Electric Toothbrush FAQs

In this article we want to answer a few frequently asked questions about electric toothbrushes.

Should I Buy an Expensive Electric Toothbrush?

Is it worth spending a lot of money on an electric toothbrush and the short answer is it does depend.

We know that’s probably not the answer that you want to hear. For the majority of people, it’s not necessary to spend a large amount on an electric toothbrush. Generally speaking around about $50 is going to get you a very capable electric toothbrush, which is going to give you all of the essential features that you need.

You don’t need to spend $100 or $200. When you spend more, you will get more features, but more features are only any good if you’re actually going to use the features that are offered and the benefits they bring.

So if you really want to track your brushing technique and habits, then by all means go for a Bluetooth-enabled toothbrush that tracks it via a smartphone application. Gain the travel case that allows you to travel the world with your toothbrush and charge it via a USB port.

These are all great features if you’re going to take advantage of them. However, if you just want a good electric toothbrush that’s going to help you clean your teeth, you definitely don’t need to spend massive amounts of money.

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In fact, if you just spend a couple of dollars on a manual toothbrush, learn how to brush your teeth correctly and do so twice a day for two minutes. You’re going to make massive improvements in your oral health.

But electric toothbrushes can bring many benefits. We won’t go through them all here, but the additional cost of buying an electric toothbrush can certainly pay off over a few weeks, months or even years.

For an electric toothbrush, you could probably pick one up for about ten dollars. You probably want to spend a little bit more, anywhere between about $20 to $40 is a good price point and generally going to get the key features that you need.

There are two essential features.

You want a timer and a pacer. Essentially the timer and the pacer encourage you to brush the teeth evenly for the recommended amount of time. If you have the timer and pacer on your electric toothbrush, it will really help you make sure you’re cleaning your teeth the right amount of time so you can effectively remove plaque and debris from your teeth.

Another really good feature that comes in on many toothbrushes at this price is a pressure sensor, which alerts you either by a light or sound or vibration. It alerts you when you’re using too much force when you’re brushing your teeth.

Brushing your teeth with too much force can cause damage to your gum tissue and lead to gum recession. It can wear your enamel away quicker as well.

A pressure sensor alerts you when you’re brushing too hard and sort of tells you to basically relieve that pressure and just let the bristles skim the teeth. If you have a pressure sensor built into the brush in addition to the timer and pacer, you’ll really helping protect your teeth.

You could also look for something like a travel case, which does come provided with many toothbrushes around this price point. It’s not essential, it just can be handy if you’re on the move to protect the handle and the brush heads.

Probably the biggest thing you can invest in alongside a good electric toothbrush is learning how to brush your teeth correctly.

This may sound really simple but the technique for using an electric toothbrush is different to a manual and it’s quite possible that you’ve never been shown the correct way of brushing your teeth.

You can always speak to a dental professional who will gladly show you how to brush your teeth correctly.

If you brush your teeth with the correct technique, you’re going to make more significant improvements than investing in even the most expensive electric toothbrush. The most expensive electric toothbrush is not going to clean your teeth any better if you use it incorrectly.

To summarize.

Yes you can spend a lot of money on electric toothbrush. It will bring you additional features that you may benefit from. It’s by no means essential and spending up to about $50 is the maximum that you really need to spend to get a very good electric toothbrush that is going to serve most people very well over the course of time.

Does An Electric Toothbrush Remove More Plaque?

Yes, it does. Here is how electric toothbrushes can remove more plaque. What studies have been done to prove that they remove more plaque?

Keep in mind that when we say they are removing more plaque, this is in comparison to manual toothbrushes.

A correctly used manual toothbrush is perfectly capable for cleaning your teeth. However, studies have confirmed that an electric toothbrush can remove more plaque than a manual brush.

Plaque is a buildup of bacteria that forms mostly around the gum line of the teeth. And if you don’t remove it, it can harden into tartar or calculus. This can further worsen your oral health and can cause conditions such as gingivitis and gum disease.

An electric toothbrush can remove more plaque if you are using it correctly. It is critical to remember that the way you use an electric toothbrush is somewhat different to the way that you would use a manual toothbrush.

There are several studies that have tested the efficacy of plaque removal by an electric toothbrush.

The best independent research has been done by a research group Cochrane. They examined data from studies from 1964 through 2011. Over 5,000 people had taken part in these studies.

The data distinctly proved that electric toothbrushes had removed more plaque.

There was an 11% reduction in plaque at 30 days to 90 days of use. And there was a 21% reduction in plaque when assessed after 90 days of use.

For gingivitis, there was a 6% reduction at 4 weeks to 12 weeks of use. And an 11% reduction when assessed after 12 weeks of use.

Another 11-year study found that 36.9% of the people had better oral health after using an electric toothbrush.

Do Electric Toothbrushes Damage Teeth?

