Why Use an Electric Toothbrush?

posted by Dr. Beau Beecher, DDS on 10/19/2023 in General

woman brushing teeth in the mirror with electric toothbrush

Looking for a better way to brush your teeth? It might be time to invest in an electric toothbrush. This device is hailed for its effective brushing results, and commonly recommended by dental professionals. Find out more about electric toothbrushes and why it might be time for you to get one.

What is an Electric Toothbrush and How Does It Work?

Unlike a manual toothbrush where you have to move the toothbrush back and forth to clean your teeth, the head of an electric toothbrush rotates or vibrates to create the brushing motion. You simply hold the brush head at a 45-degree angle and guide it gently along your teeth. Be careful about applying too much pressure as it can damage your teeth or gums. Some electric toothbrushes come with a pressure warning so you don’t accidentally brush too hard. 

There are two types of electric toothbrushes: ​​rotating-oscillating or sonic. The rotating-oscillating electric toothbrush — also defined as an oscillating-rotary electric toothbrush — is designed with a round brush head. This circular brush head, which covers most of your tooth, spins to break up plaque and remove food particles.

In comparison, the sonic electric toothbrush mimics a manual toothbrush head shape. The sonic electric toothbrush provides an effective clean by emitting high-frequency vibrations. At over 30,000 strokes per minute, these vibrating bristles easily destroy the plaque that develops on your teeth. The swift back and forth action of the bristles also helps remove the bacteria that can grow between your teeth.

How to Clean Your Electric Toothbrush

Cleaning an electric toothbrush is even easier than using it. Some electric toothbrushes will come with a compact UV cleaning and charging station that can be placed on your bathroom sink. Once you are done brushing your teeth, separate the toothbrush head from the body, rinse it under warm water, wipe the top and bottom, and place it into the UV cleaning chamber to be sanitized. 

If your electric toothbrush doesn’t come with a sanitizing station, you can clean your brush head by soaking it in mouthwash for three to five minutes. Once it has been soaked, wipe the toothbrush head, rinse with warm water, reattach it back to the body, and stand it upright to air dry.  

Regardless of how you clean your toothbrush head, it needs to be changed every three to four months. Some electric toothbrushes are designed with a reminder so you know when it's time for a replacement. 

5 Benefits of Using an Electric Toothbrush

Now that you understand the basics of electric toothbrushes, learn the benefits of using one. 

  1. Get a more effective clean. With its rotating action or sonic vibrations, an electric toothbrush can more easily remove leftover food particles and plaque from your teeth than a manual toothbrush. 
  2. Brush smarter not harder. With a manual toothbrush you're doing all the work. But with an electric toothbrush, you simply hold the brush to your teeth while it does a thorough job. An electric toothbrush may offer relief to arthritis sufferers who find it difficult to use a manual toothbrush. It can also easily reach places in your mouth that can be hard for your manual toothbrush to access. 
  3. Save time. An electric toothbrush’s built-in timer makes it easier to spend the right  amount of time brushing each quadrant of your mouth. This means you're not speeding through or spending too much time brushing your teeth. 
  4. Prevent cavities, gingivitis, and gum disease. With little to no food particles left behind in your mouth after brushing with an electric toothbrush, your chances of getting a cavity or experiencing gingivitis or gum disease goes down. Don’t forget to floss and use mouthwash after brushing your teeth to help remove any remaining particles from your mouth. With an electric toothbrush and other good oral hygiene practices, you can limit dental issues.  
  5. Creates a more fun brushing experience for kids. Because electric toothbrushes simplify the cleaning process, it’s easier for kids to use. Some electric toothbrushes come with an interactive app that engages and motivates kids to be consistent with brushing their teeth. An electric toothbrush can be the first step to helping your kids establish healthy dental habits.

Which is the Best Electric Toothbrush?

All electric toothbrushes are very effective at cleaning your teeth. The best electric toothbrush will vary for every individual and will depend on the type of features you want. Some people like rotating bristles, while others prefer sonic. Popular brands like Philips Sonicare and Oral-B each have their own line of electric toothbrushes. Your dentist can also provide recommendations for the best electric toothbrush. 

Learn More About Electric Toothbrushes From a Kimball & Beecher Dentist

Are you wondering if an electric toothbrush is right for you? Make an appointment with any of our skilled Kimball & Beecher dentists, and they'll advise you on everything from how to brush effectively to their recommendations on the best electric toothbrush for your needs.

About The Author

Dr. Beau Beecher, DDS

Dr. Beau Beecher is the founder and CEO, of Kimball and Beecher Family Dentistry. Kimball and Beecher Family Dentistry is known for being a patient-centered practice that puts comfort and convenience first. Over 50,000 patients in Iowa cities travel miles to experience the high level of ... read more

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