As electric toothbrushes rise in popularity, many people question whether electric toothbrushes are better than manual toothbrushes. According to the American Dental Association, manual toothbrushes can be just as effective as electric toothbrushes, assuming you brush with proper technique every time.
However, most people aren’t quite as careful with their toothbrushing as they should be, which can have an impact on infant oral care all the way through adulthood. In that case, electric toothbrushes can offer some advantages over traditional toothbrushes, including the following:
Ensure a Full Two Minutes of Brushing
Every time you brush your teeth, you should be brushing for a full two minutes. However, people who are impatient or simply in a rush may cut off their toothbrushing well before that two minute mark. Others may think that they’re brushing for two minutes, but their mental timing is inaccurate. Electric toothbrushes are better than manual toothbrushes for ensuring that you brush long enough. Most electric toothbrushes automatically stay on for two minutes, so you know that you haven’t finished brushing until the toothbrush shuts itself off.
Takes the Thinking Out of Brushing
Toothbrushing shouldn’t be something you just rush through, but it tends to be performed like any other mindless task. Chances are, you aren’t carefully making sure that you brush each tooth thoroughly. If you are someone who brushes their teeth very diligently, then manual toothbrushes are perfectly adequate. However, if you’re someone who isn’t giving their toothbrushing 100% effort, electric toothbrushes are better options.
With an electric toothbrush, you can let your brushing become a mindless activity. The rotating brush head will take all of the hard work out of toothbrushing. All you need to do is move the brush back and forth to make sure that you get each tooth. Some electric toothbrushes also feature pressure sensors, which will indicate if you’re brushing too hard in a way that can actually damage gums.
More Effective for Fighting Plaque and Gingivitis
After analyzing 56 studies of electric versus manual toothbrushes, researchers found that electric toothbrushes are better than manual toothbrushes in a few areas. Electric toothbrushes removed 21% more plaque from teeth compared with manual toothbrushes. Electric models were also 11% more effective at reducing gingivitis than manual toothbrushes.
Patients with gingivitis should definitely consider making the switch to electric toothbrushes to help improve their condition. For other patients, the choice remains up to you. While electric toothbrushes remove more plaque than manual toothbrushes, it may not be enough to have any significant impact on your oral health.
Many patients do think that their mouth feels cleaner after using an electric brush. Electric toothbrushes average 30,000 strokes per minute compared with 200 strokes per minute for manual brushes. If you often feel like your mouth doesn’t feel clean enough after manual brushing, switching to an electric brush may solve that.
Motivate Reluctant Brushers
Children who are just learning how to brush their teeth may try to avoid this new chore, but it is imperative to help prevent cavities and other dental issues that could lead to more serious procedures, such as composite fillings and pulpal therapy. How do you get reluctant brushers to brush twice a day? Electric toothbrushes may be able to help. Many children find the new gadget much more exciting than a plain manual toothbrush; it can feel more like a game. If you’re finding that your child is resistant to brushing with a manual brush, trying an electric toothbrush may be worthwhile. However, some children find the vibrations too intense for their sensitive gums, so be sure to monitor your child’s reactions.
Electric toothbrushes come in a variety of kid-friendly designs. You can find models that are branded with their favorite character with handles in several fun shapes. Children are more likely to brush their teeth if they have a toothbrush that they really love. You can also find electric toothbrushes with other encouraging features like lights and sounds that can really make toothbrushing feel more like playtime.
Ideal for Children with Braces
Proper brushing is important for everyone, but it’s especially important for children with braces. Without adequate toothbrushing, your child could be in for an unpleasant surprise when their braces are removed. Their teeth may have white boxes on them in the places where the brackets were. Since these can generally only be corrected with a crown, it’s best to make sure that your child is brushing thoroughly to avoid them. Electric toothbrushes are better for thoroughly brushing around orthodontics than manual toothbrushes.
Perfect for Patients with Limited Mobility
Electric toothbrushes are better options for people with limited mobility; this can apply to children with still-developing motor skills or elderly people with arthritis or other mobility-impairing conditions. Even if the person can’t move their hands quite like they need to, the electric toothbrush can help make up for their limited range of motion.
More Expensive Than Manual Brushes
For all their apparent benefits, there is a significant price tag attached to many electric toothbrushes. While you can find an electric toothbrush for under $50, high-end models can cost several hundred dollars. That’s also just the initial cost of the toothbrush; like manual toothbrushes, you should replace your electric toothbrush head every 3 months.
Manual toothbrushes are much more affordable than electric toothbrushes, and that is a factor worth considering. If your child constantly looses their toothbrush, it may not be a good idea to invest in an electric toothbrush until they’re older.
Schedule Your Child’s Check-up
Ultimately, the benefits of any toothbrush lie in how you use it. If your dentist consistently tells you that you have healthy teeth and gums, making the switch to an electric toothbrush may not be something you need to consider. However, if you’re concerned that your brushing habits or those of your child aren’t as good as they should be, an electric toothbrush may be a better option for you.
If you’re considering getting an electric toothbrush for your child, the staff at Children’s Dentistry will be happy to answer any questions. Contact us today to schedule your child’s dental check-up at any of our Greater Las Vegas region offices.