For years, many dentists and dental hygienists have been advocating the use of electric toothbrushes for their patients.
Dental health professionals report that they can actually tell if a patient is using an electric toothbrush because their patients’ teeth and gums are cleaner than those of their other patients who use manual toothbrushes.
Electric toothbrushes are quite a bit more expensive than manual toothbrushes. So is an electric toothbrush better than a manual toothbrush?
Research bears out the informal findings of dental health professionals. In 2014, Cochrane, an international evidence-based research organization, free from commercial sponsorship, released the results of an analysis of 56 studies done on electric vs. manual toothbrushes over a 47-year time period.
The analysis by authors from the Cochrane Oral Health Group revealed that there are benefits in using a powered toothbrush when compared with a manual toothbrush. The analysis revealed that there was “an 11% reduction in plaque at one to three months of use, and a 21% reduction in plaque when assessed after three months of use.
For gingivitis, the analysis found there was a 6% reduction at one to three months of use, and an 11% reduction when assessed after three months of use.”1 Dental plaque is the mass of bacteria that grows on surfaces within the mouth and forms tartar. A build-up of dental plaque can lead to tooth decay. So, if using an electric toothbrush can reduce dental plaque by 21%, that is a significant improvement in oral health.
In terms of reducing gingivitis by 11%, that is also a worthwhile improvement as gingivitis is inflammation of the gum tissue which can progress to periodontitis and tooth loss.
An important feature of electric toothbrushes is the timer feature. Since the American Dental Association recommends brushing twice per day, for two minutes each time, the built-in timer on an electric toothbrush makes it easy to meet those brushing goals. Some timers switch a toothbrush off at the two-minute mark while others vibrate to indicate that the time is up.2
Another helpful feature on some electric toothbrushes is a monitor which detects when you are putting too much pressure on your gums. Too much pressure can abrade tooth enamel, or the root of the tooth in cases where gums are receding, and cause teeth to become hypersensitive to hot or cold.
Children can benefit from using electric toothbrushes. Manufacturers make children’s electric toothbrushes appealing by producing models where the toothbrush handle is shaped like a racing car or a mermaid or a cell phone.3 This can make brushing fun for children, and because the toothbrush does the work, parents need only make sure that the child is reaching all their teeth with the toothbrush, rather than worrying that they aren’t brushing correctly.
Those with difficulty holding a toothbrush, like the elderly or those with arthritis or other dexterity challenges, can also benefit from using electric toothbrushes. Cleaner teeth and better brushing are powerful reasons to invest in an electric toothbrush.
Decreasing prices, with some models selling for under $15, have made the electric toothbrush more affordable. However, the bottom line is that electric and manual toothbrush are both acceptable to use to maintain good oral health according to the American Dental Association (ADA).4 Whichever brush type you choose, use it twice a day for two minutes at a time and you will be on your way to a cleaner mouth and a brighter smile.
Sedki Dentistry, Commerce MI is a complete family dental clinic that offers services for all dental health concerns. Dr. Sedki and his experienced staff are professional and committed to providing uncompromised care to their patients. Maintaining long term dental health and a beautiful smile is their goal. Call Sedki Dentistry today and get started on a healthy, beautiful smile!
1 Powered/Electric Toothbrushes Compared to Manual Toothbrushes for Maintaining Oral Health, Cochrane, June 17, 2014
2 Best Electric Toothbrushes, Best Reviews.com, May 2018
3 Ordinary vs. Powered Toothbrushes: Stroke of Genius? by Dulce Zamora, WebMD.com
4 Does an Electric Toothbrush Do a Better Job Than the Regular Kind?, Mouth Healthy, American Dental Association