Karen Kelly RDH
As a dental hygienist, one of my most frequently asked questions is, ‘There are so many toothbrushes, which one should I use or should I just switch to an electric toothbrush?’. My response is, first, always use a SOFT name brand toothbrush (I know stores sell medium and even hard toothbrushes but don’t buy them!!) and second to make sure you are brushing correctly at least 2 times daily and brushing for at least 2 minutes. When I say correctly, I mean to aim the toothbrush up into the gums at a 45 degree angle.
Properly angled brushing
Unhealthy vs. healthy gum tissue
I see lots of people who do brush their teeth, but since they don’t actually brush along the gumline, their gums are red and puffy. So, brush the gums like you are giving them a massage; use little back and forth or circular motions. Don’t use long scrubbing strokes, it is abrasive! Then floss and/or use an interdental cleaner of some kind each and every day. No matter how good a toothbrush is and how good someone brushes, it’s impossible to get in between the teeth clean with just a brush. Also, change your brush often! When the bristles begin to flare out or it’s been 3 months, change it, it makes a difference to use a new brush.
If your brush looks like this, throw it out!
A brand new SOFT toothbrush
If you brush really well with a manual toothbrush, you probably won’t see that much of a difference if you were to switch to an electric toothbrush. The problem is, many people don’t clean their teeth that well with a manual toothbrush so that’s where the electric toothbrush can really help. We recommend 2 brands of the electric brushes, the Sonicare and the Oral-B Braun. These are not the battery powered toothbrushes, these brushes plug into the wall and have a rechargeable battery. They just have so much more brushing action than a manual toothbrush that even if you aren’t that great of a brusher, you can do an excellent job if you use one of these brushes daily. In a recent study conducted by the National Institute of Health, they stated, “The subject group using the powered toothbrush demonstrated clinical and statistical improvement in overall plaque scores. Powered toothbrushes offer an individual the ability to brush the teeth in a way that is optimal in terms of removing plaque and improving gingival health, conferring good brushing technique on all who use them, irrespective of manual dexterity or training.”(1) In another study, “the Sonicare DiamondClean toothbrush was found to be safe and significantly superior to a manual toothbrush in reducing gingivitis, sites of gingival bleeding and plaque over time. DiamondClean reduced gingivitis and gingival bleeding sites up to two times more and removed up to four times more plaque than a manual toothbrush after four weeks of use.”(2) Sonicare also states that their ‘DiamondClean toothbrush effectively removed extrinsic tooth stain within one and two weeks of use, and it was significantly superior to a manual toothbrush at both one and two week checks.'(3) On the Oral B website, they state that their Professional Precision 5000 toothbrush has produced these results: 34% less gingival bleeding at 6 months vs. a regular manual toothbrush and 29% lower gingival bleeding scores at 3 months vs. Sonicare® FlexCare (4)
It is still important to use the powered toothbrush 2 times daily for at least 2 minutes and allow the toothbrush to clean along the gumline. If you have an electric toothbrush but it mostly sits on your counter, that doesn’t count when we ask if you use an electric toothbrush!
Philips Sonicare DiamondClean
Oral-B® Professional Precision 5000
Electric toothbrushes come in many different models and prices. Take a look at a store like Target or Walgreens, they have lots of choices so you can find one that will fit your budget and taste. We carry our favorite electric brushes and replacement brush heads in our office as well, and we are happy to answer any questions you might have about toothbrushes. I like to answer questions about brushes so much that I go to Target and walk up and down the dental isle just so I can give advice to shoppers!!
So, remember what I tell my younger patients: 2 times a day for 2 minutes. It’s easy to do and easy to remember!
Karen Kelley R.D.H.
Just some fun photos to make you smile!