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The best Oral-B toothbrush heads to buy in 2023

Want to make the most of your Oral-B electric toothbrush? Find the best head to meet your dental needs

Looking to replace the head on your Oral-B electric toothbrush? Like-for-like may not be the way to go. For one thing, Oral-B has its own wide range of toothbrush heads, some designed to give you a good all-round clean, others designed to cover more specific needs. If you’re looking to get a deep clean in between your teeth or remove any signs of staining, then you could be better off switching to a different head.

What’s more, Oral-B isn’t the only brand making toothbrush heads. A small industry has grown up producing compatible toothbrush heads, and even some supermarkets and high-street chemists have got in on the act. These heads tend to be cheaper than the official heads, while providing a usable alternative.

To help you make the right choice, we’ve looked at, purchased and tested the best heads, both from Oral-B and other brands.

Best Oral-B toothbrush heads: At a glance

How to choose the best toothbrush head for you

Toothbrush heads tend to split into two broad groups. On the one hand, Oral-B manufactures several lines of general-purpose heads, designed to deliver a good, all-round clean that will cover most people’s needs. These are the heads most of the alternative manufacturers clone when they’re making their own toothbrush heads. Pick one of these heads if you’re looking to replace your existing head, or if you’re looking for a cheaper option.

Oral-B’s other toothbrush heads are designed for more specific dental needs. Maybe you have sensitive teeth and soft gums that need more gentle treatment. Perhaps you’re looking for whiter teeth, or a toothbrush head that will help you tackle gum disease. If so, it may be worth spending the small extra on these heads, to make sure you’re using the right tool for the job.

Are all Oral-B heads compatible with all Oral-B toothbrushes?

Not quite. Most Oral-B heads will work with any Oral-B toothbrush in its Vitality, Pro, Smart and Genius lines. However, they’re not compatible with toothbrushes in the more advanced and premium iO series. For these you’ll need specific – and more expensive – iO brush heads. At the moment, no other manufacturers beyond Oral-B produce iO-compatible heads.

READ NEXT: The best Oral-B electric toothbrush

Are third-party heads any good?

A quick search on Amazon will turn up dozens of third-party heads, or heads manufactured by another company, rather than Oral-B. You’ll also find replacement heads sold through some UK supermarkets and high-street chemists. The quality varies and, based on research, the heads don’t always last as long. We’ve picked out the best alternative heads based on our testing and experience, but without running comprehensive long-term tests it’s difficult to say how durable or long-lasting these are.

It’s worth noting that you’ll see some incredible deals on “genuine” Oral-B toothbrush heads on eBay and other online marketplaces. Regard some of these with caution, as there are a lot of cheap knock-offs around masquerading as Oral-B heads. Buying third-party heads is fine if you know what you’re getting, but you should make sure you get the product that you pay for.

How we test Oral-B toothbrush heads

To put these replacement brush heads through their paces, we attach them to an Oral-B Pro 3 3000 or Smart 6 6000N toothbrush, then use them for a five-day period, brushing for two minutes in the morning and at night. During this time, we evaluate how effectively they clean the teeth and gums, along with how comfortable they are to use. In addition, we look for any signs of wear and tear, including lost or displaced bristles, and compare them against the standard Oral-B brush heads to see how the materials and overall quality measure up.

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The best Oral-B toothbrush heads you can buy in 2023

1. Oral-B Cross Action: Best Oral-B brush head for most people

Price when reviewed: From £16 for 6 | Check price at AmazonThe Cross Action is the standard head supplied with many of Oral-B’s biggest-selling brushes, and it’s a great all-round head that should suit most people. Clusters of white bristles alternate with slightly longer green or blue bristles, angled so that, while the head surrounds each tooth as it cleans, the bristles can get in between the teeth and clear any plaque or debris. In practice, the Cross Action scores well on every count, giving the enamel the right squeaky-clean finish while providing a slightly deeper clean than the Precision Clean or Sensitive heads. Meanwhile, as the heads wear out, the green bristles steadily turn yellow. If you don’t know which head to buy, buy this one.

2. Oral-B Precision Clean: Best for cleaning along the gumline

Price when reviewed: £20 for 6 | Check price at AmazonThe Precision Clean is Oral-B’s other general-purpose brush head, with a more traditional design and several clusters of bristles that clean in and around the surface of your teeth. This head is particularly good at removing any trace of food or plaque from the front, back or crown, and is arguably a little gentler and more effective than the Cross Action when it comes to cleaning along the gumline. The clean isn’t quite as deep between the teeth, but it’s still not bad at all. If you’re looking for a head that’s as good for the gums as it is your gnashers, go straight for the Precision Clean.

