Standing in the toothbrush aisle at your local pharmacy can be daunting. Toothbrushes come in all sizes, shapes, colours and prices ranges. Do you choose one that is electric or do you stick with a traditional manual brush? With so many toothbrush options on the market, you may not know which type is best for you.
Manual vs electric: What do you need for clean teeth?
Some people believe that electric toothbrushes are better for your mouth. However, manual toothbrushes offer the same benefits as their electric counterparts if you use them correctly. When selecting a manual brush, look for one with angled or multi-level bristles. Flat bristles cannot get between the teeth properly and although flossing will remove some of what the flat bristles cannot, it’s always better to get as much food debris and bacteria out from between the teeth when you brush. The bristles themselves should be soft. Soft bristles will not damage your gums yet they are still effective at removing dirt and debris from the tooth’s surface.
If you have dexterity issues or arthritis, you may feel more comfortable using an electric toothbrush. Electric toothbrushes essentially do the work for you. The head of the brush moves side-to-side and in concentric circles for a deep clean. Furthermore, people with braces may find using an electric toothbrush easier because it will get between the wires with little effort.
Both manual and electric toothbrushes can clean your teeth effectively. However, they do come with different price points. Electric toothbrushes are more expensive than manual ones because they require a charging station. Usually, the charging station is a small dock you plug in. The dock has a space for the toothbrush to rest in order to charge it. This type of electronic toothbrush lasts longer because it comes with detachable heads you can replace every three months. You can also purchase electric toothbrushes at a lower price that run on batteries. But, these are usually made with a uni-body so you cannot detach the head and change it. In the end, although you may get three months of battery life out of this kind of electric toothbrush, you’ll have to get rid of it at that time anyway and swap it out for a new one.
What does the Canadian Dental Association have to say?
While most toothbrushes are Health Canada and CDA-approved, there are certain products that the CDA has validated the health benefits of. You can read this list here. Your dentist may have other products they recommend that have the same benefits of those listed by the Canadian Dental Association.
How to properly brush your teeth
Whether you have a manual or electric toothbrush, it’s important that you brush your teeth properly. According to the Canadian Dental Association you should be brushing for 2-4 minutes each time. If your toothbrush doesn’t come with a built in timer, use a stopwatch or your phone to ensure that you are brushing for the required amount of time. The best times to brush your teeth are when you wake up and before you go to bed. But, if you eat a particularly heavy meal, you can brush afterwards.
Although teeth brushing isn’t complicated, you will need to do it the right way to ensure that you are removing all food debris and bacteria from your teeth, gums, tongue and cheeks. Here’s how to brush properly:
- Direct the toothbrush bristles to the area where your gums and teeth meet by holding the brush at a 45 degree angle.
- Do not brush too hard. Violent brushing leads to receding gums and tooth sensitivity.
- With a manual brush, use circular motions on each tooth. Switch to up and down motions occasionally. Electric toothbrushes will do this for you. A good way to ensure you are brushing every tooth is to switch your brushing pattern. For instance, change your pattern after the first 1.5 to 2 minutes of brushing so that each tooth and gum space gets its share of care.
- Most toothbrushes come with a tongue/cheek scrubber. This is the bumpy patch found on the other side of the head. Use this part to gently scrub your tongue and inside of your cheeks.
- Don’t neglect your back teeth.
- Replace your toothbrush every three months. For manual toothbrushes, you will need to get an entirely new one but for electric, you only need to replace the head. You should also change your toothbrush when you get sick.
- Couple your toothbrushing routine with a dentist recommended mouthwash to really remove plaque and bacteria from your mouth.
- Floss at least once per day.
Establishing good brushing and flossing habits are important to your overall health. If you’re still unsure as to which type of toothbrush is right for you, please contact Dawson Dental.