Brushing your teeth is one of the most important things you can do to keep your teeth and gums healthy. While manual brushes have been used to accomplish this task for many years, many dentists now recommend electric toothbrushes. If you were to ask them why, they would say that you can achieve a deeper clean with an electric brush. While this is certainly true, there’s actually more to it.

Manual Toothbrushes

The biggest question for most consumers is whether or not they can get the same job done with a manual toothbrush, since they’re a lot cheaper and offer more variety. There are various sizes of manual toothbrushes with both straight and angled heads, as well as bristles of various textures. Manual toothbrushes are also more flexible.

Benefits of Electric Toothbrushes

Electric toothbrushes have several advantages of their own that are hard to ignore.

  1. Faster brushing. The average person’s hand can’t compete with the speed of an electric toothbrush. When you consider how often you brush sloppily because you’re pressed for time, it’s easy to see why having an electric brush would be advantageous. It’s bristles swirl very rapidly, easily sweeping away more plaque and food particles in less time than a manual brush.
  1. Easier brushing. Electric toothbrushes take most of the effort out of brushing your teeth. All you have to do is apply the toothpaste, turn it on and move it across your teeth.
  1. Deeper cleaning. Because of their design, electric toothbrushes are better able to reach difficult areas than manual brushes. Areas near the gums and between teeth are known havens for bacteria. Electric brushes move fast and deep, reaching deep into these curves and crevices, scrubbing away layers of plaque that are often missed by manual brushes.
  1. Painless cleaning. One common issue with manual brushes is that people often put more pressure on them, thinking that this will result in cleaner teeth. This usually isn’t the case and it may actually result in sore teeth and gums. The bristles on an electric brush are stiff enough to do the job, but soft enough to avoid irritation. Because of their rapid action, you don’t have to apply much pressure for an effective cleaning.
  1. Easier to handle. Elderly persons and those with arthritis or other hand problems may find that it’s much easier to brush their teeth with an electric toothbrush.

Overbrushing and Your Gums

As important as it is to brush properly, you can overdo it much more easily with a manual toothbrush. Vigorous brushing wears down the enamel and can push the gums back, exposing the root area. Receding gums can lead to other problems like periodontal disease and painful, hidden cavities on the roots that may require extraction.

Electric toothbrushes are a great way to avoid developing these types of problems. Some models actually have built-in sensors that flash red lights, or even stop working, if you press too hard. Many of them also come with timers that can keep you from overbrushing.

The best type of brush for you depends largely on your needs and expectations. If you have problems with your gums, wear braces or have a tendency to be rough when brushing, you may find that an electric brush is better. Regardless of whether you use a manual or electric toothbrush, what’s important is that you’re brushing correctly and having regular checkups.

Joe Boyle is a dental assistant who writes about dental topics in his spare time. I guess you could say he’s really got his teeth into dentistry!! His articles appear on lifestyle as well as health sites.

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