Why use an Electric Toothbrush?

Rachel Nelson RDH

Rachel Nelson, RDH

Why use an Electric Toothbrush?


  • Improved Plaque Removal: Studies have shown an improvement in plaque removal which can also reduce your chances of gingivitis.
  • Simple Use: For those with dexterity limitations, electric toothbrushes are created with those in mind; from larger handles to powered head rotation, almost anyone can enjoy the benefits of a more thorough cleaning.
  • Built-in Pressure Sensors and Timers: Oftentimes we do not notice “toothbrush abrasion” until we go to our dental appointments. This occurs when we use too much pressure and end up doing more harm than good. Many of the new powered toothbrushes provide a built-in sensor to tell us when our pressure is too great, and some even provide a timer so we are not tempted to work overtime.
  • Optional cleaning “modes”: If you desire whiter teeth, there’s a mode for that. There are also many other options based on your preference or need. Sensitive teeth are no longer a reason not to use one, as there is an option for that. If you have sensitive teeth or inflammed gums, the massage mode may be best for you. Regular cleaning and deep cleaning modes are also provided.
  • Environmentally more friendly: If you are changing out your toothbrush at the recommended every 3 months, think about how much plastic is being thrown away over the course of a lifetime. While eventually you will have to replace the body of your power toothbrush, the only thing you should have to replace for a long time is the head, which is smaller than a full size manual toothbrush, and therefore less harmful to the environment.
  • Child Friendly: Most stores, and many of the top companies such as Oral B, provide a large selection of child-size electric toothbrushes. There is a variety of options, some with Disney or other classic characters on them, some that play music, and others that can be linked to smart appliances such as phones or tablets to unlock fun games.  This is a great way to introduce children while young to the importance of a healthy homecare routine while allowing them to have fun while doing it.

Where to Purchase

  • Target
  • Walmart
  • Amazon
  • Walgreens
  • CVS
  • Best Buy
  • Bed Bath & Beyond
  • Costco
  • Sam’s Club

Caring for your Electric Toothbrush

Regular maintenance should include rinsing the head with water or mouthrinse and placing in an upright position to air dry.  Some companies, such as Sonicare, offer toothbrush head sanitizer.  Like the whole of a manual toothbrush, the head of your electric toothbrush should be replaced every 3 months; should the bristles become frayed, or in some cases if the color starts to fade, replace sooner. The body should be rinsed with water, unless otherwise directed, and gently wiped down.  Your toothbrush should be stored in a dry environment away from other toothbrushes to avoid transfer of bacteria.

Brands of Electric Toothbrush

Dental professionals have taken an interest in the increasing popularity of electric toothbrushes. Below are some of the top brands recommended:

  • Oral B
  • Sonicare
  • Sterline
  • Waterpik
  • Panasonic

When choosing an electric toothbrush, it is always important to do your own research.  Many studies and reviews are available online, many of which are done by dentists and other dental professionals themselves. Next time you are at the dentist, ask your hygienist what kind of toothbrush is right for you.

Want to learn more? Visit us at






1) https://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/oral-care/products/5-benefits-of-electric-toothbrushes5.htm

2) https://oralb.com/en-us/oral-health/why-oral-b/electric-toothbrushes/benefits-of-electric-toothbrush

3) http://www.electricteeth.co.uk/clean-electric-toothbrush-base-handle-heads/

4) https://trustedrev.com/reviews/electric-toothbrush/toothbrush-brands/

Cannabis and Your Oral Health


Andra Mahoney, RDH BSDH

Cannabis and Your Oral Health

Cannabis is illegal on the federal level.  However, as of March 2018, 30 states have legalized the use of either medical or recreational marijuana.  As this becomes more prevalent, we all need to become aware of the effects cannabis use has on our mouths.

Why people use Cannabis

-Sleep Problems

Reduce pain from:
-Multiple Sclerosis
-Spinal Cord Injuries
-Rheumatoid Arthritis

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder

Decrease seizures in Drug-resistant Epilepsy

Reduce Muscle Spasticity

Reduce Nausea and Vomiting related to Chemotherapy and AIDS treatments


Types of Marijuana

THC (tetrahydrocannabinol): the primary psychoactive compound of the plant.

CBD (cannabidiol): nonpsychoactive, does not produce the typical “high”.

Weed: leaves and buds of the female plant.

Hash: resin made from the plants.  Resin can be dried into blocks.

Hash Oil: most potent form, applied to different items.


Ways to Administer

Inhalation: smoked in cigarettes (joints), pipes (bongs), hollowed out cigars (blunts), hookah pipes.  Alternatives to smoking include vaping, inhaling a fine mist caused by heating the marijuana instead of burning it.  Dabbing is when hash oil is made into a wax and heated to a vapor in a glass pipe.

