Brushing your teeth is usually step one in everyone’s daily oral hygiene routine - so are we really equipping ourselves with the right tools for this crucial task? While reports show that over 41% of the U.S. population use them daily, electric toothbrushes are not very commonly used here in Singapore. Are electric toothbrushes really that much more amazing than a regular toothbrush?
In truth, there are a whole host of reasons for and against the use of an electric toothbrush versus a conventional one. Let’s take a closer look and some of the pros and cons and hopefully by the end of this article you’ll be equipped with the knowledge to pick a toothbrush that best suits your oral hygiene needs.
Benefits of electric toothbrushes
More efficient at plaque removal
Studies have shown that, in general, electric toothbrushes are more effective than conventional ones when preventing plaque build-up and gingivitis. In a 3 month window, electric toothbrushes were seen to reduce plaque and gingivitis occurrence more effectively by 21% and 11% respectively. Furthermore, toothbrushes with an oscillation function proved to be slightly more effective than only vibrating ones.
Better for people who have limited mobility
For those of us suffering from gout, carpal tunnel or simply sustained a hand or finger injury, it might be tough for us to even go through the simple motions of gripping a toothbrush and brushing our teeth. This also applies to those of us who may have mechanical developmental disabilities. By using an electric toothbrush, vastly simplifies the brushing motion as the electric motor of the toothbrush generates most of the force needed to properly clean the enamel and gums.
Preferable for people with braces
Anyone who has had braces before will know how troublesome and pesky getting food stuck in between your brackets is. This is especially true with fibrous foods like corn, vegetables and things like apple skins that are incredibly tough to remove through normal brushing alone.
The electric toothbrush, when used properly, will be able to clean areas in between the orthodontic appliance that a normal toothbrush will simply find difficult to reach.
Better for the environment
Let’s face it, toothbrushes aren’t something we have too much sentimental value attached to. In general, the average lifespan of a toothbrush is between 3-4 months. After that, the bristles start to fall off or become frayed and the toothbrush might become icky from a buildup of mildew and mold. This isn’t a problem you face when using an electric toothbrush. For electric toothbrushes, they are made of different material so they are less likely to get stained. Also, they come with replaceable heads which tend to be made in a more environmentally friendly fashion.
They’re more costly
Needless to say, the price of electric toothbrushes is going to be way higher than a normal one. In Singapore retailers, the price of a standard electric toothbrush starts at around SGD $50 and can go all the way up to SGD $300! Whereas a normal manual toothbrush, even the more expensive ones, is anywhere between $3 to $12 per brush.
Too many different brands
Anyone who’s purchased an electric toothbrush knows the feeling - when you’re looking for replacement brush heads at a local pharmacy and they just don’t carry any. The tough reality about electric toothbrushes is that new models are always coming out, under a variety of different brands. Remember to stock up beforehand to prevent spending an inordinate amount of time shopping for toiletries!
They require electricity
In many ways, this can prove to be a really irritating inconvenience. Your electric toothbrush running out of juice in the morning just as you’re rushing for an important client meeting can be one of the most frustrating feelings known to man. Additionally, for battery-powered toothbrushes, having to dig in your storeroom for the exact size of batteries can be an extremely painful experience.
All in all, oral specialists around the world say that both manual and electric toothbrushes are more than adequate tools for proper oral care. Simply pick the one that fits you the best, observe good overall dental hygiene, and you’ll be good to go.
- A 3-Month Clinical Investigation Comparing The Safety And Efficacy Of A Novel Electric Toothbrush (Braun Oral-B 3D Plaque Remover) With A Manual Toothbrush
- A Systematic Review Of the Effectiveness Of Self‐performed Mechanical Plaque Removal in Adults with Gingivitis Using a Manual Toothbrush G. Weijden-K. Hioe -(https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1600-051X.2005.00795.x)
- Effect Of Rotary Electric Toothbrush Versus Manual Toothbrush on Periodontal Status During Orthodontic Treatment R.L. Boyd-P. Murray-P.B. Robertson - (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/0889540689903545)
- Us5613259a - High Frequency Electric Toothbrush
- A Comparative Study Of Electric Toothbrushes For the Effectiveness Of Plaque Removal in Relation To Toothbrushing Duration. Timerstudy G Van der Weijden-M Timmerman-A Nijboer-M Lie-U Van der Velden - (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8354721)
- A Clinical Evaluation Of An Electric Toothbrush Used By Orthodontic Patients