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How to brush your teeth: using an electric toothbrush

Brushing your teeth is an essential part of everyone's oral health routine. Whether you use a manual or electric toothbrush, your teeth should be brushed twice a day; in the morning and the last thing before you go to sleep.

Depending on how effectively you brush or how busy your life style, you might find that an electric toothbrush is better for your oral health. There is no doubt that electric toothbrushes are more efficient than manual ones and there are many objective studies to prove this (Cochrane 2014).

The great thing about electric toothbrushes is that they are easy to use and require you to just place the head in the correct position and let the brush do all the work; no having to learn a circular brushing motion or correct sweeping motion away from the gums. Most of them also have timers that let you know when to change position and how long to brush for. This is very useful as you know that you have brushed for the recommended amount of time. Some of the higher end models allow you to connect your toothbrush to your mobile phone, monitor your brushing and alert you if you miss some spots or if you're pressing too hard. You can also send your brushing history to your dentist from the apps on your phone although you may want to keep that private if it's not flattering! This new technology can be a great motivator to achieving good oral health. Whichever toothbrush you choose make sure you opt for soft bristles, which are gentler on the teeth and gums than hard bristles.

There are many electric toothbrushes on the market, the most well known probably being Sonicare (Philips) and Oral B (Procter & Gamble). Both are very effective but have different cleaning actions.

Sonicare works on a high frequency sonic action (they call it hydrosonic), which feels more like a vibration while Oral B works on rotation-oscillation motion, which feels more like a scrubbing action. It's best to have a look and feel of the brush handles before making a decision. We have examples of each at ARK Dental Practice so feel free to check them out when you attend for your appointment. We even have Sonicare heads for you to try before you buy. Our personal favourites are the Sonicare models.

Key points when comparing electric vs manual toothbrushes:

  • more effective than manual brushes at removing plaque

  • much easier technique than manual brushes

  • have timers which ensure you have brushed for the recommended amount of time


Watch the video on the Philips Sonicare DiamondClean Smart toothbrush

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