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Toothbrushes: Electric or manual?

March 5, 2015
Posted By: Elyce Link-Bindo
choosing a toothbrush in doylestown pa

Are electric toothbrushes that much better than a manual, traditional toothbrush?  When we look at the literature, there are conflicting results: some papers will say that there is no difference and others will state that an electric toothbrush is much more effective at removing plaque.  What is more important than the actual toothbrush is the way you brush and how frequently.  The whole purpose of brushing is to remove the build up of material on the teeth that accumulates on a daily basis.  This build up of plaque and tartar causes cavities.  If the buildup goes below the gum line, it can contribute to gum disease (this why it is so important that you get a dental cleaning at least twice a year and it also causes bad breath!) 

When brushing your teeth, it is important to brush at least two times a day and make sure that all of the plaque is removed.  This includes the hard to reach areas around the molars and the back surfaces of the lower front teeth.  Also, people tend to brush harder on the opposite side of their dominant hand.  So if I can brush just as effectively with a manual toothbrush why should I invest in an electric brush?  

Benefits of Electric Toothbrushes

  1. Most electric toothbrushes have timers that let you know how long you are brushing or that shut off after two minutes (if you actually time yourself you will see how long two minutes actually is!)
  2. f you are someone with arthritis or difficulty brushing, the electric toothbrush will help you to access those difficult areas by just holding the brush there rather than physically moving the bristles.
  3. Most of the time when you have an electric toothbrush you are not inclined to brush as hard.  Brushing with too much force can wear away your gums and tooth structure.  Some electric brushes will tell you when you're brushing too hard.
  4. Electric toothbrushes can be useful to clean around braces and around implant bridges (different brush heads are available.)


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