If store shelves are any indication, electric toothbrushes are becoming more popular than ever. With newer, more advanced toothbrush solutions appearing for family members of all ages, many patients want to know if electric toothbrushes are better alternatives to traditional toothbrushes.
The Truth About Traditional Toothbrushes vs Electric Toothbrushes
According to the American Dental Association (ADA), manual toothbrushes can be just as effective as powered ones—if you’re using them correctly. In fact, according to most dentists, the key to preventing tooth decay lies how well and often you use your toothbrush, NOT necessarily what kind of toothbrush you own.
Toothbrushes as luxury items
Although electric toothbrushes are causing a fuss now, there was a time when even manual toothbrushes were once considered luxury items. According to the ADA, wealthy aristocrats in the Middle Ages once used twigs made of black birch clean their teeth. Across the continent in China in 1498, the emperor developed a bone handle with hog bristles placed into it; this became so popular that in Europe even the commoners used it.
While you may not be sharing a brush of bristles with the rest of the family, today, an electric toothbrush can cost four or five times more than a manual one. While breaking the bank for a toothbrush may not be necessary, putting time and thought into what’s best for your oral health means taking a second to figure out what kind of toothbrush is right for you.
Toothbrushes as medical devices
Whether they have a motor or not, the US government considers toothbrushes to be medical devices. That means that the FDA also regulates the design, distribution, and advertising of toothbrushes and the claims that manufacturers make about them. Nevertheless, dental health experts agree that regular tooth brushing for at least two minutes in addition to flossing twice a day can help prevent tooth decay, making toothbrushes essential to your oral health in the short and long term.
How to brush your teeth properly
Although clinical research is still being carried out, dentists agree that both manual and electric toothbrushes are equally effective when used correctly:
- Brushing with a traditional toothbrush: Put the brush gently into your mouth at a 45-degree angle, resting against gums. Move the toothbrush back and forth gently using broad strokes over all of your teeth; as you brush, move the tip of the toothbrush up and down to clean inside your front teeth. Afterward, be sure to brush your tongue gently to remove bacteria that cause bad breath.
- Brushing with an electric toothbrush: Depending on the brush you decide to purchase, how to best maximize the functions of your electric toothbrush means reading the manufacturer’s instructions. When brushing with an electric toothbrush, the key is to remember to get a much surface area as possible while brushing the entire two minutes.
Talk to a Bellevue Dentist About Your Tooth Care Regimen Today
If you aren’t sure what you should be looking for in a toothbrush, our Bellevue family dentists help patients find tools they need to maintain their oral health every day. Book your appointment online or call us today to learn more about our services!