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Is that Buzzing Doing a Better Job? Electric Toothbrushes

Posted in Dental Care, Periodontal Treatment | May 30, 2018

Dental Services Mt Pleasant, MIWhen people come to see us at Dr. Egger’s practice, they may want to talk about the Red Wings missing the playoffs for the second straight year, or they may want to talk the recruiting class for either the Wolverines or Spartans. But they don’t usually want to talk about their toothbrushing prowess.

But maybe they should because we’d like to discuss with you the possibility of switching over to an electric toothbrush.

No, Dr. Egger didn’t just buy stock in Oral-B or Philips (makers of the two dominant electric toothbrushes out there); it’s just that we like to see our patients with the healthiest teeth possible. And electric toothbrushes seem to do a better job for most people.

Why is an electric toothbrush better?

Electric toothbrushes aren’t all that different than the pedal-powered electric polisher we use to polish your teeth after we’ve removed all the plaque. Electric brushes feature a circulating/vibrating head that basically does all the work for you. You place the brush head on your teeth and gums and let it get to work. Both Philips and Oral-B toothbrushes have a built-in timer that tells you when you’ve been brushing for two minutes, the length of time recommended by the American Dental Association. Basically, all you need do is move the head from tooth to tooth and it will remove the plaque from your teeth.

The goal is to be a thorough brusher, and many people are any but that. Because the heads rotate or otherwise move, the odds of doing a better job than your hand and arm are heavily weighted in favor of electric toothbrushes. If you’re a very diligent brusher, you may get every tooth brushed and hit your gums. But not many people ever brush for the full two minutes recommended. The problem with some even good manual brushers is they can be too aggressive. This can lead to gum recession.

Here are some specific cases where electric toothbrushes are a no-brainer.

  • If you’re a haphazard, cursory brusher — Yes, we’re looking at you! You brush your teeth but are lackadaisical about it. You could easily leave a tooth here or there with plaque on it.
  • If you’re a kid — Little kids love electric toothbrushes because they’re fun gadgets. Some think they tickle their teeth. Once you explain to place the brush head on each tooth, they’ll do a good job brushing. Also, kids with traditional braces benefit mightily from electric brushes because of their thoroughness.
  • If you’re elderly — As we age, many of us have some dexterity issues with our hands and fingers. Electric brushes don’t require any hand or finger dexterity.

Statistics?

Your hand and arm can produce around 200 strokes per minute with your manual toothbrush. An electric toothbrush generates 30,000 strokes per minute. That’s quite a difference. Which do you think will clean better?

Want research proof? Oral-B makes both electric and regular toothbrushes. The company ran a test. They had dentists and hygienists ask 16,000 patients to use an Oral-B electric toothbrush from one visit to the next, basically for six months. When asked to monitor how their patients’ teeth looked afterwards, the dental professionals said the electric toothbrush had a positive effect on the oral health of over 80 percent of the patients. Case closed.

It’s not that you can’t do just as good a job as an electric toothbrush; it’s just that the odds are that you won’t. If you have any questions about these electric options, give us a call and ask away, (989) 773-3560.


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