This article focuses on the need for and benefits derived directly from using electric toothbrushes of either type instead of the handheld toothbrushes of our childhoods and the childhoods of our parents and grandparents.
The ways in which electric toothbrushes justify the term ‘needed’ as opposed to just being preferred include the following:
1. The powered motion of the brush heads on any electric tooth brush will provide more thorough and more even brushing action to your teeth than all but the most highly disciplined of manual tooth brushers;
2. Many of the available electric toothbrushes have built-in timers that help users continue to brush long enough to really do their job. Too many of us become tempted to finish the job too quickly to really clean our teeth;
3. Because the motion of the brushes is powered in an electric toothbrush, the user is less apt to use more force than is necessary or healthy in brushing. This is an issue, most especially, when it comes to the need to include your gums in the brushing activity;
4. Electronic toothbrushes not only brush the teeth, but, used correctly also provide necessary massage to the gums. Any dentist dental hygienist will tell you that it is not possible to sustain healthy teeth in unhealthy gums;
5. Electric toothbrushes also get under the gums as they work, thereby providing some prophylactic (preventative) help against the development of Gingivitis, a common cause of gum deterioration and related tooth loss;
6. Brushing manually can be very effective in surface cleaning, but electronic toothbrushes have been shown to provide a reliably deeper and more thorough cleaning than even the most dedicated hand-brusher is likely to achieve;
7. For people who suffer from any kind of RSI (Repetitive Stress Injury), Carpel Tunnel Syndrome, or arthritic condition in their hand or wrist, electric toothbrushes are a real boon as they reduce the amount and intensity of wrist action and strength required to get the job done;
8. The powered brush does most of the work. The user need only follow the directions somewhat unique to each make and model, and put the brush head where it needs to be to assure a thorough job;
9. Brush heads need to be changed as often as hand-held brushes should be replaced – Usually every six months or so. They do cost more than manual toothbrushes. This is probably a good item to use in recalling the usual validity of the old saw, “You get what you pay for.” And finally,
10. Electric toothbrushes tend to be far more efficient in their use of toothpaste as it, generally, needs be applied to the brush head only one time per brushing and, perhaps not so surprisingly, not much more than a dab is usually needed.
Electric toothbrushes take some getting used to. I tried many over the years. I settled on a plug-in (a Sonicare Elite) at home and a portable (Colgate) battery powered one when traveling. The latter are quite inexpensive.
Be sure to read the directions: You don’t use it as though it were a heavier manual toothbrush! Your mouth will thank you.