Electric Toothbrush vs Manual Toothbrush

An electric toothbrush cleans teeth and gums much better than a manual toothbrush, according to the findings of severalElectric Toothbrush studies.

There are numerous studies which demonstrate the efficacy of using an electric toothbrush as opposed to a manual toothbrush. The bottom line for good oral hygiene is the effective removal of dental plaque.

What is dental plaque?

Dental plaque is a soft white sticky substance which forms and sticks to the surface of teeth. It is made of food debris and high amounts of bacteria and a medium that they produce to help them retain on the teeth.

It is common knowledge and proven science that dental plaque is the major reason for tooth decay and adult gum disease.

So, it is essential that the plaque is removed daily, and not allowed to build up on the teeth.

A study (undertaken in 2019) which took 11 years to complete found that people who use an electric toothbrush have healthier gums, less tooth decay and as a result will keep their teeth for longer, compared with those who use a manual toothbrush.1

This study has confirmed what many earlier studies have suggested that electric toothbrushes are better for oral health.

Why are electric toothbrushes better?

Well, in a nutshell they are really effective at removing plaque.

However, electrical toothbrushes are not all in the same boat.

There are those with heads that rotate in both directions, or ‘oscillating’ heads; and there are those that vibrate left and right, forward and backward.

“As the science behind the advantages of electric toothbrushes is mounting, the decision whether to invest in one becomes much easier.”

In my experience, I have found certain electric toothbrushes uncomfortable, they can cause some giddiness in some patients, as the buzzing continues in the head; but that differs from person to person.

I have also seen patients who use electric toothbrushes, yet their oral hygiene is below standard; and when reverting to manual brushes, their oral hygiene improves. So, it is about the mindset and the method used.

Does an Electric Toothbrush Damage Teeth?

If used correctly, then they should not damage the teeth. Bearing this in mind, any toothbrush: electric or manual may damage the tooth if not use properly.

That is why it is important to see your dentist regularly and to be instructed on how to clean the teeth adequately.

Do Electric Toothbrushes Remove More Plaque?

The short answer is yes. One of the primary reasons that an electric toothbrush does this is due to the consistent power delivery.

Unlike a manual toothbrush the electric toothbrush continues to deliver the same power from the second it is switched on to the moment it is switched off.

A manual toothbrush is controlled by a human arm, is less likely to keep up with that consistent power.

When something is consistent and uniform you often see improvement.

Another reason is that owning an electric toothbrush is about the mindset one has to his or her teeth. Because if you are investing in an electric toothbrush, then it is quite likely that you are concerned about your teeth and you want to give them your best.

A third reason relates to certain types of toothbrush which deliver varying motion patterns that disrupt dental plaque much more effectively than a manual toothbrush.

If you follow a good oral health routine then whether you use a manual or electric toothbrush, you’ll have a healthy mouth either way. However, if you are serious about improved oral hygiene, then you need to have the right mindset and that usually leads to you to an electric toothbrush.

REFERENCES

  1. 1. ORAL HEALTH FOUNDATION (2018) ‘National Smile Month Nationwide Survey 2019’, Atomik Research, May 2019, Sample 2,003.
  2. 2. Pitchika, V, Pink, C, Völzke, H, Welk, A, Kocher, T, Holtfreter, B. Long‐term impact of powered toothbrush on oral health: 11‐year cohort study. J Clin Periodontol. 2019; 46: 713– 722. https://doi.org/10.1111/jcpe.13126

Interdental Brushes

Want to know how important it is to choose interdental brushes in addition to / or instead of floss?

Maintaining a proper brushing routine is essential, and making sure you are brushing correctly and thoroughly is crucial to your oral hygiene. Well! Dentists also suggest other treatment options to keep your teeth clean, including regular check-ups and treatment options like a ‘scale and polish’.

However, there is a recommended process that can help keep your teeth clean and maintain oral health between dental visits and reduce the need for cleaning sessions at the check-ups; and that is interdental brushing.

Compared to brushing with a regular brush that removes around 60% of dental plaque, an interdental brush is a powerful tool that helps increase the cleaning up to 95%. You should use it every day – as part of your daily oral hygiene routine – to prevent bad breath, tooth decay and gingivitis.

Types of Interdental Brushes

There are two types of interdental brushes:

The L-shaped interdental brush makes a right angle between the head, and the handle helps clean the molars.

The I-shaped interdental brush comes in a stick-like straight shape (as the letter I), which helps clean the front teeth.

An interdental brush has a small head with bristles seized on by wire, which is enough to reach the spaces from easy to hard. There is a descending order of the arranged hairs with numerous sizes for the best selection.

These brushes usually have unique shapes or short handles for a secure grip and are intended to be moved gently between teeth. You can use interdental brushes many times and clean them as your regular toothbrush. Replace them when the brush tip is bent or hair is worn.

Best for Most People

Most people can use interdental brushes and benefit from them. Moreso, are the following categories:

People with braces: Usually, flossing is impossible for people with fixed braces because it can get stuck in the archwire and bracket. However, the interdental brushes are used to remove plaque and food from around the edges of the brackets and between teeth.

People having limited mobility: Individuals with limited mobility or those suffering from joint issues can find these brushes easy to use, mainly while cleaning the front teeth. The brushes help clean the spaces in between gums, implants, bridges, and dentures.

Individuals who do not like flossing: Numerous people do not prefer flossing because they find it demanding or take them longer to pass the thread through every tooth gap, particularly the gaps between molars. Therefore, interdental brushes can be a better option. Besides, it is easy to use as well!

Individuals with spaces between teeth: If you have significant gaps between teeth, your teeth surfaces are not even, or your gums are receding, it isn’t easy to clean properly with floss. In such cases, interdental brushes are highly effective in removing food debris and plaque.

Thorough Oral Hygiene

Dental floss, toothpaste and toothbrushes are tools that help support regular oral hygiene. But is it enough to ensure complete oral hygiene?

Well! Floss is used for cleaning inbetween the teeth, and is effective for tight contacts. However, it can easily damage your gums, if you do not follow the correct method. Be careful of pushing down the floss hard on the gums, as this would push plaque under the gums, which will in turn swell up and be uncomfortable for at least one day.

Usually, flossing is effective in cleaning the front teeth. There are different shapes and positions of the back teeth, making it demanding to clean with floss.

The interdental brushes are designed to push through the interdental gap to remove food debris and plaque; and prevent gum disease or decay. The brush head is shaped to allow quick access between grooves and gaps to clean correctly, without any damage.

Please Note

Note the following if you are going to use the interdental brush for the first time:

  • Brush your teeth with a regular toothbrush and toothpaste.
  • Choose the appropriate interdental brush size: use the smallest size if you are a beginner.
  • Point this brush at the space between teeth, keeping its handle perpendicular to the teeth, brushing gently to evade pressing on the gums and teeth.
  • Hold its handle, push the head gently through the gap to the other side, and then draw out slowly.
  • Don’t forget to clean the brush and keep it in a dry place.

As a beginner, your gums can hurt and bleed when you try to remove plaque on the teeth. It can be because you applied pressure or choose the wrong size. With time, the bleeding will reduce, and you will feel an improvement in the gums’ health.

The Verdict

Together with regular toothbrushing, toothpaste and mouthwash, the interdental brush is an ideal tool that helps bring complete oral cleaning. Now, these brushes are sold in various places. You can buy them online or at your local supermarket. However, you may wish to consult your dentist or dental hygienist first on the most appropriate type and size specific for your teeth.