One of the most common questions patients ask me is, “are electric toothbrushes really better for my teeth?” My answer is always YES. I find myself recommending electric toothbrushes on a daily basis and am always surprised by how many people have never tried one. For some, it may be overwhelming to pick out the “best” brand. Others are deterred by the price tag of electric brushes when compared to manual brushes. However you can not deny the research that has proven electric toothbrushes to be superior.
As a dental professional, there are two major factors I look for when recommending any product to a patient. First, is this product approved by the American Dental Association (ADA)? And second, is there reputable research on this product? These things should be considered when comparing “name brand” products to “off brand” products. I trust name brand products because typically that company has achieved the ADA seal of approval, and spent lots of time and money conducting research to prove their product effective.
I like to divide the types of toothbrushes into three categories: manual, battery powered, and electric. When I say “electric toothbrush,” I’m referring to an electric toothbrush that is rechargeable. A battery powered brush is not considered an electric toothbrush by my standards.
I have to admit, battery powered brushes have been stepping up their game in recent years. Previously, you could not change the brush heads on a battery powered brush which limits their life span. Nowadays I am finding more brands offering replacement brush heads, and sometimes even a refill subscription service. Despite having the ability to change out your brush heads, battery powered brushes are simply not as powerful as an electric toothbrush. Is a battery powered brush better than a manual? Sure. But often times a battery powered brush is simply just vibrating, where an electric brush has more advanced technology.
So what makes these electric toothbrushes so advanced? There are two brushes that I recommend most often to my patients: the Philips Sonicare and the Oral B Pro. The Philips brushes deliver some 60,000 brush strokes per minute, not to mention it functions to direct bubbles in between the teeth and below the gumline. This will leave your teeth cleaner and your gums healthier in the recommended two minute brush time. The Oral B pro has a circular brush head that oscillates to clean around the circumference of each tooth. It delivers around 40,000 brush strokes per minute, and sweeps away the plaque along the gumline. One of my favorite features of both of these brushes is the two minute timer. Most people are really only brushing for about 30 seconds, so the timer helps you brush for the recommended time!
If there is one thing to take away from all this, it’s that electric toothbrushes are definitely more efficient and worth the investment. I have seen firsthand the improvements in my patients’ oral health after switching to an electric toothbrush. Less tartar and plaque buildup, less bleeding, and happier patients! Who wouldn’t want less scraping during their dental cleanings?