Oral: edibles (food or beverages), capsules, sublingual (under your tongue), tinctures, or oromucosal sprays (mouth sprays).

Topical: creams, and oils.

Alternatives: suppositories.


Adverse Reactions

Physical Effects:
-Addiction is significantly greater with adolescent onset use as opposed to adult onset use.
-Myocardial Infarction (MI)
-Ischemic Stroke
-Acute Kidney Injury
-Respiratory, including lung cancer
-Nervous system disorder
-Dry Mouth
-Decrease development of brain’s white matter

Psychological Effects:
-Paranoia and anxiety are often found in the use of THC.
-Self Harm and suicidal behaviors
-Confusion, impaired functioning


Effects on your Mouth

The inhalation category referenced above has the most negative effect on your mouth.  Especially if used chronically.

-Increase in cavities/tooth lose due to poor hygiene
-Increase in cavities/tooth lose due to increase in sugary, carbohydrated foods
-Inflammation in gums resulting in higher risk for periodontitis (gum disease)
-Inflammation in gums resulting in leukoplakic (white) patches
-Xerostomia (dry mouth)
-Cannabis Stomatitis (changes in the lining of the mouth)
-Oral Cancer
-Negative interactions between local anesthetic and nitrous oxide



There are many reason why people use marijuana.  If you do, make sure you are informed on the risks and weigh those to the benefits you find in using cannabis.  If you smoke marijuana, look into alternative methods such as edibles or topical applications.  Visit your dental professionals regularly so that we can help keep you healthy!  Regular dental hygiene appointments to keep your teeth/gums healthy, oral cancer screenings, and any teeth restorations as needed.   But most importantly, make sure you find a place that you feel comfortable openly, safely discussing your cannabis use so that we, as oral health professionals, can provide you with the safest care possible.

Want to learn more? Visit us at









Yao, Suellan Go, DMD, and James Burke Fine, DMD. “Consumption of Cannabis and Effects of Periodontal Health.” CDA Journal Volume 45. Issue 9 (2017): 475-481. Print.

Coping With a Medical Emergency


Maria Ambra, RDH

Coping With a Medical Emergency

“Why are you asking me so many personal questions about my health? Are you my medical physician?”

“What does my blood pressure or my diabetes have to do with my cleaning?”

Several times during the day, as Dental Hygienists, we experience scenarios where patients ask these types of questions. Some patients believe that there is no correlation between the dental visit and their medical conditions.

Medical emergencies can occur when we least expect them; before, during or after dental procedures, especially when there is an underlying medical condition. Reviewing a complete medical history at each dental visit is the best way to be prepared or possibly prevent an emergency. It’s always prudent for us to ask you questions, or your physicians if you unsure why you take certain medications, to see if a medical conditions could impact dental treatment.

As dental hygienists, it is critical to evaluate the your current physical state, while a dental hygiene procedure is in progress. Either a simple prophylaxis or a Scale Root Planning, monitoring the your behavior during the dental visit is very important.


Some of the most common medical emergencies seen in dental offices are:


Local anesthetic reaction occurs when blood levels of anesthetic are too high or if the patient is allergic to components of the anesthetic (Sulfites). It is important for us to know what medications you are allergic to.


Syncope is the result from the loss of blood flow to the brain and can affect anyone of any age at any time.


Blood glucose disorders can occur in diabetic patients that can experience either Hyperglycemia or Hypoglycemia. It is important for us to ask the you your current HbA1C level.


Hyperventilation is abnormal, rapid breathing that decreases carbon dioxide levels in the blood usually caused by anxiety.  Keeping open communication with us on your anxiety levels can help us avoid this.  There are several things you can talk to the Dentist about to help reduce your anxiety.


Asthma is a chronic lung disease characterized by coughing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath and wheezing. It is important for us to know if you have asthma, and important for you to bring your inhaler to your appointments.


Blood Pressure monitoring is also very important before any dental procedure. Some people are most often not aware of any blood pressure conditions they might have.  It is important to get your blood pressure checked regularly.  If your medical physician tells you that you have high or low blood pressure, it is important for us to you so that it may not hinder any dental treatment.  It is also important and you take your medication as prescribed, especially before any dental procedures. We take your blood pressure before giving your anesthetic to reduce your risk of a medical emergency.

Want to learn more? Visit us at






American Academy of Allergy www.aaaai.org

The Anaphylaxis Campaign www.anaphylaxis.org

American College of Physician-American Society of Internal Medicine. www.acponline.org.