We all know that the key to great oral health is proper brushing and flossing. There are many options out there when it comes to brushing your teeth. Manual toothbrushes, electric toothbrushes, those with small toothbrush heads, those with large toothbrush heads — it can get confusing! Which toothbrush is best?
Our patients at Beavers & Broomfield Family Dentistry often have questions about which toothbrush is best. One of the biggest questions is whether electronic or manual toothbrushes are best. We know that the most important thing is that you brush at least twice a day for two minutes each time, and either toothbrush will do. However, an electronic toothbrush does have several advantages over manual ones. Let’s explore a few of those advantages.
Why Electronic Toothbrushes Are Better
First and foremost, let’s make one thing clear: It’s OK if you prefer to use a manual toothbrush. The most important thing is that you brush. If you prefer to do that with a manual brush, no problem! Just be sure to floss, then brush regularly, and you can maintain good oral hygiene.
That said, electronic toothbrushes have advantages over manual ones.
Steady, Even Toothbrushing Pressure
The first advantage is its ability to provide steady, even pressure over each tooth. The steady pressure removes the plaque evenly from your teeth. With a manual toothbrush, you may put less pressure on your back teeth than you put on your front teeth, simply because they’re a little harder to reach. So to apply pressure evenly to each tooth, an electronic toothbrush may be best.
Better Brushing Motion
As a kid, you’re taught to brush your teeth using different motions — side to side, up and down, and small circles. The reason for this is to reach and remove as much plaque as possible. Brushing in this way with a manual toothbrush can be awkward at times. It’s much easier with an electronic toothbrush because the head usually does the work for you.
Most electronic toothbrushes offer rapid movement and sometimes circular motions to remove the maximum amount of plaque from your teeth. The faster motion does a better job of shaking loose or scrubbing away the plaque. The more plaque is removed, the cleaner your teeth become, lowering your chances of developing gum disease or tooth decay.
Easier to Use With Limited Mobility
Some people have limited mobility in their hands or wrists. This can be due to injury or a chronic condition such as arthritis or carpal tunnel syndrome. Whatever the case, that limited mobility could make it more difficult for those patients to brush with a manual toothbrush.
An electronic toothbrush is better for such patients because it does most of the work for them. The motion of the toothbrush head does the scrubbing, and most electronic toothbrushes have larger bodies. This makes them a bit easier to grip than the thin body of a manual toothbrush.
Added Features for Better Brushing
With a manual toothbrush, what you see is what you get. Aside from the shape of the bristles, manual toothbrushes don’t offer many more features to make brushing easier. Electronic toothbrushes do have added features, depending on the type you purchase.
Features can vary from brand to brand, but some electronic toothbrushes include timers, so you know that you’ve brushed for at least two minutes. Others may have pressure sensors, so you know you’re not brushing too hard, which can damage your gums and other soft tissue. Some electronic toothbrushes also include color-changing bristles that let you know it’s time to change out the toothbrush head. It’s recommended the head be changed every few months when the bristles become soft, bent, or less effective.
Less Waste and Money
Electronic toothbrushes have the advantage of producing slightly less waste than regular toothbrushes. After a few months, the whole manual toothbrush must be thrown away when the bristles become too soft to be effective. By contrast, most electronic toothbrushes allow you to just replace the toothbrush head, cutting down on waste and the amount of plastic being thrown away.
It could also mean less money in the long run. The electronic toothbrush does a better job of cleaning, so you reduce your chances of getting tooth decay or gum disease. That means fewer dental treatment bills along the way.
What Electronic Toothbrush Should I Buy?
The electronic toothbrush has definite advantages over manual ones. There are plenty of options available if you’re looking to purchase an electronic toothbrush. You want one where the head is easy to change when the bristles become too soft. Look for soft-bristled heads, and pick a toothbrush with a head that will easily fit in your mouth, i.e. smaller heads for kids. Heads with multiple motion options are great but not required.
The rest of the options, such as timer and pressure sensitivity alerts, are up to you and your budget. Keep in mind, most electronic toothbrush bodies can last 3-5 years or more, so consider it an investment in your oral health.
Beavers & Broomfield Family Dentistry is available if you have more questions about the best toothbrush to buy. If you’re in the Fayetteville, AR, area, request an appointment with us to see how we can help you — and your toothbrush — maintain great oral health!