3. Oral-B Floss Action: Best for cleaning in between the teeth

Price when reviewed: From £9.50 for 4 | Check price at AmazonOral-B says that the Floss Action is its top brush head for interdental cleaning, thanks to the four soft plastic Micropulse bristles that loosen plaque between the teeth and make it easier to remove through further brushing. Based on our testing, it’s effective, leaving your teeth feeling like they’ve had a really deep clean, and leaving less plaque and other stuff to be picked up by a teepee brush or water flosser. The downside is that the sensation can be slightly uncomfortable, at least at first. It’s a bit of a marmite brush head, but if you have issues with gum disease or cleaning in between your teeth, it’s definitely one worth trying.

4. Oral-B 3D White: Best for polishing and whitening

Price when reviewed: From £9.99 for 4 | Check price at AmazonNo prizes for guessing what the 3D White is supposed to do. In the middle of its bristles lies a soft-plastic polishing cap, designed to remove surface stains and whiten the teeth. It’s pretty good at dealing with tea and coffee stains, though you should partner it with a bicarbonate or other whitening toothpaste, and it’s still effective at cleaning along the gumline, on the crown and in between the teeth. The Cross Action gives a deeper clean, but if you smoke or drink a lot of coffee and want to keep your pearly whites, well, pearly white, the 3D White can help.

5. Oral-B Sensitive Clean: Best for gentle cleaning

Price when reviewed: From £9.70 for 4 | Check price at AmazonIf you have soft gums and find your existing head uncomfortable or you’re prone to using too much pressure while you brush, Oral-B’s Sensitive Clean head could be the answer. It mixes regular bristles with softer ultra-thin bristles, designed to go easier on your gums. The obvious issue here might be that you get a less intensive clean elsewhere, but in practice teeth still feel sparkly clean after a two-minute session, and the head feels gentler as it trails across the gumline, particularly if you have any tender patches.

6. KHBD 16 Toothbrush Heads, Oral-B compatible: Best compatible heads for specialist work

Price when reviewed: From £9.99 for 16 | Check price at Amazon There’s no shortage of Chinese budget brands selling Oral-B replacement heads, but KHBD stands out from the crowd for two reasons. First, its build quality is better than the average. Compare its heads with the Oral-B originals and there’s some difference in the materials or the substance and density of the bristles, but the heads hold up well in daily use and deliver a decent clean. Second, it makes replacements for Oral-B’s specialist brush heads, including the Precision Clean, FlossAction, CrossAction and Sensitive Clean. The “Cross” head isn’t particularly convincing, but the other three are pretty good. We suspect the Oral-B heads will last longer and give a better overall brush, but if you’re keen to save some money, these KHBD heads will do the job.

7. Humble Earth Recyclable Toothbrush Heads: Best charcoal heads for Oral-B toothbrushes

Price when reviewed: From £5.99 for 4 | Check price at AmazonDon’t get too excited about the recyclability of these brush heads. While you can return them to the manufacturer you do so at your own expense, and otherwise they’re recyclable through Terracycle’s network, which can also handle most other brush heads.

A better reason to buy them is that they’re well-made heads in the Precision Clean style and that they use a Binchotan Charcoal bristle. Some believe these do a better job of removing stains than conventional fibre bristles, while also having antibacterial properties. These heads don’t have the activated powder charcoal of some manual charcoal toothbrushes, which may be a good thing given concerns that they’re too abrasive on the teeth if used long term. However, they feel solid, don’t fray easily and give a good, effective clean.

8. Milos Electric Toothbrush Heads: Best-value brush heads

Price when reviewed: From £4.39 for 4 | Check price at AmazonThese Milos Oral-B compatible heads make the list because they’re cheap and cheerful where some other heads are cheap and nasty. They’re basically clones of the Precision Clean, but with some differences in the design and the substance of the bristles. Where Oral-B varies the shape of the bristle clusters and the materials, the bristles here feel much the same across the head. Despite this, they still do a solid job of cleaning along the gumline and around your teeth, with much the same level of comfort as the real deal. We suspect they won’t last as long, but at under £1 a head you can’t really expect otherwise.

9. Boots Universal Total Clean: Best high-street replacement brush heads

Price when reviewed: £15 for 4 | Check price at BootsThese Boots own-brand replacement heads are a cut above your average Oral-B compatibles. They feel rock solid, the bristles are firm without being too firm, and they’re a snug fit on the brush. The design, modelled on the Precision Clean, helps the head get around the tooth on every side and get some action in between the teeth. Of all the replacement heads we tried, these were the closest in feel to the Oral-B original. The only problem is that they’re not hugely less expensive, especially with the cheap prices you’ll find for Oral-B heads on the big online stores.

Check price at Boots

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