How to choose an electric toothbrush

Dr Alistair Graham
Dr Alistair Graham

If you’re like most people, you’ll spend around 23 days brushing your teeth over your lifetime.

This is the estimated average, according to the Academy of General Dentistry. Seventy seconds per brushing session may seem excessive, when you stretch it out like that, but it’s still not enough.

We should brush for two to three minutes each time, once in the morning and once at night, which takes up roughly 70 days of the average lifetime.

If you’re going to spend that much time brushing your teeth, it’s definitely in your interest to use tools that deliver the best results.

A manual toothbrush works well, with the right technique, but an electric toothbrush is superior in many ways.

Benefits of using an electric toothbrush:

Electric toothbrushes can remove food and plaque from your teeth and gums more effectively than manual toothbrushes, by delivering a deeper cleaning. This helps to keep decay, gingivitis and gum disease at bay.

You can time the session

It’s difficult to keep track of the time you spend brushing your teeth when this routine is second nature. We recommend using an electric brush that comes with an in-built timer that beeps or vibrates every 30 seconds (the amount of time you should spend on each quadrant of your mouth) and at 2 minutes, to let you know you’re done.

This way, you can safely let your mind drift, without compromising oral hygiene!

Deeper cleaning

Electric toothbrushes move at a faster speed and the rotating head allows you to reach further into your mouth, targeting hard to reach areas. If you have sensitive gums or braces, you can choose a model that allows you to lower the speed and pressure.

Easier to navigate

An electric toothbrush requires less energy from you, since the movement is automatically powered by technology. All you have to do is gently move the brush, for the recommended amount of time.

This is a good option for older Australians and people with restricted movement in their arms or hands.

Fun for children

Anyone with young children knows it can be an uphill struggle to get them to brush their teeth. An electric toothbrush adds a touch of fun and magic to this routine, which makes your job a lot easier! You can even choose colourful designs and patterns.

What to look for when choosing an electric toothbrush:

Not all electric toothbrushes were created equal. You’re looking to spend anything from $30 to $370, so there are a range of options available.

Rechargeable is best

Although this costs more than than battery operated varieties, you can recharge these toothbrushes from the AC adaptor that’s included. This means you don’t have to worry about changing batteries over time (which costs more in the long-run and isn’t good for the environment).

Choose a small head with oscillation movement

A small head will help clean those stubborn spots that are tricky to reach. We find that brushes that move in a back and forth oscillation movement are more effective than those with a simple circular motion. Steer clear of electric brushes that have a vibration function, but no movement.

Removable brushes – The ability to remove toothbrushes means that other people in your household can use the same unit (by attaching their own brush head). Make sure the brushes are different colours, so you can easily identify your own.

Even if you’re the only one using this technology, steer clear of units that don’t allow you to change brushes, as this means you have to replace the entire thing!

Built-in functions

Timer – This is worth saying again, since not all electric brushes come with this feature, but it’s a handy addition that encourages people to brush for 2 minutes.

Speed – It helps if you can choose different speeds and pressures, depending on the sensitivity of your gums and teeth.

Indicator bristles – Some brushes feature bristles that slowly lose their colour and fade to white when it’s time to change them (usually every three months). Although this isn’t necessary, it’s a good way to keep track.

An electric toothbrush doesn’t substitute good oral hygiene

Although cleaning your teeth with an electric toothbrush makes the job easier, you still need to take proper care of your mouth by maintaining a solid brushing and flossing routine. It’s also a good idea to visit your dentist for regular check ups and to remove any stubborn plaque that has built up over time.

Contact our team at Mona Vale Dental if you’d like to book an appointment.

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Health insurance and payment plans

A portion of the costs may be covered by private health insurance, for patients with a comprehensive extras policy. At Mona Vale Dental, we offer health fund rebates and accept HICAPS, which means you only pay for the gap.

We also offer interest-free, extended and flexible payment plans so that people may get the procedure straight away (but pay gradually for the treatment).