“I’ve used a regular toothbrush and an electric one before, but I want to know which one is best for my teeth?” -Sara G., San Antonio, TX.
This is a question we have heard before at Advanced Smile Care. Let’s look into the benefits and drawbacks of both kinds of toothbrushes.
MANUAL TOOTHBRUSHES v. ELECTRIC TOOTHBRUSHES
Plastic, hand-held toothbrushes tend to be relatively inexpensive and don’t require charging like the electric models. But electric toothbrushes are physically easier to use, because these toothbrushes require very little, if any, arm motion to clean your teeth. But really, when it comes down to it, every person is different. You might prefer using a traditional Oral B while your friend likes a Sonicare.
Besides distinct differences in weight of these toothbrushes, style, and cost, there have been controlled trials which examined the effectiveness of toothbrushes. In a 2014 study published by the Cochrane Library, it says electric toothbrushes were more effective than manual models. The study showed electric toothbrushes reduce plaque and gingivitis over several months. But researchers noted the difference wasn’t dramatic when compared to manual toothbrushes.
SO…WHAT’S THE ANSWER?
Bottom line, it’s not what you’re using to brush your teeth but how you’re doing it. The American Dental Association (ADA) states that electric or manual toothbrushes are both effective in removing plaque.
In order to get the best result from a toothbrush, remember to brush twice a day for 2 minutes with an electric toothbrush and to brush for 5 minutes twice a day with a manual toothbrush . The ADA suggests you place your toothbrush at a 45 degree angle and brush your teeth with a light jiggle back and forth. It also, recommends using a toothpaste that includes fluoride. The benefits go beyond reducing build-up of tartar and plaque. Remember, don’t brush aggressively because it can cause damage to your teeth by eroding your enamel and leading to gum recession
“The time you take to make sure your teeth are properly cleaned is critical to the health of your teeth. If you know you’ve got a heavy hand, it’s not a bad idea to buy a soft-bristled toothbrush or an electric model,” said Dr. Alejandro Cavazos. “Also, be patient when you’re brushing your teeth. When you brush as recommended, you’re more apt to remove all plaque and food stuck to your teeth.”
Ideally, if you don’t mind spending a little extra money, Advanced Smile Care hygienist Patricia Suarez recommends an electric toothbrush, even if you’re using an entry-level model. “A traditional toothbrush cannot replicate the motion of an electric toothbrush. That motion is so much much faster and precise in cleaning your teeth.”