Electric toothbrush GOOD or BAD

We have discussed in the past that choosing a toothbrush can be a daunting task, given that there is so much confusion around the many options available.  But what about electric toothbrushes?

In practice I am always asking if patients use an electrical or manual toothbrush.  If I had to guess I would say that 20-30% of people in my practice choose an electric toothbrush over a manual brush.  I think that it is great that people are trying to find alternative means to keep their teeth cleaner, but what does our Team say to patients in our practice about electric verses manual brushing?  The answer is never simple because each person is different but, I believe we can lay out some simple things to remember.

You should know that only a few electric toothbrush brands have been studied correctly, and that those studies did reveal some interesting results.  Sonicare by Phillips, Oral B 3D by Crest and Rotadent are the only electric brushes that have been significantly studied.  These results show that with proper instruction these electric toothbrushes can easily match good manual brushing.

The question should be, is it better?  The answer is mixed.  Sonicare and Oral B, two toothbrushes that have been around for more than a decade, have been shown to reduce staining and are equal to that of a manual brush as far as healthy gums.  Rotadent, a toothbrush you may not have heard of because it can only be purchased in the dental office, can also give you the same effect as a manual brush – but if used properly, can also eliminate the need for flossing!  So are these better than manual brushing?  The best answer is probably equal.  But in my Powell, TN practice, I have seen some interesting things happen when people choose an electric toothbrush.

As Americans we should be brushing for 2 minutes, when in reality the average person only brushes for 30 seconds.  Also, patients choose brushes that are too hard and too large.  Sonicare and Rotadent have made it easy.  They limit your choices to soft bristle brushes that will not harm teeth and gums and they keep the size to a minimum, and to boot they include 2 minute timers built right into the brush.  With these features we have found that these alone attribute to better oral hygiene in as little as one to two months.  Recently I saw a patient for his six month check-up and I noticed that his cleaning did not take as long as in times past.  What was the difference?  He had reduced staining and build-up by using an electric toothbrush.  This was great news!

In my dental practice my team and I have used or tried just about anything.  We have settled on the Sonicare for most individuals because of its ease of use and gentleness to the gum tissue.  In some special cases we recommend Rotadent.  I would recommend Rotadent all the time but it is complex to use and in the case of most this isn’t the right fit.  Currently, I cannot recommend the Oral B 3D.  Oral B has done a great job over the years but recently they have confused the market with many different attachments to their brushes and we believe that the brush can be too aggressive on the gum tissue.

We want to help you choose the best method for health teeth and gums.  You may just need to step up manual brushing techniques or you may benefit from one of these electric toothbrushes.  Please call us to schedule a consultation or your next regular visit.  We look forward to helping you!

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