Patients often ask us which is better: an electric toothbrush or a traditional one? While manual toothbrushes are inexpensive and fit in the medicine cabinet, they require more work to get the job done. Many of us don’t use them for the recommended two minutes or reach every tooth. That’s when a little extra power comes in handy. An electric toothbrush can cover a larger area faster, so you clean more surfaces in the same amount of time.
In the 1990’s, electric toothbrushes became a popular alternative to the traditional variety. They are easy to use and require less effort than brushing manually. This is particularly helpful for people who struggle to use their hands. Several studies even show that electric toothbrushes remove more plaque compared to manual toothbrushes and are better at fighting gum disease. But your mouth will remain healthy no matter which type of toothbrush you use, as long as you consistently care for your teeth.
The advantages of using an electric toothbrush include:
- Less work for better results. With a powered toothbrush, you only need to place the toothbrush at a 45° angle as you rotate it around all your teeth and let it go to work.
- Proper brushing technique. An electric toothbrush does the correct circular motions for you. A lot of people have a tendency to scrub back and forth rather than make small circles leading to more gum recession.
- Built-in timer. Electric toothbrushes use a built-in timer that stops the toothbrush once two minutes are up. There also are electric toothbrushes that alert you if you brush too hard.
- More fun to use for children. If children resist brushing teeth, give them an electric toothbrush to try. It’s less work, tickles their teeth, and the timer will let them know they’re done!
Electric toothbrushes require changing the head as frequently as replacing manual toothbrushes – every 3 months is recommended. The brand of electric toothbrush we recommend is Philips Sonicare, and we sell them in our office as a convenience to our patients. We also recommend Oral B electric toothbrushes, some of which have a “brushing too hard indicator” for those who tend to brush aggressively.
A high quality electric toothbrush is worth the investment to keep your smile healthy for years to come!
Fun fact: Dr. Chelsea uses her old toothbrush heads to brush her dog’s teeth with her Sonicare!
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