The Great Electric Toothbrush Debate

The debate over the electric toothbrush isn’t quite as heated as the one over the electric car. The documentary “Who Killed the Electric Car?” alleges oil and automobile companies conspired against electric vehicles. No one is saying toothbrush makers are trying to kill the electric toothbrush.

Still, at least some people wonder whether the advantages offered by electric toothbrushes are worth their added expense. And dentists like our Dr. Thomas J. McDonald are often asked to weigh in with their opinions.

Dr. McDonald is happy to talk toothbrushes with you in our Alma, MI dentist office during your dental exam – or any time. Call Mid-Michigan Dental Excellence for an appointment at 989-796-4848. Or use our online form to schedule your family’s visit.

Electric Toothbrush’s “Cool Factor”

If you like having the latest gadget, whether it’s a new iPhone or a smart TV, you might be similarly interested in an electric toothbrush. That’s because manufacturers are introducing all kinds of new, technology-driven features to their electric toothbrushes.

Some of the features may reinforce good tooth brushing habits, like brushing for at least two minutes. Or you just may be more inclined to brush if you get to play with the features. Either way, it’s all good. But you will have to determine whether the technology bells and whistles are worth the money you will pay for them.

Here are some of the latest features you’ll find on at least some electric toothbrushes:

  • Brushing timer. A common, and very useful, feature is a timer that helps make sure you spend enough time brushing your teeth. Dr. McDonald recommends tooth brushing for at least two minutes. Some electric toothbrushes even take it a step further, with timers that signal you every 30 seconds or so that you should work on another section of your mouth.
  • Brushing modes. Some electric toothbrushes have different brushing modes that change the speed or power of your tooth brushing. Popular brushing modes include massaging, whitening, sensitive teeth, and deep clean.
  • Pressure sensors. Another pretty handy feature is a pressure sensor that lets you know if you use too much pressure while tooth brushing. If you brush too hard, you’ll get tender gums. Over time, heavy brushing can cause your gums to recede, which can cause dental issues. Some electric toothbrushes even have a sensor that shuts down the brush when the sensor detects excessive pressure.
  • Feedback features. Just like a Fitbit monitors your physical activity, some electric toothbrushes monitor your brushing and offer tooth brushing tips. They do this with Bluetooth connectivity to your smartphone. You’ll use an app to find out which brushing habits you should tweak. The app includes dental health tips and even videos.

Essential Electric Toothbrush Features

These kinds of electric toothbrush features are fun, and some are useful, too. We support any features that can encourage you to brush more or help you improve your tooth brushing technique.

But we consider some features more important than others. Here are the features we think you should make sure an electric toothbrush has before you buy it:

  • A charger. You have to keep your electric toothbrush charged! If not, you’ll probably end up using a manual toothbrush anyway. (And yes, we recommend keeping some manual toothbrushes around as “backup.”)
  • At least one brush head. We suggest looking for one with soft bristles, which are easiest on your teeth.
  • Cleaning mode. Some electric toothbrushes feature more than one cleaning mode. It is the setting you’ll probably use most often.
  • Big handle. This is especially important for senior citizens, kids, and folks with weak grips. But is helpful for anyone!

Tooth Brushing Tips

Whether you use an electric toothbrush or a manual one, here are some tooth brushing tips to help you and your family improve your technique:

  • Brush for a minimum of two minutes. If you do not have an electric toothbrush, you can use a kitchen timer or the stopwatch on your smartphone. For kids, find a two-minute song they like and let them brush to that.
  • Hold your brush at a 45-degree angle to your teeth. We suggest working from the outside in. So start with the outside surfaces of your teeth, then move inside. Then brush the top surfaces of your teeth to finish.
  • Brush your tongue, too. Brushing your tongue helps eliminate harmful bacteria. And it also helps keep your breath fresh.

We are always happy to see you at Mid-Michigan Dental Excellence, whether you’re coming in for you biannual exam or you haven’t been to the dentist for awhile. Call us at 989-796-4848 or use our online form to make your appointment.