Good oral hygiene includes brushing twice and flossing at least once daily. While having good habits is the first step to healthy gums and teeth, the tools you use can affect how well you clean your teeth. Not all toothbrushes are the same; adding an electric toothbrush to your arsenal against plaque can help keep your teeth even cleaner.
What is an electric toothbrush?
The traditional toothbrush – the long rod of plastic with bristles at the end – and its predecessors have been around for hundreds of years. As toothbrushes have evolved, the options have grown. Factors like softness of the bristles and shape of the handles factor into the effectiveness of the toothbrush. In the past 50 years or so, the electric toothbrush has become a good option to improve your oral health.
Electric toothbrushes have oscillating heads that move the bristles as you brush. Usually powered by a rechargeable battery, the bristles either vibrate back and forth or rotate clockwise and counter-clockwise rapidly. The most advanced toothbrushes are sonic toothbrushes, which can oscillate at more than 30,000 movements a minute.
Benefits of an Electric Toothbrush
Independent studies have shown that if used properly, a manual toothbrush can clean as well as an electric toothbrush. Not everyone brushes properly, though, so investing in an electric toothbrush has some benefits that can help you keep your teeth healthier.
- Built-in Timer: Dentists recommend brushing for at least two minutes twice each day. Many electric toothbrushes have timers that will let you know when two minutes has elapsed. Some advanced toothbrushes even break down the two minutes into 30-second segments to help you brush each quadrant of your mouth equally.
- Good for people with minimal dexterity: The effectiveness of a manual toothbrush relies on a person’s ability to move the brush back and forth quickly. For some people who have hand and/or wrist problems, the larger handle allows them to grip the toothbrush better and the oscillating head does the brushing. All the person has to do is to move the head to and around each tooth, and depending on the toothbrush, the head can provide anywhere from 3,000 to 40,000 brushstrokes per minute.
- Prevents brushing too hard: Some people think the best way to take care of plaque is to apply more pressure while they brush. Brushing too hard, however, can actually damage the enamel – the protective layers – of your teeth. Many electric toothbrushes have pressure sensors that will stop the oscillations if you’re pressing too hard against your teeth to prevent enamel damage.
Brush Properly for Healthy Teeth
The key to a healthy smile is literally in your hands. Before you brush, make sure to floss to remove chunks of plaque that a toothbrush can’t reach. If you’re brushing twice a day for at least two minutes, then you’re definitely off to a good start. Whether you’re using an electric or manual toothbrush, make sure to use proper brushing technique to remove the most plaque. If you’re interested in an electric toothbrush, Dr. Fitzgerald recommends the Sonicare DiamondClean. You can also call our office for more information as well as to schedule a cleaning appointment to maintain your smile.