Should I go and buy an electric toothbrush?
A question I get asked fairly often is, “Dr Dan, should I go and buy an electric toothbrush?” Often what they are wanting to know is whether the cost is worth the benefit. Perhaps they haven’t seen a dentist in a while and they are facing some heavy plaque removal or tooth restoration, or they have taken a renewed interest in their oral health and want to make sure they are doing everything right. Perhaps you are wondering the same thing.
To be honest, it doesn’t really matter.
Yes, there are studies about electric toothbrushes removing x% more plaque and others saying that there’s no difference. It’s a debatable topic for sure.
Regardless of your type of toothbrush, what’s more important is that you are:
Brushing for 2 mins twice a day with toothpaste
Only using a light pressure (akin to dusting)
Replacing your toothbrush regularly
This is what is going to maximise your plaque removal. An electric toothbrush isn’t a ticket to brushing or flossing less.
Now that that’s said, there are some categories of people that may benefit more from an electric toothbrush particularly:
Children: those who are reluctant to brush their teeth may find the novelty of an electric toothbrush appealing. These toothbrushes often have in-built timers as well, which can also assist children to brush for the full 2 mins.
People with dexterity challenges (e.g. elderly, those with arthritis or repetitive wrist strain): an electric toothbrush requires less movement, so may be easier for these people to manage.
In the end it’s really a personal choice if you want to spend the money. My advice would be to invest first in making sure you and your family are all using non-frayed toothbrushes and a quality floss that doesn’t shred.
Happy brushing! Have a great day!