While watching TV it’s almost impossible not to notice the many ads showing people using electric toothbrushes, claiming they are the greatest thing since sliced bread. Sure, they do look like they work, and you could just believe what you see on TV, but why not ask the experts at our dental clinic if they think an electric toothbrush is worth investing in.
First off, do they work? Yes! Electric toothbrushes are better at removing plaque than a traditional manual toothbrush. They are also significantly easier to use because they are powered and do all the brushing for you. Of course, there are user factors that can affect how well an electric toothbrush removes plaque, such as your brushing technique, the length of time you brush for and the type of electric toothbrush you choose to use. Electrics also require a bit of financial outlay to purchase a brush but getting the best clean for your teeth is worth the investment.
Unlike a regular toothbrush, the electric kind do all the work for you, which means all you have to do is slowly guide your electric toothbrush along the surfaces of your teeth. It might seem weird at first, but it’s super easy and once you get used to it you won’t want to go back to manual.
One of the biggest hurdles to adoption is sticking to the recommended brushing time of two minutes. Electric toothbrushes seem to work so quickly that two minutes can end up seeming like a long time. That’s why most electrics have a built-in timer to let you know when you have brushed for long enough.
Technique is also important to ensure the surfaces of your teeth are getting cleaned and that you aren’t damaging your gums in the process. This is no different from using manual brushes and many models of electrics come with a pressure sensor built in to warn you if you begin to apply too much pressure. An electric toothbrush is also much more effective for removing smoking or coffee stains from teeth.
As stated earlier, your brushing technique is important and something you need to get right to make the most out of your electric toothbrush. There is a correct way and there is also a wrong way.
For starters, make sure you brush your teeth at least twice a day. Choose an electric toothbrush that fits your mouth and can reach all areas easily. Run the electric brush over the inner, outside and chewing surfaces of your teeth. Spend about 2-5 seconds on each tooth, ensuring you apply only light pressure and don’t let the brush aggressively work on your gums. Work your way around each tooth or move from the chewing surface, to the inside and then to the outside. Place the brush head so that your whole tooth gets coverage, but you aren’t going over your gum line. Then begin to move around using light pressure until all your teeth have been brushed.
Replace worn brush heads when they become frayed or the often-included colour warning system on the brush head indicates it’s time for a change.
Follow up your brushing routine with flossing, at least once a day.
If you have children using an electric toothbrush, observe their routine until you’re certain they are brushing correctly.
There are lots of good electric toothbrushes on the market to choose from, but consulting with your dentist is always a good idea before making a purchase. We do recommend using an electric because they typically provide a superior clean with less effort. Keep in mind that an electric toothbrush is NOT a substitute for maintaining your smile with professional teeth cleaning appointments with your dentist.