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Electric Toothbrushes – What Does the Data Say?


Toothbrushes haven’t changed in a long time. Their design has remained static for decades until the electric toothbrush came along. Many people dismiss electric toothbrushes as a fad and claim that it is unnecessary when manual toothbrushes have always done the job. But dentists may recommend electric brushes for certain patients. So what does the data say about electric toothbrushes? Are they better than manual once or is it hype?

Research Matters

The modern toothbrush that we use today wasn’t invented until the early part of the 20th century. But humans have been using some form of mouth cleaning utensil for centuries. Compared to that history, electric toothbrushes are a very recent innovation. Unfortunately, that also means that there hasn’t been much research on their effectiveness or lack thereof.

Some studies have shown that using electric toothbrushes can reduce plaque and gingivitis when used regularly. However, the researchers themselves caution that there is not enough data for users to make an informed decision.

Electric Toothbrushes Are Right for Some People

Dentists recommend that we should brush our teeth for at least two minutes. But let’s face it, most of us rush through our morning routine on the way to jobs, school, and other responsibilities. Some people may spend only a few seconds on brushing before moving onto the next task at hand while many don’t bother to floss either.

Electric toothbrushes use vibration, rotation, or oscillation to clean your teeth and gums. Powered by batteries, they can cover much larger areas in the same amount of time. That makes them perfect for those who don’t have time to brush their teeth for the recommended time. Electric toothbrushes can also be useful for those times when you’re feeling too tired or lazy to brush your teeth for two full minutes.

Children and Elderly People

Children can benefit greatly from switching to an electric toothbrush. If your child gets distracted or loses interest in brushing their teeth, they’re more likely to rush through the process. Some kids even enjoy the vibrations of an electric toothbrush which keeps them more focused on the task at hand. Many models emit a beep every 30 seconds to let you when you or your child is done brushing.

Electric toothbrushes generally have bigger handles to accommodate the battery. That makes it useful for people who have problems with their hands or fingers. As you grow older, you may develop arthritis or other joint issues that make it difficult to brush properly. Electric toothbrushes do much of the work for you, so you don’t have to press too hard to clean your teeth.

Sensors, Apps and More

The newer models of electric toothbrushes have more features than you could ever imagine. For example, some models will alert you when you apply too much pressure on your gums. Brushing too hard can cause tears in your gums, leading to infection or other gum problems.

Some brushes will have thin bristles in small clusters that can help people with braces or other dental aids. They provide targeted cleaning in specific areas that can be hard to reach with a manual toothbrush. Some of the latest models even have dedicated smartphone apps that provide optional reminders and additional features.

Another thing to consider is that electric toothbrushes are pricier than their manual counterparts. You have to replace the battery and the brush heads on a regular basis, all of which adds up. Research indicates that you don’t have to rush out and buy an electric toothbrush right now. But you might want to consider one if your dentist recommends it.