Electric vs Manual Toothbrushes
Both electric and manual toothbrushes are effective tools for keeping our teeth clean and our mouths happy. To properly clean your teeth you should be brushing for a full two minutes, brush the fronts and backs of your teeth, and make sure you aren’t neglecting those hard to reach teeth at the back of your mouth.
Unfortunately, most people don’t brush for the full two minutes, and often miss some of their teeth entirely. That is where having an electric toothbrush comes in handy.
The Benefits of Going Electric
When we brush with manual toothbrushes we average about three hundred strokes per minute. An electric toothbrush is capable of thousands, or even tens of thousands, of strokes in the same period of time. A systematic review published in the Journal of Dentistry looked at twenty-nine different studies that compared the effectiveness of manual and electric toothbrushes and found that electric toothbrushes were significantly more effective at reducing plaque buildup and gingivitis than manual toothbrushes.
Everyone can benefit from using electric toothbrushes. However, electric toothbrushes can be particularly effective for:
- Individuals who have trouble using their hands. Electric toothbrushes require less effort and dexterity to use and can help you ensure that you are cleaning your teeth effectively.
- Young children. Most young children are still developing their brushing technique, so they may not be brushing effectively. Many children also find electric toothbrushes more fun to use than manual toothbrushes, making it easier for parents to encourage children to brush their teeth.
- Individuals with braces. Electric brushes can effectively clean behind and around the braces, and their smaller heads make it easier to reach those hard to reach places.
- Individuals with a lot of tartar buildup. If your dentist or dental hygienist has mentioned that your teeth have a lot of tartar buildup you may not be brushing as effectively as you should. An electric toothbrush can help you refine your brushing technique, and keep your mouth happy and healthy.
Using Your Electric Toothbrush Effectively
Many electric toothbrushes come with a built-in two-minute timer, which can help you ensure that you are spending enough time brushes. Some models even include timers that chime every thirty seconds to prompt you to move on to the next section of your mouth. When brushing you should divide your mouth into four sections:
- The front of your teeth
- The back of your teeth
- The chewing surfaces of your teeth and behind your back teeth
- Your tongue and the roof of your mouth
When using an electric toothbrush it is not necessary to press hard or scrub while brushing. Instead, gently guide the brush along as it scrubs. Some electric toothbrush models include pressure sensors, which will let you know if you are pressing too hard.
Depending on the size of your teeth and the size of the brush head your electric toothbrush should brush about one tooth at a time. Take your time while brushing so you can ensure you are being thorough.
How to Use Your Electric Toothbrush
- Before you begin brushing make sure your electric toothbrush is charged. Most models are equipped with a charge indicator light to let you know if your brush is ready for use. You should also floss your teeth before you begin brushing. This helps to loosen any plaque or food particles that are sitting between your teeth and makes it easier for your toothbrush to sweep them away.
- When you begin brushing hold your brush at a 45-degree angle, just like you would with a manual toothbrush. Starting with the outside surfaces of your teeth gently guide the brush head slowly from tooth to tooth. Make sure you hold the brush head in place for a few seconds against each tooth before you move on to the next one. While brushing, make sure you follow along with the shape of each tooth and the curve of your gums.
- When you have finished the outer surfaces of your teeth repeat your actions on the inside surfaces, and then again on the chewing surfaces of your teeth. Don’t forget to brush behind your back teeth.
- When you have finished brushing your teeth take a few seconds to direct the brush head along your gum line and on your gums. This will help remove any remaining plaque. Be careful not to press too hard when brushing your gums or you may irritate them.
- Finally, use your brush to gently clean your tongue and the roof of your mouth. This will help remove any lingering food particles and help you freshen your breath.
Brushing your teeth effectively is a critical part of any oral hygiene routine, and helps fight plaque and prevent gingivitis and other gum diseases. Electric toothbrushes can make this task easy, and help you ensure that you are removing any plaque or food particles every time you brush.