Some of the main benefits of using an electric toothbrush over a traditional brush is that electric brushes provide a more thorough cleaning, it’s better at plaque removal, easier to use, less strain on the gums and lots of options are available. Electric toothbrushes are also more environmentally friendly and are approved by the American Dental Association.
If you’re on the fence about buying that new electric toothbrush, this article should help you make a firm decision. Unlike a few years ago, electric toothbrushes can now be found everywhere and have become quite affordable with a lot of different options.
Ahead, we will cover how electric toothbrushes can make your daily brushing easier, remove plaque, prevent gingivitis and bad breath while keeping your teeth and gums looking and feeling healthy.
Provides a More Thorough Cleaning
It should come as no surprise, but electric toothbrushes provide a longer and more thorough cleaning than your traditional manual brush. Why? Well, for one, the electric toothbrush has an oscillating head that cleans your teeth like a professional dentist. This round motion more easily removes plaque and other stains from your teeth, which is difficult to do with a traditional toothbrush, which has a simple horizontal movement.
Another nifty fact to keep in mind. Your hand produces about 300 strokes per brushing minute. Compare this to about 2,000-30,000 strokes with an electric brush (depending on the type). This is why an electric toothbrush almost always cleans quicker and more thoroughly than a manual brush.
You also tend to spend more time cleaning all the “quadrants” of your teeth. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends spending at least 30 seconds per quadrant and a total of 2 minutes for your entire mouth. I never did this before (or at least properly) until I owned an electric toothbrush. I used to just brush my upper jaw and lower jaw. The illustrated guide that came with my electric toothbrush actually broke down the jaw into 4 quadrants that must be targeted with each cleaning. This helps provide a much more thorough daily cleaning.
A Longer Cleaning
In addition, an electric toothbrush has an automatic timer set for 2 minutes. The American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth for at least 2 minutes for a proper cleaning twice a day. This means 30 seconds in each of the four quadrants of your mouth.
An electric toothbrush ensures that you do spend the required time cleaning your teeth every day. Some models even vibrate after 30 seconds signaling you to move on to the next quadrant.
So if you’re like me, I had no idea how long I brushed my teeth for (or what the 4 quadrants were) until I used an electric toothbrush. Two minutes doesn’t sound like a lot, but trust me, it feels like forever when you actually do it for the first time! Go ahead and time yourself next time you brush your teeth.
Believe it or not, the average American only spends between 31 to 65 seconds brushing their teeth. This is almost half the required time for cleaning your teeth!
The timer feature is especially great for kids and youngsters who may cut their teeth cleaning time shorter than the recommended 2 minutes. It makes for an easier and more efficient clean every day with little effort.
Did you know that right handed brushers apply more pressure on their left jaw and vice versa for left handed brushes? This means one side of your mouth gets more cleaning than the rest of your mouth.
With an electric toothbrush, you can prevent this as your mouth gets an equal amount of cleaning pressure from an electric toothbrush.
Better at Plaque Removal
Due to the oscillating design, electric toothbrushes are much better at removing plaque and preventing gingivitis and bad breath. A study conducting between 2002-2006 showed that electric toothbrushes were superior to manual toothbrushes at removing plaque.
In another clinical research, 52 studies were conducted between 1964 and 2011 in which 5,068 participants were randomly selected to use either a powered toothbrush or a manual toothbrush. The key findings of the study showed that powered toothbrushes were 11% better at removing plaque (during 1 to 3 months) and then 21% better after 3 months.
And due to its automatic function, electric toothbrushes can also clean and remove plaque from hard to reach areas of your mouth. This will help prevent plaque build up and probably save you a few trips to the dentist in the future.
Prevents Bad Breath
Electric toothbrushes can also prevent bad breath, which is caused by food particles being stuck in your teeth. Due to its more thorough cleaning (30,000+ more strokes per minute compared to just 300 strokes by a manual toothbrush), electric toothbrushes tend to remove far more food particles that are often left behind by a manual toothbrush
The head of an electric toothbrush is inspired by professional dental equipment and the head is small and round. This small, circular shape is designed to fit around each tooth providing a much deeper cleaning and preventing any food particles to be left in your mouth. This greatly reduces the chances of bad breath developing in your mouth.
Some models also come with a tongue cleaner (which is where a majority of bacteria that causes bad breath originate from).
Ease of Use
Since electric toothbrushes are automatic, they require very little energy from the user. And if you’re prone to using brute force (like me), brushing itself becomes a much easier task day in and day out. I now brush my teeth thrice a day because it’s less of a chore than it used to be with a manual toothbrush.
In addition, electric toothbrushes are great for the elderly or those with limited mobility or manual dexterity. Traditional brushing requires a certain amount of strength and hand movement. This may be difficult for those with arthritis, carpal tunnel, stroke or paralysis. If you suffer from any of these listed conditions, then an electric toothbrush would be a great alternative for you.
Electric toothbrushes are great for the following groups of people:
- Young kids to ensure they spend the recommended 2 minutes cleaning their teeth.
