Are Electric Tooth Brushes Really Better?
I’m a big fan of anything that makes my life easier, and I don’t think I’m alone in this. Sometime in the past couple of years, I began using an electric toothbrush. While standing over my sink, enjoying the low “whirrrrrrrrrr” of clean-feeling minty freshness and pondering all things unrelated, I started thinking . . . is this brush doing better things for me than a manual toothbrush? Since one of those makes-my-life-easier things is the research gurus (a.k.a., the World Wide Web), I searched to get the rundown: are electric toothbrushes better than manual? What’s the difference, if any, for our pearly whites?
Manual toothbrushes can be found in a variety of head shapes, sizes, and bristle hardness. Other than those features, they’re pretty straight-forward, and considerably cheaper than electric models. Electric toothbrushes also come in a variety of head shapes, but include one or more powered movements: side-to-side, vibrating, rotating, ultrasonic, and so on. Electric models require batteries, either rechargeable or replaceable. With manual options, hand, wrist, and arm movement is required. For this reason, electric versions offer ease of use for those with limited dexterity (i.e., an elderly person or someone with physical limitations). Many dentists recommend use of an electric brush to patients with braces to ensure those hard-to-reach areas are regularly and effectively brushed.
You know the saying, “he doesn’t know his own strength”? It is actually possible to accidentally over-brush, damaging the gums and breaking down the enamel coating that protects your teeth. Manual toothbrushes may have bristles that are too hard for your teeth and gums, and your Hulk-like abilities might wear down your teeth without you even realizing it! Since an electric toothbrush takes over “scrubbing” for you with its powered motions, the device limits you from bearing down too hard on your gums and teeth with your own brushing motions. Most electric versions also boast a built-in timer and will shut off when you’ve brushed the recommended length (usually, 2 minutes) to avoid the possibility of overbrushing.
Put In The Time
If you’re on top of your dental habits and activating your electric toothbrush for the recommended frequency and amount of time, then studies show that the vibrating and/or rotating nature of the bristles on an electric toothbrush can more effectively dislodge plaque and food particles, preventing damaging buildup on your teeth. Electric toothbrushes were also shown to be slightly more effective at reducing gingivitis. However, the long and short of the matter: owning an electric toothbrush isn’t going to magically enhance your smile if you don’t regularly brush twice a day, as recommended by the American Dental Association.
What if I can’t afford one?
But when cost is a factor, or you don’t have access to an electric toothbrush right now, don’t feel like you’re missing out on the chance for a healthy mouth. Research consistently shows that both manual and electric toothbrushes can be effectively used to keep your dental health top-notch! When making your toothbrush selection, look for brushes that have the ADA Seal of Acceptance, and replace your brush every 3-4 months (electric versions offer detachable heads, so you don’t have to replace the entire unit). With regular, effective use of either kind of toothbrush, combined with regular visits to your dentist, you’ll reap the benefits of a healthy, dazzling smile – and spend your brushing time figuring out other topics to search on the Internet.
What does Larsen Family Dentistry Recommend?
You’re in luck – we have a whole page of recommended products, including one of the leading brands of electric toothbrushes. Click here to check them out.
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With over 10 years of dentistry experience in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Larsen Family Dentistry provides personable, quality, and affordable dental care to men and women of all ages. If you're looking for high quality and personal service, you've come to the right place. It is our passion to keep your smile healthy and beautiful.