Provided that you are thorough and use the proper brushing technique, a regular manual toothbrush is a great tool for cleaning your teeth. Here are a few tips on how to use it properly:
- Place the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gums.
- Moving in a circular motion across the teeth, gently move the brush.
- Remember to brush the outer surfaces, the inner surfaces, and the chewing surfaces of the teeth.
If you brush correctly as outlined above and both you and your dentist are satisfied with the state of your oral health, then you're doing great! There's no need for any additional tools (other than floss, which you should use once a day).
That said, if you struggle to brush all of your teeth sufficiently with a manual toothbrush, or if you or your dentist feel you could use some help with your oral hygiene, you might find an electric toothbrush to be a helpful tool. Consider talking about your options with your dentist during your regular oral exam and cleaning. Part of our mission is to educate our patients about preventive care practices.
How can an electric toothbrush help?
Electric toothbrushes that have small, round, rotating heads mimic the ideal brushing motion. Avoid electric toothbrushes that make a sawing motion if you can.
Electric toothbrushes can make brushing easier because you hardly have to do any work! Simply apply your toothpaste to your electric toothbrush, place it up against your teeth, and turn it on. Then all you have to do is guide it gently around your mouth, over all the surfaces of your teeth.
You don’t need to perform the brushing motion yourself, and this makes it much easier to clean the backs of your front teeth (which can be awkward with a manual toothbrush), and the small round head makes cleaning your back molars and other tight or hard-to-reach areas a little easier, too.
And because the head spins so quickly, electric toothbrushes can do a great job of removing surface stains from your teeth. Some electric toothbrushes even have timers so that you know when your full two minutes are up!
Overall, an electric toothbrush can help you brush more thoroughly, and may even make brushing feel like less of a chore.
Concerns about brushing too hard?
Some people hesitate to try an electric toothbrush because they are concerned it would not be gentle on the enamel of their teeth, or their gums.
However, many electric toothbrush users find that it actually helps them brush more gently, because they don’t have to make the scrubbing motion themselves. Scrubbing tends to make you want to apply pressure, and this is a non-issue with an electric toothbrush, as it performs the motion for you.
If you are very concerned about brushing too hard, many electric toothbrush brands sell heads with soft bristles for sensitive teeth and gums.