The majority of dental problems people experience including cavities, gingivitis, and bad breath are caused by the presence of “plaque” or bacteria that lives in the mouth. The longer you leave bacteria left undisturbed, the more aggressive and harder to remove it becomes.
For many patients, dental cleanings are scheduled twice a year. As soon as you complete your cleaning, bacteria begins to rebuild in your mouth. So how do we keep the bacteria under control the other 363 days a year? Good home care is the answer! So, what tools will you need to maintain amazing oral health? For starters a good toothbrush.
How Do I Choose a Toothbrush?
We’re taught from a young age to brush and floss our teeth regularly to keep our teeth and gums healthy. However, we’re never taught which toothbrush option is most effective.
It wasn’t until the 1930s when nylon bristle toothbrushes were invented. Consumers didn’t have many options at the time but now there are endless toothbrushes to choose from. You can walk down the dental hygiene aisle at the store and have no idea which toothbrush to put into your cart. This can be true for both manual and electric toothbrushes.
To start, we recommend choosing any toothbrush that’s recommended by the American Dental Association (ADA). You will see a stamp on the packaging that indicates it’s recommended. These toothbrushes are recommended by the ADA after going through extensive quality control tests for safety and effectiveness.
Next, make sure you choose a toothbrush with soft bristles. Soft bristles are gentlest on your teeth and gums and will prevent you from harming your enamel or gums. The toothbrush head should also be the correct size. Most adults require a toothbrush head about half an inch wide and one inch tall. Anything larger or smaller will either be difficult to maneuver or be less effective.
Benefits of Electric Toothbrushes
One of the top questions we get about choosing the best toothbrush is whether manual or electric toothbrushes are better. We recommend an electric toothbrush because they are more effective than manual toothbrushes for typical users. However, some patients can get the same results with a manual toothbrush if they use it correctly.
In studies, electric toothbrushes have shown to remove 11% more plaque, reduced gingivitis by 6%, and decreased bleeding which is a sign of infection by 17%. The drastic improvement in oral health can be attributed to a few factors: The bristles of electric toothbrushes move much faster than the human hand. The faster moving bristles are more likely to remove more plaque and break up more tenacious bacteria.
One of the benefits of an electric toothbrush is that it has a built-in timer. This means anyone who uses it will brush for the recommended two minutes per session. Another benefit of electric toothbrushes is that they do most of the work for you. It doesn’t matter if you’re a lazy brusher. The moving bristles clean every millimeter of your teeth and leave nothing harmful behind. It’s just up to you to move your toothbrush around your mouth.
Some electric toothbrushes have Bluetooth connectivity to connect your toothbrush to an app on your phone that will help you brush your teeth more effectively. The apps often tell you if you’re brushing too hard or missing certain areas of your mouth. Some even contain games that are fun for children and send you reminders to brush your teeth. These features are perfect for anyone who is tech-savvy or for children who need a little extra motivation.
Electric toothbrushes also have pressure sensors that prevent you from brushing too hard and causing gum recession or enamel wear.
Easier to Use for Children, Seniors, and Those with Disabilities
For children, compliance is often better with electric toothbrushes. For children and elderly patients or patients with medical conditions that affect dexterity, electric toothbrushes are often able to clean hard to reach areas more effectively.
When It’s Safe to Choose a Manual Toothbrush
On the flip side, manual toothbrushes are also a good choice as long as you brush your teeth properly. If you know how to not over-apply pressure, get every inch of your teeth, and brush for at least two minutes, stick with a manual toothbrush. It really comes down to how effectively you brush your teeth. Only effective brushing will help protect you from cavities and gum disease, regardless of which type of toothbrush you use. We usually recommend electric toothbrushes to eliminate any room for error.
Need Help With Preventive Dentistry in Rochester, MI?
If you need more help with your preventive dentistry efforts or are overdue for a dental cleaning in Rochester, MI, our team at Rochester Advanced Dentistry can help. Please contact our dental office at (248) 656-2020 to book your next dental cleaning or for any other preventive dentistry services you need.