We’ve all heard our dental professional go on about how wonderful and great electric toothbrushes are, or we see the advertisements online and on TV.
But why are they so great?
Here are 12 benefits you get from using an electric toothbrush!
- Keeps teeth whiter and brighter
- By removing surface stains and more plaque (vs a manual toothbrush)
- Plaque can absorb different pigments from food, making teeth appear more discoloured so less plaque=whiter teeth
- Reduce plaque and tartar (calculus) build-up on teeth
- As mentioned above, less build up= whiter teeth and healthier gums!
- Stimulates the gum tissue to aid in healing, reducing gingivitis
- Brushing for longer
- The average amount of time people brush with a manual toothbrush is around 40 seconds
- Most electric toothbrushes will have a 2-minute timer, keeping you on track
- It does most of the work for you
- An Oral-b toothbrush moves up to 48,800 times per minute and Sonicare moves up to 31,000 times per minute
- Brushing with a manual toothbrush we are lucky to hit 300-400 movements per minute
- Reduce bad breath
- Fewer bacteria and less food debris = less smell, and a healthier mouth
- Active gum disease has a distinct smell, causing bad breath
- Quadrant timing
- A 30-second indicator to signal you when to switch to the next area
- Keeps you on track so you brush the teeth equally, some people brush more on the right vs the left (insert picture of different areas of the mouth)
- Ease of use
- Especially for those with arthritis
- Wrist injuries such as carpal tunnel
- People with developmental disabilities. Ex. people who have down syndrome have a larger tongue and more often breathe through their mouth which leads to more oral health issues
- Pressure sensor
- To make sure you don’t brush too hard
- I have had some patients that brush WAY too hard with their manual toothbrush, and after I recommended switching to an electric toothbrush with a pressure sensor, their brushing pressure improved dramatically resulting in less wear of the tooth surfaces
- Motivating – especially for kids
- Some electric toothbrushes for kids come with their favourite characters on them and promote independent brushing habits and again, keep them brushing for longer
- Less waste
- The waste from a replacement head is less than a plastic manual toothbrush
- People who have braces or other orthodontic appliances
- Electric toothbrush make more fluid flow between the teeth and around the orthodontic appliance, this helps to clear away more plaque and food debris
This is the electric toothbrush that I use! You will not regret making the switch!
Why replacing the toothbrush head is so important! Please read!
You want to replace the toothbrush head every 3 months because the bristles become worn down and frayed, making them no longer effective.
When you use an electric toothbrush properly you should have it placed at a 45-degree angle down on the gums. This angle allows the toothbrush bristles to bend underneath the gumline, clearing out food debris and bacteria.
When the bristles are frayed and out of shape, they will not bend underneath the gumline to clean it out. Its not just some marketing gimmick to get you to buy more, its because the effectiveness of the brush is reduced.
You don’t need the most expensive model, even the cheaper version has everything you need, including the pressure sensor! However, I prefer this Oral-b because the battery lasts 2 weeks… perfect for when I travel!
Never buy generic brush heads
Always buy the brand name replacement heads. Here’s why!
I had a patient who told me they were using an Oral-b electric toothbrush, but they had way too much plaque on their teeth especially comparing to the last time I saw them. Which left me puzzled.
It just didn’t make any sense.
I went over the brushing technique with the patient and after a few questions, they told me they bought generic brush heads.
I asked the patient to bring in the brush heads for me to look at because I was curious if it was actually the brush head that was causing the problem!
And sure enough, it was.
The generic “fake” brush head would appear to be moving when the electric toothbrush was turned on, however when any pressure was put on the brush head, it would stop moving altogether.
How would anyone know this is happening, especially because you would still be feeling that vibration from the toothbrush its self. Also, you can’t see the brush head once it is in your mouth pressing against the teeth.
Sometimes buying a cheaper version of something is just not worth it, your health and well-being are not worth the risk.
