Are Electric Toothbrushes Right for You?

Static Electric Toothbrush comic

Courtesy of CartoonStock.com

Electric toothbrushes have come a long way since their original incarnation in 1960, and some dentists are even recommending their patients to use an electric toothbrush over regular toothbrushes. Many have found that patients who use them have cleaner teeth, minor plaque build-up (which results in shorter cleanings during check-ups), and healthier gums.

This isn’t to say that patients who use regular toothbrushes can’t have similar results, but electric and sonic toothbrushes offer extra advantages that give them a bit of an edge over manual toothbrushes.

Electric toothbrushes move 3,000 to 7,500 rotations per minute (RPMs), which mimics the RPMs the muscles in your arm and hand if they were manually brushing your teeth. In addition, the heads rotate or move back and forth to further cut down the amount of plaque build-up. The extra movement against the gums also massages and strengthens them. Both of which will reduce the risk of gingivitis.

Sonic toothbrushes move nearly ten times as much, from 30,000 to 40,000 RPMs. This larger number is really only the difference between the two types of power toothbrushes (aside from price), as they both have the same goal: remove plaque and improve the health of the gums.

So how important are these RPMs? Manual brushing typically averages 300 RPMs, but only if you are brushing properly. If you brush for two minutes – the recommended time – then you’ve brushed your teeth with 600 strokes. An electric toothbrush, with the same time, will yield around 8,000 strokes and the sonic toothbrush will produce 70,000 strokes. Unless you plan to brush your teeth for several minutes to an hour, it’s nearly impossible to achieve the same number of strokes with manual brushing.

No matter what type of toothbrush you choose, remember that the recommendations for maintaining good oral health are the same.

  1. Brush twice a day, for at least two minutes.
  2. Do not brush too hard, as it will erode the gums.
  3. Floss at least once a day.
  4. Get your teeth cleaned every six months.

If you’d like more information regarding power toothbrushes, visit WebMD‘s recent article on the subject. If you have personal questions about if you need an electric toothbrush and which type is best for you, please contact us for toothbrush advice.

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