Posted on: 19 April, 2021
Is an electric toothbrush better for your teeth? Find out the pros and cons of powered toothbrushes and who can benefit from going electric.
5 minute read
Brushing twice a day helps to keep your teeth free from tooth decay and cavities, but some people find this more of a challenge than others. If you're having trouble keeping your teeth clean with a standard toothbrush, your dentist might recommend that you switch to an electric model.
But do electric toothbrushes really clean better, and are they worth the investment? Read this guide to find out what the evidence says about manual vs electric toothbrushes, the pros and cons of both options and what else to look for when choosing the perfect toothbrush.
There's a growing body of research that suggests using an electric toothbrush can clean your teeth better than a manual brush.
Does that mean everyone should throw away their manual toothbrushes and go electric? Not necessarily. While some people find electric brushes easier or more comfortable to use, you don't need to make a change if you're already seeing good results with a normal toothbrush.
An electric toothbrush can make brushing easier and more convenient for some people, especially those who may struggle to use a standard toothbrush. This can include:
Children's dentists may recommend trying an electric toothbrush from around the age of 3 if they think it could help your child. Young children often struggle to move a toothbrush across their teeth properly, and a powered toothbrush can take care of the brushing action for them.
Children's toothbrushes that feature lights and sounds can also be more appealing for reluctant brushers, while built-in timers can help kids and their parents to make sure they're brushing for the recommended two minutes.
People who have limited movement in their hands or joints may find electric toothbrushes easier to use and their larger handles easier to hold than a standard toothbrush. This includes people with arthritis and other joint conditions, carpal tunnel syndrome or disabilities.
If your teeth are crooked, crowded or otherwise misaligned, this could make it difficult to reach some parts of your mouth with a standard toothbrush. This could make an electric toothbrush more convenient.
Wearing braces to correct an orthodontic issue can also make teeth brushing harder and more time consuming as you have to work around the wires and brackets. Electric toothbrushes can make brushing with braces easier, leading to reduced plaque and improved oral health for people who find manual brushing difficult. (3)
If you're prone to tooth decay, gum disease or other oral health issues, your dentist might recommend trying an electric toothbrush to see if this leads to improvement. They can give you advice about the type of electric toothbrush to buy and the right way to brush to make sure you're removing plaque.
An electric toothbrush can only do its job if you use it properly. Reasons why you could be better off with a powered toothbrush include:
If it ain't broke, don't fix it! If you're already comfortable using a manual toothbrush and you don't need to improve your oral hygiene, there's no reason to change your routine. Many people prefer a manual brush for a number of reasons, including:
Switching to an electric toothbrush can take some getting used to, even as an adult, so parents might worry about giving one to their child. However, most children who are already brushing their own teeth should have no trouble adapting to a powered toothbrush. They may even find it more appealing or easier to use than their normal toothbrush, which could mean improved results.
Electric toothbrushes are not suitable for infants and young children who need gentle manual brushing. It's also recommended that kids learn to brush their teeth using a manual toothbrush specially designed for children, as these are generally lighter and can be easier to hold.
As your child grows, their dentist may recommend giving them an appropriately sized electric toothbrush if they think this could help to improve their oral health. This depends on the child, as many children prefer to stick to what they're used to.
Whichever type of toothbrush your child uses, you should supervise their brushing to make sure they're doing it correctly, for the recommended two minutes and always spit out the toothpaste.
Electric or manual is just one thing to consider when buying a new toothbrush, which could involve more decisions than you realise. These include:
The head of the toothbrush should fit comfortably in your mouth (or your child's mouth) so it can reach all areas. The handle should also be long enough that you can hold it comfortably. Children's toothbrushes have smaller brush heads and shorter and wider handles that are easier to grip.
Toothbrushes and electric toothbrush heads are available with a choice of hard, medium or soft bristles. Soft bristles are recommended for most people, especially if you have sensitive teeth or gums. Medium or hard bristles may cause irritation or even damage the teeth and gums.
You should also look for a brush with angled or stepped bristles with rounded ends. These can offer a better clean than flat bristles.
If you want peace of mind that you're buying a high quality toothbrush, look for the Australian Dental Association (ADA) Seal of Approval. This certifies that the product and materials used are safe, but you should still talk to your dentist if you have sensitive teeth or other concerns.
The toothbrush you choose is only as good as your brushing technique. To make sure you're removing as much plaque as possible and lower your risk of oral health problems, we recommend:
Has it been longer than 6 months since you last visited a dentist? Contact EVP Dental in East Victoria Park to book a comprehensive check-up and professional scale and clean with our dedicated hygiene department. We can also answer any questions you have about how you or your family can take better care of your teeth and gums every day.
Call us today on 08 9470 3944 or book online.