Technology helps us improve everyday life in multiple ways, from making the shopping list to programming the thermostat. But can technology improve a toothbrush? Yes and no. With proper brushing habits , a person can effectively clean their teeth with a manual toothbrush. Still, if you're willing to invest in an electric toothbrush
, it can provide additional benefits and useful features to your brushing routine.
What is an electric toothbrush?
An electric toothbrush is a battery-operated device that incorporates a cleaning head with bristles that vibrate or rotate on the teeth. In general, electric toothbrushes can be divided into three categories, although things get complicated as new models with multiple features emerge. These general categories are:
Oscillating rotating toothbrushes. These toothbrushes have small circular heads that rotate back and forth to clean each of the teeth. Some models combine this rotary function with vibration and pulsation to remove more plaque.
Sonic toothbrushes. Sonic toothbrushes have vibrating heads that move the bristles from side to side at high speeds. To be considered a sonic toothbrush, the vibration must be fast enough to produce an audible hum. The sonic toothbrushes available on the market offer frequencies of 50,000 movements per minute and higher.
Ultrasonic toothbrushes. Rather than relying on physical movement to perform their function, ultrasonic toothbrushes use a high frequency of ultrasound vibration to remove plaque and food debris. Ultrasound generates waves at a frequency inaudible to humans, and current ultrasonic toothbrushes work with frequencies ranging from 20 kHz to 10 MHz, according to the publication of the Dentistry Journal . This amounts to more than 1,200 million movements per minute! Ultrasonic brushes can break down plaque without movement, but most models also include sonic vibration to remove even more plaque and residual food.
What are the benefits of an electric toothbrush?
You don't need an electric toothbrush to have clean, healthy teeth (a manual toothbrush will do), but some research suggests it helps maintain gum health and reduce cavities . An 11-year study published in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology found that the use of an electric toothbrush resulted in a 22% reduction in pocket formation and gingival recession and an 18% reduction in the progression of tooth decay. Electric toothbrush users also kept 19.5% more mouthparts than manual toothbrush users. Other investigationThe result of 18 studies supports this finding, showing that sonic toothbrushes reduce plaque and gingivitis more effectively than manual toothbrushes over a three-month period analyzed.
Features of electric toothbrushes
Electric toothbrushes can also bring benefits thanks to the many features that help improve brushing technique. Some of them are:
Timer Many models of electric toothbrushes come with a two-minute timer to help you adhere to the recommended time. Some toothbrushes buzz or beep every 30 seconds to allow equal time to be allocated to each quadrant of the mouth.
Pressure sensor. If you tend to brush excessively, some models include an anti-abrasion sensor that activates when too much pressure is put on your teeth.
Larger handle. Electric toothbrushes come with wide, comfortable handles that make it easier to grip or use for people with arthritis or certain medical conditions than a conventional toothbrush.
Cleaning modalities. Some electric toothbrushes incorporate different modalities, so you can choose how to clean according to your oral hygiene goals. For example, they may have a gentler mode for sensitive teeth.
Reminders. Your electric toothbrush may also remind you to change the brush head every three months to improve its effectiveness rather than brushing with worn bristles.
Smartphone applications. High-end models can even offer Bluetooth connectivity and built-in sensors connected to a smartphone app to keep track of your brushing routine. There are also children's apps to promote healthy oral care habits from the earliest years.
What electric toothbrush do I have to use?
The best electric toothbrush will be the one that is most comfortable for you. There is sufficient evidence to support the use of oscillating rotating toothbrushes or sonic toothbrushes, and your choice depends on personal preference. However, the most important thing is to use the proper brushing technique . To choose the ideal electric toothbrush, be guided by these criteria:
Easy to use. The toothbrush has to make brushing more comfortable, not more complicated.
Comfortable design. The handle has to be easy to grip, and the design of the head and bristles has to adapt to the mouth.
Soft bristles. Choose soft bristles to clean your teeth without damaging your gums or tooth enamel .
If you still have doubts about which is the best electric toothbrush for you, ask your dentist for advice. They can recommend the model that best suits your needs and show you how to take advantage of technology to your advantage. If used properly, an electric toothbrush can provide substantial benefits for a healthy, radiant smile.
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