Also, the materials that are used to make the fake brush heads could be toxic, and the small components could break off and you could swallow it!
What can happen if you are using your electric toothbrush incorrectly?
If you are scrubbing away with your electric toothbrush and using it improperly, you can actually damage the teeth and the gums.
The most common error people make when brushing with an electric toothbrush is brushing as if they were using a manual toothbrush.
Either doing big circles (what we’re taught as a child), scrubbing back and forth, or scrubbing up and down.
Because an electric toothbrush moves up to 48,800 times per minute (Oral-b), if you are scrubbing with it, it’s too much for the gums and teeth, wearing them away.
If you wear away the gum tissue too much and the root surfaces become exposed, you may experience sensitive teeth.
Sensitive teeth can make us avoid our favourite food and drink, and cause us significant pain.
When the root is exposed, it leaves the teeth vulnerable to wear.
The root surface is MUCH more soft, wearing away faster, and ultimately making the teeth weaker.
Think of a tree that is being cut down, the person cutting down the tree will make a wedge cut on either side of the trunk in order to weaken the tree to topple it over. This is the same for teeth, I have had people wear away so much of the root surfaces that they have very large toothbrush abrasion indents.
These indents can trap food, be hard to clean, and cause chipping and breakage of the teeth.
The root surfaces are also harder for a dentist to fill because it is much softer and the filling material doesn’t adhere well to it.
When we eat, clench, or grind our teeth, the teeth flex around the junction between the crown and root, and over time weakening the edges of the fillings allowing food and bacteria to creep in and start a cavity. This means the filling will either fall out or need to be replaced.
Every time a filling is redone, more tooth structure has to be removed, so you can really only fill teeth so many times before causing too much damage.
Prevention is so important so we don’t end up in this position.
Signs of gingivitis – an indication to switch to an electric toothbrush
Gingivitis can be described as in infection in the gum tissue around the teeth with symptoms of;
- Gum tenderness
- Bleeding when flossing, brushing or even eating
- Red or purple in colour (gum tissue should be a nice light pink colour)
- Bad breath
- Receding gums
By using an electric toothbrush, you get all the 12 benefits listed above, making for a healthier and happier smile.
How long does it take for gingivitis to heal?
A lot of my patients are really surprised when I tell them that with proper home care their gingivitis can heal in 10-14 days.
With proper brushing and flossing (and regular dental cleanings) their mouth can quickly get back to optimal health.
Gingivitis is caused when there are too many bacteria hanging out on and underneath the gums. Your body recognizes this and sends more blood to the area in order to kill the bacteria. The white blood cells work furiously to get rid of the bacteria, but there are just too many and your own immune system cannot deal with it.
That’s why your oral hygiene routine at home is so important. If you miss a brushing or flossing session, you are leaving your mouth vulnerable to that gingivitis inducing bacteria!
If my gingivitis doesn’t go away what can happen?
If chronic gingivitis is not tended to and the bacteria are left free rein, the infection can eventually make its way into the bone that supports the teeth.
Once it’s in the bone, you can never get rid of it! This is called periodontal disease. It is a slow progression of tissue destruction of the supporting structures of your teeth including; the gums, bone, and all the ligaments that attach the bone to the gums and teeth.
Remember a tool is only as good as how it’s used.
If you are concerned about your brushing technique, and how it’s affecting your teeth, speak to your dental professional at your next routine visit.
You can even bring in your toothbrush and show them how you use it. It’s one thing to just describe what to do, but a whole other ball game when we get to show you hands-on with the exact tool that you use.
My must-haves for getting the most out of your brushing!
- Any Oral-B electric toothbrush. All of them come with the most important features such as the pressure sensor! The toothbrush linked is the one that I use! 🙂
- Oral-B Electric toothbrush heads; if you have an Oral-B electric toothbrush I always recommended buying from the original brand/manufacturer. Using fake brush heads could cause irreversible damage to your teeth and gums. The brush heads that I linked are the ones that I use!