Why Choose an Electric Toothbrush?

By: Stacey Wiltermood, Dental Hygienist
As a dental hygienist, I see the benefits of electric toothbrushes every day. I can typically tell when one of my patients uses an electric toothbrush versus a manual brush just by looking in their mouth.

I commonly see patients struggle removing plaque with a manual toothbrush alone. Why does this matter? Bacterial plaque removal is important, as gum inflammation caused by plaque can lead to gingivitis and periodontal disease, which are linked to even more serious conditions like heart attacks, dementia and strokes.

I have described some excellent benefits of electric toothbrushes, below, and we hope you will consider switching to electric to benefit your own health.

Electric Toothbrushes have Helpful Features
An electric brush takes the hard work out of brushing. It is both efficient and surprisingly appealing to use. My favorite feature is that they have two-minute timers built-in. After you push the start button, it will automatically shut off after two minutes of use. The majority of people do not brush for the recommended 2 minutes, so this is incredibly helpful!

Electric Toothbrushing is More Efficient
Electric toothbrushes brush at 30,000 strokes per minute, whereas a manual brush only brushes at 200 strokes per minute. This provides much more efficiency for plaque removal. Even with the power these brushes provide, they are still very gentle on the gums.

Electric Toothbrushing is Better for the Gums
A lot of people brush their teeth way too hard with a manual brush and tend to “scrub” back and forth. The majority of the electric brushes come with pressure indicators. The indicator on the brush will light-up to let the patients know if they are brushing too hard. Too much pressure while brushing can cause sensitivity and possibly damage the gums. I see a lot of patients that have recession and sensitivity from improper brushing and gingivitis.

Electric Toothbrushes are Especially Beneficial for Children
Electric toothbrushes are also an excellent choice for children, including ones with braces! Most children are rarely eager to brush their teeth and struggle with brushing a for the full two minutes. The thick handle, designs, music, apps, and timers tend to make children love electric toothbrushes. Children with braces often struggle cleaning around all of the metal brackets and wires in their mouth. The plaque can build up around these brackets over time and can permanently scar the tooth, leaving white marks behind when the brackets are removed.

Electric Toothbrushes are Helpful for Those with Limited Dexterity
People who struggle with using their hands or suffer from arthritis can also benefit from electric toothbrushes. Elderly persons often aren’t able to move their hands the way they need to with a manual brush. This results in heavy plaque being left behind and an increased decay rate. An electric brush does most of the work for them and makes brushing much more effective.

One of our jobs as hygienists is to help patients reduce inflammation, remove plaque and reduce hypersensitivity. I recommend electric toothbrushes to the majority of the patients I see. It is so rewarding to see what a difference these brushes have made for my patients day-in and day-out. I would say 95% of my patients who have switched to an electric toothbrush say they would never go back to a manual toothbrush and wished they had tried it sooner! For many people, electric toothbrushes are the best option. They make brushing easier and my patients love how clean their mouths feel afterwards!

[Edited by: Carly Peterschmidt, DMD]