This is a commonly asked question and the short answer is no.

An electric toothbrush will not normally damage the teeth, However, there is a particular circumstance in which a toothbrush could do damage to the teeth,

What that circumstance is?

An electric toothbrush relies on you to actually handle and control the toothbrush in the mouth and move it across the teeth surfaces.

It is us, the human, that holds the toothbrush that is normally the reason as to why an electric toothbrush could do damage to the teeth.

Many people actually brush their teeth with too much force, they’re applying too much pressure as they brush their teeth.

They’re scrubbing the teeth really hard and this hard brushing can actually wear away and damage the enamel as well as the soft gum tissues that you have around your teeth.

This is the cause primarily behind electric toothbrushes doing damage to the teeth. But the electric toothbrushes only cause that damage because it’s you controlling the toothbrush that has applied too much pressure.

If the toothbrush is used correctly, it won’t cause any damage to the tooth surfaces.

In fact, a 2012 study, has actually found that an electric toothbrush does less damage to the teeth than a manual toothbrush.

The approach to use to brush your teeth is quite specific with an electric toothbrush and it’s different to a manual brush.

There are many stories, some of which have been sensationalized online or circulate among family and friends that suggest an electric toothbrush can do damage to their teeth.

But the evidence really lacks to prove that the electric toothbrush is the cause.

Dentists have no reason to believe an electric toothbrush will damage the teeth and the clinical data seems to back this up as well.

Independent research organization Cochrane actually conducted a review of clinical studies into toothbrushes and they actually found that on average you’re going to get a 21% improvement in the oral health of your mouth by using an electric toothbrush.

An electric toothbrush will not normally damage the teeth unless is used incorrectly by the user.

Can An Electric Toothbrush Get Wet?

The short answer is yes. In most instances an electric toothbrush can get wet. However, it’s not quite as simple as that and it can depend on the toothbrush that you have.

What we mean by wet is a toothbrush should survive a quick rinse under the tap, a splash for some water, a splash from toothpaste and saliva that it is naturally going to be exposed to.

In the vast majority of cases, manufacturers have designed their toothbrushes to be protected against some moisture. However it can vary from one particular toothbrush or one particular brand of toothbrush to another.

It’s important to check the manufacturer’s specifications and/or the manual that comes provided with your electric toothbrush. Because it really can differ and the amount of water that they can be exposed to differs as well.

In the vast majority of cases, whilst the electric toothbrush has protection from water, most manufacturers will as a safety precaution suggest that you don’t use them whilst bathing.

If you specifically want to use your toothbrush in the shower or the bath, you better check the rating that your manufacturer gives to your electric toothbrush.

Another thing to note is that many people use the term water resistant and waterproof interchangeably, when in fact they mean two different things.

Waterproof will generally mean that water will never affect the electric toothbrush, where water resistant will mean that the toothbrush will resist water or moisture ingression to a certain point. However, there will come a time where that water will become too much and the toothbrush could fail.

In the case of an electric toothbrush, we don’t really need to worry too much about those subtleties.

The key thing to know is we really don’t recommend, unless the manufactures explicitly states, to use your toothbrush in the shower or the bath.

You definitely want to avoid actually submerging the toothbrush fully. You can generally get away with it in the shower because the water is dripping off the toothbrush and the toothbrush is not consistently under water.

Don’t leave your toothbrush in the bottom of the bath. That’s generally not recommended and it will likely fail and potentially could cause the risk of electrocution.

The way in which the water resistance or protection of an electric toothbrush is rated is via a scale known as an IP rating. This is an internationally recognized scale that applies to many different devices and products.

Essentially an IP rating is made up of two parts: a protrusion protection and a moisture protection.

You’ll see an IP rating of IP followed by two numbers and those two numbers range from 0 through to 9. The first number refers to the protrusion protection, whilst the second number refers to the moisture protection.

We’re more specifically interested in the second number, the moisture protection.

Typically with an electric toothbrush, you’re going to see them rated as IPX4 – IPX7. Generally IPX4, IPX5, IPX6 and IPX7. That 4, 5, 6, 7 number actually relates to the amount of water they can withstand.

An IPX4 rating means a toothbrush can withstand persistent splashes for up to a period of 10 minutes, whereas an IPX7 rating means that the toothbrush can withstand 30 minutes submerged in water between a depth of 15 centimeters and one meter.

As you can see there’s quite a considerable bit of difference in terms of what a toothbrush can withstand with those IP ratings.

Whilst it doesn’t necessarily apply in all cases, generally the more you pay or the more premium brand you go for, the better the water protection is going to be.

The vast majority of toothbrushes are going to certainly withstand a quick splash of water and a rinse under the tap but there are certainly products that can withstand a lot more water. You just need to be clear whether your toothbrush falls into that category, so refer to your manufacturers description product specification or the manual.

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