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Manual vs Electric Toothbrush

Manual Toothbrushes vs. Electric Power Toothbrushes: Which is Better for Oral Hygiene?

Patients of all ages often ask which is the best approach when it comes to brushing – manual or electric toothbrushes?  Both manual and electric tooth brushes work well to clean teeth if you use the proper technique and pay attention to brushing long enough.   With a manual toothbrush, individuals have to place the brush in the proper locations as well as brushing back and forth across the surface of their teeth and along their gum-line. However, electric powered toothbrushes provide all of the cleaning action for you without you having to manipulate certain movements, so all you need to focus on is proper placement of the bristles. Essentially, it does much of the work for you. Sounds simple enough…  And although many people find this method of brushing easier once they get the hang of it, people still question, does it really offer the most oral benefits?

The world of toothbrushes is so much more complicated than many realize- especially when it comes to powered brushes, with multiple features. Additionally, with so many different types and features available, it’s easy to find one that suits your specific oral health needs. But if you are looking for the best and easiest way to take care of your teeth and make sure you are always at optimal oral health, it’s worth the effort to understand the best options and what really matters when it comes to dental health.

Countless research has been conducted on the topic of plaque reduction after toothbrush use… for both manual and electric. Factors being analyzed often include toothpaste ingredients, tooth sensitivity, pressure, rotation and duration to be important. However, the data results often conclude, it’s not the toothbrush that is responsible for the outcome, but the person holding the brush!

In a clinical study published in BMC Oral Health (May 29, 2019), you can see that what matters most when it comes to overall brushing is if all the factors are being addressed to reach ultimate oral cleanliness. And when comparing the results of the numerous studies, one consistent trend was that the capability of the actual toothbrush is only as effective as the person who is in control- meaning reports reflect there was no significant difference before and after brushing in plaque reduction between individuals who used a manual toothbrush or an electric powered one. Most studies involving toothbrush comparisons focus on the effects of power toothbrushes on plaque without addressing if the participants understood the proper way to brush their teeth or noting if while using both that they were brushing to the best of their ability and for the recommended time frame.  Other variables affecting the results could also include gingival bleeding, recessions, periodontal pocket depths, and the measuring of any other personal dental statistics which are not necessarily being tracked based off of a proper daily routine for over 6 months. This proves time and time again, you cannot achieve the most desired or healthiest results merely by changing your device. Patients must overcome their challenges with sticking to a proper at-home dental hygiene routine and proper technique.

Two Toothy Toothbrush Tips

  • Set a Two-minute timer
  • Most people underestimate the amount of time they should brush. With a manual toothbrush, it’s easy to lose track of time. Dental professionals recommend brushing for two minutes, twice a day. That means each quadrant of your mouth gets 30 seconds of brush time- ensuring you get an adequate cleaning every time you brush.
  • Use a ‘dentist-inspired’, small, round brush head which surrounds each tooth for an individualized clean, removing more plaque in hard-to-reach areas.

KidZdent recommends that our patients diligently brush all sides of their teeth and do not overlook any surfaces while brushing. In order to properly clean the surfaces in between teeth, flossing is also necessary. You should schedule 6-month check-ups as a way of staying on top of your preventative dental care needs- especially throughout the pediatric and adolescent years. The ADA recommends finding a dental-home by age 1 so that you have a dental specialist available to provide your child with the very best oral-health care to maintain lifelong health and beautiful smiles!

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