- The elderly or those with manual dexterity who find it difficult using their hands while brushing.
- People who suffer from arthritis as using a manual toothbrush can be extremely painful.
- People with braces who require a very thorough cleaning to ensure no food particles are still stuck in their mouth or in their braces.
- Lazy brushers who do not spend the required 2 minutes brushing their teeth.
Less Strain on Your Gums
Once you get used to using an electric toothbrush, it tends to be more gentle on your gums. Some people tend to put more than the required force using a manual toothbrush and this causes unnecessary strain on your gums.
According to WebMD, excessive pressure while brushing can be bad for your gums causing recessed gums and also wear down your enamel. This is more difficult with an electric toothbrush as most of the work is being done by the brush itself, so there’s much less stress on the gums and enamel. A worn down enamel can causes extra sensitivity to hot and cold liquids.
Some models also come equipped with difference modes such as gum care or um massage that stimulate the gums. So in addition to simply brushing your teeth, an electric toothbrush can also massage your gums.
More Brush Strokes Per Minute
The average hand can generate around 300 strokes per brushing minute. Depending on the type of electric toothbrush you use, they can generate up to 50,000 brushstrokes per minute! This means an electric toothbrush can often times be 100 times more efficient than a traditional toothbrush. This not only cuts down your brushing time, but it also means a much deeper cleaning that a traditional brush cannot provide.
They Make Your Teeth Whiter
When using a regular toothbrush, you get an average of about 300 strokes per minute. Depending on the type of electric toothbrush you use, you can get any where from 3,000 to 30,000 strokes per minute! These extra strokes scrub every inch of your teeth, which prevents coffee and wine stains resulting in visually whiter teeth.
A Variety of Options & Technologies Available
Do you have sensitive teeth or gums? Electric toothbrushes come in a variety of functions and forms for all types of teeth. So whether you like soft brushes or hard ones, there’s definitely an electric toothbrush for your specific type of teeth and gums.
Some electric toothbrushes are powered by a rechargeable battery on a waterproof stand, while others require standard AA or AAA batteries and can be used for traveling and are more compact in design. Below are some of the current technologies available:
Types of Electric Toothbrushes
There are many different electric toothbrush technologies available in the market, which means much more choice for you, the consumer. Currently, you can find the following types:
Rotary/oscillation: the standard type of electric toothbrush that moves in a circular/rotary movement and provides about 3,000-7,500 strokes per minute.
Sonic: this uses a side to side motion and is about 10 times faster than a rotary toothbrush. This translate into 31,000 brush strokes per minute. For those who are extra geeky, this type of electric toothbrush produces vibrations in the audible range. This means they produce frequencies that range from 200 to 400 Hz that is about 12,000-24,000 oscillations or 24,000-48,000 movements per minute.
Ultrasonic: this creates extremely fast side by side vibrations which dislodges plaque. These types of electric toothbrushes emit a wave frequency of 20,000 Hz or 2,400,000 movements per minute. Generally, ultrasonic toothbrushes that are approved by the FDA operate at a frequency of 1.6 MHz, which translates to 192,000,000 movements per minute.
Ionic: This type of electric toothbrush uses the principles of positively charged and negatively charged ions. This method draws the plaque away from teeth and the toothbrush itself has no moving parts like in the oscillating, sonic and ultrasonic toothbrushes.
There are also a number of large, well known brands such as Oral-B, Philips and Braun offering various types of electric toothbrushes.
So there is a lot choice when it comes to electric toothbrushes. Here are some of the best ones we have picked and reviewed.
Another great benefit of electric toothbrushes is that it’s less harmful to the environment. Instead of replacing your whole toothbrush, you simply replace the head/tip on an electric one. This is considerably less plastic than buying an entirely new toothbrush every few months as you would with manual toothbrushes.
And if you’re like me, who is used to brushing extremely hard, I was replacing my manual toothbrush every 3 months! Now I replace the head of my electric toothbrush once per year. That alone is a huge impact on our environment.
And according to research conducted by Green Your, it takes about 14-42 toothbrush replacement heads to equal the amount of plastic used in a single manual toothbrush. So if you want to reduce your environmental footprint, then an electric toothbrush is certainly the way to go (while saving you an unnecessary trip to the dentist).
Approved by the ADA (American Dental Association)
All dental products in the United States have to be approved by the ADA (American Dental Association). This ensures the products are both safe and effective for use. Studies by the ADA have shown that electric toothbrushes are effective at removing plaque and help prevent gingivitis when used as directed.
So you can be rest assured that the big brand names have the seal of approval from the ADA that their electric toothbrushes actually work to prevent plaque and gingivitis.
Enjoy Cleaner and Healthier Teeth
I’ve personally owned an electric toothbrush for over 3years now. My teeth are not only healthier (and whiter), but I make fewer trips to the dentist for regular cleanings. I used to go every 3-4 months due to the build of plaque and stains (yes, I love coffee), but now I go once very 6-8 months. So go ahead and save yourself some money and a trip to the dentist by buying this nifty little device.