to carry.
And then there’s the decision of whether to go for a manual an electric or even a portable. If you choose a manual you will have to be particularly thorough in your cleaning, whereas if you go for the electric option you will be carrying extra batteries or an adapter to charge it.
What to do?
We are currently travelling the world for a year with our two teenagers and have been backpacking around Asia for five months.
For the majority of that time, we all used manual toothbrushes, believing that it would save us weight and money. We then switched to a battery operated toothbrush but, between the four of us, spent a fortune (not to mention the hassle of finding places that sold batteries, especially in Sri Lanka) to keep the thing running.
Finally, we opted for a Sonic electric toothbrush with four heads.
We are now very happy and our teeth look and feel better than ever before.
As you can imagine, I did a lot of research on what was the best toothbrush – both manual and electric – for when you plan to travel and hopefully, it will make your decision easier. I will also answer your question as to whether you can take an electric or a battery operated toothbrush on a plane later in this article.
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Best Travel Toothbrush For Every Type of Traveller in 2018.
Let’s start with the best manual toothbrush options.
Soft Charcoal Toothbrush
(Best for those who like to whiten their teeth on a budget)
Readers of this blog will know my love for charcoal powder. It has many uses but one of my favourites is its tooth whitening ability.
Yes, it is a little odd at first brushing your teeth with a mouthful of black foam, but the results are amazing. What is really important when using an abrasive such as charcoal is to apply it a gently as possible. The softer the better. So when I saw this toothbrush I got super excited.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking the bristles are infused with charcoal. They are not. You would need to buy the charcoal powder separately here. The idea is that the bristles are soft enough and are compatible to use with the charcoal powder.
- Designed to remove 99% of plaque from hard to reach areas
- Fantastic value for travel
- Soft enough to use with teeth whitening charcoal powder
(Best for those with very little space in the pack.)
This soft portable toothbrush folds down to the size of your thumb making it ideal for those who need to travel with very little. The tri-fold design enables the brush head to fold into the handle which then becomes a cover for convenient and clean storage.
It does have an annoying habit of trying to fold while you are using it, so certainly not something I would choose for long-term travel, but a handy solution to light travel and a great thing to have in your flight bag in case your bag goes missing. Or if you have onions for lunch.
- Small enough to fit in your purse.
- Nice flexible handle with a good grip
- Hygienic case
(Best for those without access to water).
These handy little single-use toothbrushes include a brush, a toothpick and toothpaste all in one. How cool is that!! They are a brilliant travel accessory, especially if you intend to visit countries that do not have clean running water.
They are a fabulous tool for those long-haul flights when you can’t be bothered clambering over people to get to the bathroom. They leave your breath feeling fresh and the pick at the end enables you to remove any stray pieces of food.
Of course, they would never replace ‘real’ brushing, but I think this is a good option for those of you planning to climb Mt Everest or go on a long-haul flight.
- Excellent choice for when water is unavailable
- No need to carry toothpaste
- Small and light. Perfect for those travel emergencies.
So they are the best manual toothbrushes. Some good options for space and money saving. Like I said though, for long-term travel (as in a month or over) you would have to be super strict with yourself and make sure that you clean and floss thoroughly.
That didn’t work out for us when we were travelling. When I used a normal toothbrush I always felt as though we had never had a thorough clean. That might be just me though. Ask my kids and they will tell you that my go-to question when I can’t think of anything else to say is, ‘Have you cleaned your teeth?’.
If you have the time and the dedication to clean thoroughly then I think a manual toothbrush is a good option for travel.
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Best Travel Toothbrush (Electric) For 2018.
Oral-B Pro Electric Toothbrush.
(Best for those who want a quality electric toothbrush without all the bells and whistles)
Q: Can you take an electric toothbrush on a plane?
A: Yes. You can. We fly with Air NZ and here is their policy on taking electric toothbrushes on a flight. Perfect!
The Oral-B Pro’s battery charge will last for about 3 days (having been used 8 times a day by a family of 4 – I can testify) which I think is perfect for any traveller. If you are travelling solo you are going to get at least a week out of this brush without the need to charge.
Funny enough I also really like the black colour. If you are backpacking, your toothbrush can get a little grubby so the darker toothbrush body is a bonus.
The Oral-B Pro doesn’t have any of the fancy pants bells and whistles that it’s more expensive cousins have, such as the blue tooth and gum massage feature, but it does have a 30-second pulse to indicate that it’s time to move onto the next section of your mouth and also a pressure sensor.
For an electric toothbrush of such quality, the price is superb. keeping you well under $50.
- Removes 300% more plaque along the gum line than a regular manual toothbrush
- In-handle timer pulses every 30 seconds
- Senses when you brush too hard with a pressure sensor
- Compatible with every Oral-B brush head
Oral B Vitality Battery Operated Toothbrush.
Q: Can you take a battery operated toothbrush on a plane?
A: Yes. You can. Read this if you need more reassurance.
(Best for those who don’t want the hassle of trying to find an electric socket)
As I said before, the downside to having a battery operated brush when you are travelling is the need to find batteries. I’m sure this wouldn’t be a problem in the US or Europe but it was always a bit of a hassle in Asia.
I also think that battery operated brushes do not clean as thoroughly as the charged brushes. I told you. I’m a tooth cleaning freak.
In saying that, the battery operated toothbrushes are an excellent option if you are camping or are not sure of the electricity situation. This is also a reasonable price.
- soft, rubberised handle
- significantly improves gum health
- Eliminates the need for a power outlet
Philips Sonicare 2 Series.
(For those who have a problem with plaque buildup * and our personal favourite!)
We bought this electric toothbrush when we were in Hong Kong and it was the best decision we ever made.
We were reluctant to buy an electric toothbrush for travel because we knew that we would be going to Europe and we worried that the adaptor for the charger would weigh us down.
After weighing up our options (haha! See what I did? Genius aren’t I?) we decided that the health of our teeth and gums was far more important than a few extra pounds.
The Philips Sonicare boasts that it removes up to 6x more plaque than a manual toothbrush and I believe them. Within just 2 weeks of using this brush, my teeth felt as though I had been to the hygienist.
It is half the price of some of the other toothbrushes out there and after using it I’m still trying to work out why. It has the same 31,000 brush strokes per minute as other Sonicare toothbrushes that cost twice as much.
- Comes in two different colours.
- Removes up to 6x more plaque than a manual toothbrush.
- Light for travel. Just 0.8 lb
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So there you have it. Our review of the best travel toothbrush for 2018. Remember, investing in the right toothbrush for travel will be more time (and cost) effective if you get it right in the first place. And remember, twice a day please and don’t forget to floss!