Electric Toothbrushes, are they worth the extra money?

Walking down the toothbrush isle today I overheard a couple debating on the pros and cons of buying an electric toothbrush vs. a manual. He thought it was a waste of money, why not buy the $3 brush instead of the $100 brush, she was told by her dentist that it’s the best brush on the market and worth spending the extra money, and in the end they couldn’t agree and left with no toothbrushes. I felt like helping them settle the argument but didn’t want to get into the middle. So instead I thought I’d write a short pro/con list for electric toothbrushes and why spending the extra money may really benefit your oral health, and this way maybe by chance it will reach them, or anyone who may be confused themselves.

Firstly we must all understand that the brushing technique is the most important key to plaque removal. The whole reason we brush (and floss) our teeth our teeth is to remove the plaque (biofilm of bacteria) that tries to attach itself to our teeth. Whether you use an electric or manual brush, you need to get the toothbrush close to the gum line, removing plaque which is under and around the gums, while not pressing too hard which could cause damage to the teeth, gum recession or abrasion.

Pro’s and Con’s of the Electric Toothbrushes:

Pros of Electric Toothbrushes:

1.   Controlled so you cannot brush hard (Some brushes will prompt you if you are pressing too hard)

2.   Better “Clean” feeling

3.   Does all the work for you, all you have to do is guide the head

4.   Automatic movement so easier to get in hard to reach places ie: back of molars

5.   If you have a strong gag reflex, this is a benefit to you as you are not moving your hand back and forth towards the back of the mouth causing the gag reflex

6.   Think of comparison between washing dishes manually and using a dishwasher**

7.   If you do not have full manual dexterity, or pain due to things like arthritis, this will improve your tooth brushing and will also not hurt you

Cons of Electric Toothbrushes:

1.   If not used properly can affect your gums by causing gingival recession

2.   Sometimes may be too heavy in a case where you have arthritis or pain in your arms/hands

3.   May be costly

Toothbrush Care

1.   Replace your toothbrush or the head of your electric toothbrushes (if electric) every 3-4months or when the bristles start to look worn, bent or the color fades on the tips of the brush

2.   If you are sick, especially with a cold or throat infection, replace your toothbrush

3.   Do not share your toothbrush or use someone else’s

4.   If storing near other toothbrushes, do not let the heads touch

5.   After brushing, rinse your toothbrush thoroughly with tap water and allow to dry, do not store in closed, dark areas such as a washroom drawer.

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