Dentists have long touted the benefits of electric toothbrushes. While manual toothbrushes do remove plaque, the American Dental Association notes that electric toothbrushes are often easier to maneuver, especially for users who are elderly, disabled or have dexterity issues. Furthermore, electric toothbrushes are often more effective at cleaning your teeth for healthy gums, fresh breath and a reduced risk of cavities.
While electric toothbrushes used to come with a hefty price tag, electric toothbrushes have become more affordable in recent years. That said, it is worth spending a little more money for maximum dental hygiene.
Pros of electric toothbrushes
Despite a higher price point, electric toothbrushes have many benefits that manual toothbrushes lack.
An electric toothbrush works by moving bristles on a rotating brush head, which moves side-to-side and/or vibrates. The combined motion works to remove plaque and food on the surface of and in between your teeth, tongue and gums.
Gum disease prevention
Because of their powerful motion, electric toothbrushes are effective at preventing gum disease. A recent study found that electric toothbrushes are 11% more effective than manual toothbrushes at reducing gingivitis, a common gum disease, after three months of use.
Easy to maneuver
If you have limited mobility or your child doesn’t do the best job reaching their back molars, an electric toothbrush can help. Unlike shorter manual toothbrushes, the long neck of the electric toothbrush helps to clean the back of your mouth thoroughly. Furthermore, the vibration movement of the brush means that you do less repeated motion while brushing, helping those with dexterity challenges.
Most electric toothbrushes have a built-in two-minute timer, which is the length of time dentists recommend brushing. This helps ensure that you get a comprehensive brushing each time you brush. Some brushes also have 30-second mini timers to prompt you to move to the next section of your mouth.
Effective for braces and other dental devices
Electric toothbrushes make it easier to maneuver around built-in dental devices like braces, palate expanders and bumpers. The longer neck and small head help users get into hard-to-reach areas.
Cons of electric toothbrushes
Despite their positives, there are some drawbacks to electric toothbrushes.
While they are available at most big stores, electric toothbrushes may not be available at smaller corner stores, especially if you are looking for a high-quality model. However, most brands are readily available online.
Top-of-the-line electric toothbrushes are much more expensive than most manual models, and users will need to buy replacement heads. That being said, there are models available in most price ranges.
If you have a wired electric toothbrush, you will need access to outlets at your destination if you plan to travel with your toothbrush. Conversely, toothbrushes with batteries can turn on in luggage, causing problems through airport security. Electric toothbrushes can be bulkier than their manual counterparts.
Do I need to clean my toothbrush?
For optimal dental hygiene, it’s important to keep your toothbrush as clean as your mouth. Avoid storing your toothbrush on its side or directly on the bathroom counter, where it’s likely to attract germs and bacteria.