When it comes to brushing, one thing is always true: doing it is much better than not doing it. But, there are so many options for how brushing happens. Do you know which is best for you? Choices range from manual brushing to electric toothbrushes, to water flossers. It can be overwhelming to research them all. Which is the best electric toothbrush? Which features work best? Or should I just stick with a manual toothbrush?
There have been many studies conducted on the effectiveness of electric toothbrushes vs. manual toothbrushes, and the overall effectiveness is about the same, although electric brushes may have a slight advantage in removing plaque. While there are slight differences, the biggest factor is actually being consistent with your dental care routine. Brushing for 30-60 seconds just doesn’t cut it, but surprisingly that’s about how long the average person brushes. When choosing a toothbrush (or which type of toothpaste is best for you for that matter), it’s best to choose one that fits your lifestyle, your budget, and that gives you the things that are important to you. Many electric toothbrushes come with timers, queues to move on to a different part of your mouth, and convenient ways to clean them. Manual toothbrushes do not include any of these bells and whistles and are relatively easy and inexpensive to replace. Weighing these factors will help to guide your decision. However, if you are looking at the electronic options, it’s hard to know how to choose the best electric toothbrush. Price does not always indicate a better brushing experience, so we want to help break it down for you.
3 Keys to Find the Best Electric Toothbrush
- Bristle movement – Electric toothbrushes are either sonic (meaning they move from side to side) or spinning (meaning they rotate very quickly in only one direction), and then others are called rotation oscillation (meaning the bristles go around in both directions). What some research suggests (keep in mind there is no significant difference) is that the rotation oscillation electric toothbrush may be slightly more effective than manual toothbrushes.
- Cost – This is one of the primary factors in choosing the best electric toothbrush. The initial cost is only one part of this consideration. You must also consider the cost of maintaining (brush head replacement, batteries/charging, etc.) over the lifetime of the brush. An expensive toothbrush may also be costly to maintain or may cost a pretty penny upfront but not much to maintain. And then there are others that do not cost very much initially and are actually effective and inexpensive to maintain. So do your research, before you make your purchase, and factor in the long-term cost before choosing the best electric toothbrush for your budget. Ask for recommendations from family and friends, read reviews, and (of course) ask your dentist. We can always point you in the right direction for your budget. A cheaper electric toothbrush may be a great way to get your foot in the door and get a feel for what your preferences are, before making a larger investment. And since the effectiveness of manual vs. electric is not an issue, make sure you choose one that is ADA-approved.
- Likeability – In order to choose the best electric toothbrush, it has to fit your lifestyle and be enjoyable to use. Who wants to constantly be troubleshooting a toothbrush? And who wants to feel like they’ve gotten in some weight-training while brushing their teeth either? When shopping around, make sure you find a brush that will reach all the areas of your mouth and teeth, and fit comfortably in your mouth. You also want to make sure you’re able to feel how the toothbrush fits in your hand. If it’s not comfortable to hold, you won’t be motivated to use it and use it well. As we mentioned before, some electric toothbrushes have built-in timers that will help you continue brushing for the entire two minutes, pressure gauges to tell you when you’re brushing too hard, and others have queues that tell you when to move on to the next quadrant of your mouth. Others have easy cleaning/charging stations that require minimal maintenance. Lots of options may be more complicated than they are worth for you. But for others, more options means better quality brushing and may help them maintain a better dental care routine. As with any purchase like this, read electric toothbrush reviews for the ones you are interested in. Reviews offer insight into the practical function for a person’s lifestyle and habits.
In your ongoing dialogue with your dentist (you are having one, right?), make sure you pay attention to signs of gum disease. If traditional, manual brushing does not seem to be doing the trick in preventing periodontal disease, finding the best electric toothbrush may help. For other patients who have limited mobility or significant issues related to arthritis, an electric brush may also be a great option as they don’t require the same range of arm movement as traditional toothbrushes.
Whether you choose to stick with the tried-and-true, old fashioned manual toothbrush, or venture out and try one of the new-fangled electric versions, the same rules apply. Brush two times ever day for two minutes each time. Avoid hard, vigorous brushing as this can damage the enamel of your teeth. Floss once every day. Then choose which brushing option will help you maintain those habits the best. After all, it is a new year for good dental care and a renewed commitment to the health of your mouth.