Is an electric toothbrush preferred over a manual one? We think it is.
Nearly all dental experts agree that optimal oral health requires brushing your teeth thoroughly twice a day. Our office takes this recommendation further and urges our patients to clean their teeth with a sonic toothbrush. We especially like Philips Sonicare products.
It may surprise you to know that manual toothbrushes with nylon bristles were not sold until 1939. The first electric toothbrush wasn’t produced until 1954, and sonic toothbrushes, with ultra-high vibrations, came on the market in the 1980s. Today, manual toothbrushes are little changed, but sonic, and now ultrasonic toothbrushes, have added power and features that help keep your teeth and gums even healthier.
Here are some of the reasons we recommend an electric or sonic toothbrush:
Electric brushes reduce plaque: All brushing helps keep plaque bacteria at bay, but several studies show electric toothbrushes, which reach deeper between the teeth and below the gum line, do so more effectively. The National Institutes of Health found that, compared to a manual toothbrush, using a Sonicare significantly reduced plaque, gingivitis and bleeding. A Consumer Reports review found a 21% reduction in plaque with electric toothbrushes.
Electric toothbrushes can reverse the effects of gum disease: In a separate study, NIH reported an 11% reduction in gum disease after three months of using an electric toothbrush. Maintaining healthy gums is a critical component of dental care. Gum disease, or gingivitis, can lead to tooth loss, and the bacteria that cause gum disease may be associated with heart disease.
Sonic toothbrushes help eliminate stains: Did you know your morning coffee can darken your teeth? The quick vibrations of a Sonicare toothbrush will remove stains faster and more completely than manual brushes. In fact, the company guarantees it.
People who use electric toothbrushes with timers usually brush longer: Dentists recommend brushing for two minutes, morning and night. However, two minutes can seem longer than it is, and often people stop brushing too soon. Many electric toothbrushes come with timers, making it easy to reach the two-minute mark. Some even beep to signal a change from one part of the mouth to another to ensure you’re not skipping spaces.
Kids may brush more with an electric toothbrush: They like the sound of the motor, and many brushes for kids come with cool designs. Electric toothbrushes make brushing fun.
Electric toothbrushes may be helpful for people with arthritis: Since electric toothbrushes move themselves, people with any hand impairment or limited dexterity may find it easier to fully clean their teeth with an electric brush.
Electric toothbrushes can be better for braces. The head of an electric toothbrush is smaller, making it possible to clean more easily around wires and brackets.
As with all toothbrushes, electric brushes require some care. They should be rinsed after each use, stored vertically so they can air dry, and be replaced every three months. Choose soft bristles to protect your enamel.
We appreciate that some patients will question the extra cost of a Sonicare machine, but in the long run it can pay for itself – you’ll have a cleaner, healthier mouth that will require less dental treatment.
The next time you want to change your toothbrush, we urge you to consider a Sonicare.