Your Guide to Choosing the Best Electric Toothbrush

From childhood, we’ve been taught the importance of brushing our teeth twice daily to maintain oral hygiene. Yet, despite our efforts, many still struggle with cavities and gum disease. Is it due to our choice of toothbrush, brushing technique, or lack of awareness about proper oral care? Regardless of the reason, achieving clean, bacteria-free teeth begins with effective brushing and interdental cleaning. It’s our primary defence against dental issues, highlighting the importance of selecting the right toothbrush and mastering proper cleaning techniques. With the growing awareness of oral health and the increasing popularity of electric toothbrushes, choosing the ideal one can be daunting. Join us as we explore the difference between manual and electric toothbrushes and discover how to select the best option for your oral care needs.

Are Electric Toothbrushes Better than Manual Ones?

The only difference between a manual and an electric toothbrush is that you have to use your hand to brush and scrub your teeth with a manual one. Whereas an electric toothbrush has a vibrating or oscillating head that spins from side to side, and you just have to hold it in place. This allows for easier cleaning in which you don’t have to move your hand to brush your teeth, providing additional assistance to people during use. 

This difference does not make one better than the other. It’s the technique that matters when brushing, whether with an electric or a manual toothbrush. You can get the method wrong with both, not benefitting from either one, or you can do it right and protect your teeth with proper cleaning. Just because you’re using an electric toothbrush doesn’t mean your teeth will automatically be cleaner. However, recent research suggests that oscillating/spinning electric toothbrushes are better at plaque removal than manual toothbrushes because of the sideways motion that allows them to reach all tooth surfaces. 

Correct Brushing Technique 

The primary cause of dental problems is plaque, a sticky, invisible film that forms on the tooth surface because of the sugars found in food and drinks. When the sugar is left on the tooth surface, bacteria in the plaque build up, producing acids that attack the tooth enamel and lead to dental caries or tooth decay. Plaque is a natural occurrence which can be managed effectively with brushing and interdental cleaning. However, when not removed, it can harden into tartar or dental calculus, which can only be removed with professional dental cleaning. If plaque or tartar penetrates the gumline, it can lead to gum disease and cavities. That’s why dentists recommend 2 minutes of brushing daily and cleaning between the teeth with interdental brushes and flossing. 

Let’s get back to the basics and learn how to brush our teeth effectively to protect them from plaque build-up:

  • Always use a soft-bristled toothbrush, whether electric or manual, as soft bristles are gentle on your gums and tooth enamel and reduce the risk of irritation and damage.
  • Hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle, directing the bristles towards the gumline to effectively clean along the margin where plaque accumulates.
  • Avoid excessive force, which can lead to gum recession and enamel erosion. Instead, use gentle, circular motions to clean your teeth’ front, back, and chewing surfaces.
  • Spend at least two minutes brushing your teeth to ensure thorough cleaning. You can divide your mouth into quadrants and spend 30 seconds on each section.
  • Plaque and bacteria can also accumulate on your tongue, so gently brush your tongue’s surface to remove any debris and bacteria.
  • Rinse your toothbrush under running water to remove any remaining toothpaste and debris. Store it upright to allow it to air dry between uses.
  • Replace your toothbrush or head in case of an electric toothbrush every three to four months or sooner if the bristles become frayed or worn. A worn toothbrush is less effective for cleaning teeth.

The technique for brushing with an electric toothbrush differs slightly from that of a manual toothbrush:

  • Choose soft or extra-soft bristles, which should typically be in the sensitive range in most brands of electric toothbrushes.
  • It is easier to get a good clean because the spinning head does more of the brushing for you. All you need to do is leave the head on each tooth for about two to three seconds and then move on to the next. Leave it there for two to three seconds, then move on to the next two. Follow this till you have cleaned all your teeth. 

Benefits of Using an Electric Toothbrush

Electric toothbrushes offer many benefits and can make a great addition to your oral care routine. They include:

More Effective Plaque Removal

Electric toothbrushes have rotating or oscillating brush heads or vibrating ones. Research indicates that oscillating or rotating brushes provide better cleaning because of the back-and-forth or circular motion and can reach areas along the gumline more effectively than manual brushing for a more thorough cleaning. This can remove plaque and bacteria more effectively than manual brushing alone, leading to reduced plaque buildup and risk of cavities and gum disease. 

Ease of Use

Electric toothbrushes require less manual effort than manual toothbrushes, making them particularly beneficial for people with limited dexterity or mobility issues, such as children, seniors, or those with arthritis. The larger, wider handle provides a better grip than the smaller, thinner one of manual toothbrushes, and you only have to hold the brush in place so it can clean your teeth. 

Gentle on Gums

Most electric toothbrushes have pressure sensors which signal if you’re brushing too hard. This protects your tooth enamel and gums against abrasion and injury and is particularly helpful for people with gum recession or gum disease, as an electric toothbrush provides a gentle yet thorough cleaning of the tooth surface and the gumline. It helps you control rough or hard movements with the pressure sensor, letting you know when the pressure or force is excessive. 

Additional Features

Electric toothbrushes include timers, pressure sensors, and reminders to replace brush heads. This ensures you brush your teeth for 2 minutes, helping you maintain consistent oral hygiene habits and better oral health.

Your Guide to Buying The Best Electric Toothbrush

Buying the right or best electric toothbrush doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated. More important is mastering the brushing technique to get the most benefit from your toothbrush. 

Here are a few things to consider when buying an electric toothbrush:

  • Buy the extra-soft bristle, which would be the sensitive range in most electric toothbrush brands. This is gentle on your teeth and gums and prevents abrasion or wearing of the tooth enamel.
  • More expensive doesn’t mean better. You only need a pressure sensor and an oscillating or rotating head to help you recognise the correct pressure level during brushing. 
  • Check out features like battery-operated or chargeable ones. If you are a frequent traveller, a battery-powered toothbrush may work better. On the other hand, chargeable models can help save on the extra battery replacement costs and are more convenient. Also, you get a consistent spinning strength with chargeable models. When they are about to die in the non-chargeable models, the spinning strength is affected until you replace them. 
  • Brush heads must be replaced every couple of months. Look for models with easy availability of brush heads or chargers to avoid the hassle of running around looking for replacements.
  • Too many features like Bluetooth connectivity and different cleaning modes don’t offer many benefits when keeping your teeth clean. The most important is the oscillating motion to reach all areas of the tooth surface, pressure sensors and the 2-minute timer. So, do not get distracted with fancy features. The objective is to keep your teeth and gums clean and healthy, which is easily doable with these main features. 

Lastly, don’t forget to get guidance from your dentist, keep up with your regular dental checkup appointments, do routine cleaning, and get tips on using tools like electric toothbrushes. Dental tools can’t help you if you are not using them correctly. An electric toothbrush is a great tool but doesn’t guarantee clean and healthy teeth. It’s just something that makes the cleaning easier. We usually recommend the Oral B oscillating range for a thorough clean. 

Ready to Elevate Your Oral Care Routine?

Consistent oral hygiene practices and preventive care build the foundation of a healthy smile for life. At Whitehorse Dental, we believe there’s no substitute for the strength of your natural teeth. That’s why we promote patient education and awareness, helping patients improve their oral health with proactive care and guidance. Whether using a manual toothbrush or an electric one, we aim to teach you the proper techniques, recommending targeted treatments, if required, to help you improve and maintain your oral health. Get in touch with our Blackburn Dentists for more guidance on your dental health or any other dental treatment you may need.