Is an Electric Toothbrush Better than a Manual Brush?
These days there is a plethora of brands and models of electric toothbrushes, ranging from basic and inexpensive to ones that can be linked to smart phone apps that can cost hundreds of dollars.
Is an electric toothbrush better than a manual brush? This is a question I get asked many times per day at Women in Dentistry and outside of work by friends and family. But before I answer that question, I just want to give you a brief rundown on electric toothbrushes.
The first usable and effective electric toothbrush was invented in Switzerland in 1954 by Dr Phillippe-G Woog. It was called the ‘Broxodent’. As we all know water and electricity do not mix well so this electric brush was extremely dangerous as it connected to a standard wall outlet and the brush ran on live voltage. As you can imagine this brush did not sell all that well until the cordless and rechargeable model came onto the market in 1961.
These days there is a plethora of brands and models of electric toothbrushes, ranging from basic and inexpensive to ones that can be linked to smart phone apps that can cost hundreds of dollars. Currently there are two ways in which electric toothbrushes work, rotary and sonic movement. What does this mean? Well the rotary brushes spin right and left and pulsate to break up the plaque and these brushes can oscillate around 8,800 times per minute and pulsate at 40,000 times per minute. The other mechanism is where the brush head rapidly vibrates from side to side with a brush stroke about 31,000 per minute. It can be daunting trying to pick an electric toothbrush, so at your next appointment we will be happy to have a chat about which brush will be right for you.
Right, now that you have all the background information about electric brushes let me answer the question, “Is an electric toothbrush better than a manual toothbrush?”. The answer is yes. In an extensive Cochrane study published in 2014 it was shown that electric toothbrushes reduce plaque by 21% and reduce gum disease by 11% over a three-month period (I have attached article just in case anyone wants a look). And just over my many years of clinical practice people always tell me how much cleaner their teeth feel when using an electric toothbrush.
But……….in saying electric toothbrushes do a better job some people do an amazing job with their manual toothbrushes and for these people as the saying goes “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”. Also it doesn’t matter how great your new beaut electric toothbrush is if you don’t know the correct technique to use it or you are just waving it around inside you mouth like some sort of magic wand without reaching all the areas of your mouth and surfaces of your teeth. At Women in Dentistry we have a test drive electric toothbrush that we can show you the correct technique with or of course you are always welcome to bring you electric toothbrush in from home.
Whatever toothbrush you decide to use weather in electric or manual please only ever use a brush head with soft bristles and have a chat to us about the correct technique to make sure you are getting the most out of your two minutes of brushing twice and day and that you are not damaging your teeth or gums.