I've avoided electric toothbrushes — but this affordable option changed my mind

I didn't realize that my manual toothbrush was failing me.
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When I was younger, I used to keep an hourglass in the bathroom to make sure that I was brushing my teeth for the right amount of time. Somewhere along the way I ditched the hourglass and trusted my brushing instincts, but I didn't realize just how much I had failed myself until now.

I never thought an electric toothbrush would be in the cards for me (not even the ones that sing), but after having the chance to try the Colgate Hum, I realized I clearly needed one. I have lied to myself over the last few years about just how good of a job I was doing at maintaining my pearly whites.

hum by Colgate Smart Electric Toothbrush Kit

Everyone needs guided brushing

Though the $70 price tag means it costs more than a manual toothbrush, it does so for a reason — it works better. The brush connects to your phone through the Colgate Hum app via Bluetooth so it can monitor your brushing sessions. It sounds creepy, but technology is definitely in your corner here.

When you first use the brush, it conducts a test brushing by asking you to brush as you normally would for as long as you deem appropriate. Once you finish the test brushing, you can wince in horror as the app tells you how much coverage you reached and exactly how long you brushed for. I clearly need my hourglass back, because I didn't reach 100% coverage on my first-go (the 64% coverage was heartbreaking).

After test brushing, you can start guided brushing sessions, which guides you through section-by-section until you reach 100% coverage for a specific section of teeth. Once you reach 100% coverage, you are free to move onto the next brushing segment. While I'm brushing, the device also alerts me if my brush is not angled properly at 45 degrees, which is necessary in order to properly clean between your teeth and your gums. This feature requires me to pay more attention to and be more patient with my brushing.

You can also choose between three settings: normal, sensitive or deep clean. Though these settings aren't silent, the brush is still relatively quiet and I don't feel bad using it at 6 a.m. while everyone in my house is sleeping.

Jillian Ortiz / TODAY

It doesn't feel like a clunky gadget

The toothbrush is tiny but mighty. Other electric and high-tech toothbrushes I've seen either take up too much sacred bathroom counter space or weigh a solid pound or two, so it's been hard for me to imagine why someone would opt for a battery-operated heavyweight rather than a light manual brush. To my surprise, the Hum feels super light, even inside its storage case.

Not only is it light, but it's compact. The manual toothbrush I was using beforehand had a medium-sized brush head, which I assumed was best in order to really clean my teeth, so you can imagine the question marks in my head when I saw the tiny brush head on the Hum. However, the small brush head features the same rubber bristles as my manual toothbrush, along with a tongue brush and other bristles of different sizes and textures to better clean your teeth.

I was also happy to discover that the charging stand weighs less and is even smaller than the brush itself, so it doesn't take up space on my counter. My only wish is that the charging heads came with a cover so I could leave it to charge in the bathroom without worrying about germs, though I don't have to worry too often since it can last up to 10 days on a single charge.

You can score bonuses just by brushing

Each time you load your brushing data onto the app, either by using the app directly or by uploading data from offline brushing, you can redeem "smile points." Each brushing session lands you one smile point, which you can let add up until you have enough points to redeem an actual rechargeable or battery-operated brush or replacement heads.

Jillian Ortiz / TODAY

The app also allows you to try out different brushing methods, create brushing reminders or even enable an Amazon alert for new replacement brush heads to be delivered to your door when you need them. All of these unique features can also score you some additional smile points that can be used toward in-app purchases, which essentially means you're getting a coupon for just brushing your teeth.

Though this is only my first time using an electric toothbrush, I think electric toothbrush loyalists and manual toothbrush loyalists alike would be equally as pleased as I am with the Hum. It's compact, easy to maneuver and the bright color options make me look forward to pulling out my brush and giving my teeth the love they deserve.

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