While electric toothbrushes may seem to be a recent invention, they’ve been around for several decades. These battery-powered alternatives to manual toothbrushes came about in the 1960s. Today, they come in a variety of options. They often feature oscillating or sonic bristles. Many are simple, containing a two-minute timer. Others can give you warnings if you press too hard or even connect with your smartphone to track your brushing progress.
The thing about electric toothbrushes is that they cost more than manual ones, which can cause many people to wonder if they’re worth the investment. Dr. Hansen, your Las Vegas orthodontist, weighs in.
Are Electric Toothbrushes Better? What the Science Says
Over the years, several studies have looked at the effectiveness of electric toothbrushes. A 2014 analysis of 56 clinical trials found that, compared to manual toothbrush users, electric toothbrush users had an 11% reduction in plaque and a 6% reduction in gingivitis after three months. Speaking of gingivitis, a study from 2019 also found electric toothbrushes were better at protecting gum health.
Why Electric Toothbrushes Are Worth It
As mentioned above, the studies generally show that electric toothbrushes are better at removing plaque buildup from your teeth. Less plaque can help reduce your risk of developing cavities and gum disease.
That’s not the only reason why electric toothbrushes may be a more effective oral care tool. Here are a few others:
They’re Better for Those With Limited Mobility
Using a manual toothbrush can be more challenging for individuals with arthritis, carpal tunnel, or another condition that affects mobility. An electric toothbrush does a lot of the movement for you, which can make brushing easier.
They’re More Fun for Kids
If you have young children, you know how difficult it can be to get them to brush their teeth. An electric toothbrush can make the task more fun for them. Ones that have built-in timers also ensure that they brush for a full two minutes each time.
They May Be More Helpful for Those With Braces
Extra diligence is essential. When you have orthodontic appliances such as braces, there are more places for bacteria to hide and plaque to grow. An electric toothbrush may make brushing with braces easier.
Regardless of what type of toothbrush you use, proper brushing is essential. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to ensure you get just below the gum line.
- Brush for a full two minutes at least twice a day.
- Don’t use too much pressure. Pressing down too hard can erode your enamel and harm your gums.
- Replace your toothbrush (or toothbrush head) every three to four months or when you notice the bristles becoming frayed.
So, Should You Invest in an Electric Toothbrush?
Electric toothbrushes do have their benefits. Ultimately, however, the decision is yours. If you do decide to use an electric one, choose one that carries the ADA seal. You can also speak with your general dentist (or your Las Vegas orthodontist) for some recommendations. Armed with the best tools, you can better protect your oral health, keeping your smile healthy and beautiful.