Many people give little thought to the type of toothbrush they use. After all, we humans have been brushing our teeth since ancient times. The first bristle toothbrush was invented in 15th century China, and the traditional toothbrush has evolved relatively little since then. Electric toothbrushes first hit the American market in 1960, but it wasn’t until recently that their tremendous benefits have become widely recognized. Although they are more expensive than disposable plastic toothbrushes, electric toothbrushes last much longer. They are also considered a better alternative for three key reasons.
1. Better and Safer Cleaning
Although people learn to brush their teeth when they are young children, they don’t always learn the correct techniques. Even if you know the best ways to brush your teeth, it can be difficult to execute them properly at every single brushing. If your teeth happen to be slightly crooked or you have braces, perfect cleaning can seem impossible.
Electric toothbrushes compensate for the real-world factors that can make tooth cleaning difficult. Their heads are designed to evenly clean every tooth, even those in the back that are hard to reach. They also spin much faster than a human can brush—at thousands of strokes per minute rather than the average 300 strokes per minute of a manual toothbrush. These design features ensure that all of your teeth are completely cleaned during each brushing session.
Many people are aware of the shortcomings of manual tooth cleaning, and actually brush too hard in an effort to compensate. This can cause injury to the gums, making you more prone to periodontal disease. It can also remove vital enamel from your teeth, making them sensitive and more likely to develop cavities. Electric toothbrushes are designed to remove the manual component. Although you do need to position the toothbrush in different areas of your mouth, you are not supposed to apply force. The toothbrush itself provides the needed cleaning power. Some models even dial down the force they apply to the teeth if they sense that the user is pushing on the brush.
2. Ease of Use
Many children have a tough time properly cleaning their teeth, as they can lack the physical dexterity and fine motor skills needed for the best possible brushing. Adults with certain physical disabilities also report challenges with positioning and manipulating a manual toothbrush to evenly clean each tooth. Some people have trouble holding onto a small toothbrush handle, while others have difficulty evenly controlling its direction and force.
Electric toothbrushes address all of these issues. They tend to have large, wide handles that are easier and more comfortable to grip. Since the toothbrush does the work for you, manual dexterity issues are minimized. Simply move the toothbrush around your mouth as instructed, and the brush will clean even the hard to reach areas of your teeth and gums.
3. Removing the Guesswork
To prevent cavities and maximize your oral health, you should brush for two full minutes each time. Yet humans are notoriously bad at calculating time. If you are in a hurry, distracted by your thoughts, or otherwise paying less than full attention to your brushing, it is likely that you will brush for less than the recommended two minutes. Most electric toothbrushes remove the guesswork by beeping when two minutes have elapsed.
Further complicating a manual brushing routine is the fact that you should spend 30 seconds brushing each quadrant of your mouth. While some people do set timers to let them know when two minutes have elapsed, how annoying would it be to try to reset a timer every 30 seconds while one hand is occupied with brushing your teeth? Instead, most people try to guess or count, leading to wildly uneven brushing between quadrants. Some electric toothbrushes provide a helpful beep every 30 seconds, letting you know that it is time to change quadrants.
Although an electric toothbrush may seem expensive at the outset, it will last much longer than a disposable toothbrush. You will need to change the head regularly, but this costs much less than replacing the entire brush. Talk to your dentist to determine whether an electric toothbrush is a worthwhile investment for you.
Family Dental Care of Bellevue provides quality dental care to patients and their families, and has been voted one of the best dental offices in Washington State. Call us today at 425-643-5778 to learn how we can help improve your smile.