If brushing your teeth ranks pretty low in your daily priorities, you may be brushing carelessly.
Bacteria buildup between the teeth and under the gums can cause gum and even respiratory diseases.
Lately, electric toothbrushes seem to have gained tremendously in popularity, and there are many models to choose from.
Some are relatively cheap, costing a few dollars, and are one-time use; others have interchangeable brushes and can cost quite a bit.
How effective are electric toothbrushes? Are they gimmicks, or do they really work?
In this shopping guide, we consider the advantages of using an electric toothbrush, the different types there are, and why you might want to consider moving up to one.
It Does All The Work!
If you have never used a good electric toothbrush, then you might wonder if there are really any differences between using a manual and an electric toothbrush.
Those who have used an electric toothbrush for some time generally get attached to it and can’t do without it for long: whenever they have to go manual again, it feels ackward and they don’t feel like their teeth are being cleaned well.
Why is that?
This is not surprising considering that with a manual toothbrush, you have to work pretty hard to get your teeth cleaned. On the other hand, with an electric toothbrush, all you do is guide the brush to the different areas of your teeth. Just point, and it does the work for you.
Because using an electric toothbrush does not seem like a chore anymore (especially for the kids), we usually tend to spend more time on brushing than when using a manual toothbrush. And that is a good thing for most of us brush for too short a time.
2 Full Minutes
So, spots are missed or brushed inadequately to remove plaque.
Too little brushing, and you don’t do a good job cleaning your teeth. Too much brushing, and you run the risk of damaging your gums.
That is why some electric toothbrushes now come with a built-in timer which counts down from the requisite 2 minutes brushing time.
Proper Brushing Technique
You’d think brushing one’s teeth would be child’s play, but tell it to the dentists who daily see patients with plaque problem.
Untreated plaque can cause gingivitis — an inflammation of the gums that often need to be remedied with costly and uncomfortable gum surgery.
Many of us do not use any brushing technique, at least not the proper one. We just shove the toothbrush into our mouth, scrub perfunctorily here and there, spit and rinse.
But the proper brushing technique means that we clean every surface of every tooth: front, back and grinding surface. In addition, we want to clean in between teeth and also gently reach under the gums to remove plaque and plaque-causing bacteria buildup.
With an electric toothbrush, especially with the rotary or Sonic type, this problem is greatly alleviated if the toothbrush head is applied to the teeth surfaces, in between them, and gently on the gum for an adequate amount of time.
The scrubbing effect of an electric toothbrush is far superior to that which can be achieved by hand and can reach up to 40,000 brush strokes a minute. Compare this with the approximate 300 strokes per minute with hand brushing, and you get an idea of how much more effective an electric toothbrush can be in cleaning your teeth. To make them even more effective, some electric toothbrushes have added a pulsating action to the oscillating movements.
Another type of electric toobrush is the Sonic toothbrush: it uses powerful sonic waves to create turbulent fluid dynamics near the tips of its bristles. These waves dislodge plaque that isn’t normally reachable by a manual brush. Studies reveal that the Sonicare toothbrush is able to obtain an impressive 76% plaque reduction in 15 seconds when held at 3 mm from the test surface (no direct contact between the brush and the surface).
Are You Ready For One?
If you are a well-disclipined person, know the proper toothbrushing technique, and brush regularly for the full 2 minutes, an electric toothbrush may not be an essential item for you.
Most of us, however, do believe there are more important things to do in life than to brush our teeth. An electric toothbrush makes toothbrushing more palatable — even fun — and, more importantly, help to prolong the health of our teeth and gums.
Types of Electric Toothbrushes
We recommend using a very good electric toothbrush with changeable heads and rechargeable battery.
In considering which brand to purchase, compare the cost of the repleacable brush heads, which would be the main cost factor in the long run. These would need to be changed about every 3 to 6 months.
A rechargeable unit saves on batteries.
A family can share one electric toothbrush: different colors are used to identify each family member’s brush head.
Consider getting an electric toothbrush with a countdown timer so you can make the most of your investment: after all, brushing too little is the same problem, whether manually or using an electric toothbrush.
Is It Safe?
Studies show that electric toothbrushing has no detrimental effect on the teeth enamel, dental crowns or white dental fillings. They also show that on average, the pressure applied in manual brushing is almost twice than that for electric brushing.
If you have particularly sensitive gums, then you might want to consider purchasing one of the more fancy electric toothbrushes that come with pressure sensors that automatically stop the brushing if you apply too much force to your teeth and gums.
With an electric toothbrush, brushing your teeth may just become a whole new experience. And like many of those who have tried it can attest to, you may never want to go back to manual brushing again.
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