Beautiful, healthy smiles are our ultimate goal. Caring for your teeth at home plays a key role in achieving this goal. This starts with eating balanced meals, reducing snacks, and thoroughly cleaning your teeth. But what’s the best way to clean your teeth at home?

Electric toothbrushes are growing in popularity, and our patients often ask, “Should I be using an electric toothbrush?” Dr. Coates shares the results of studies on the subject, the benefits of electric toothbrushes over manual toothbrushes, and how to properly care for your teeth no matter which you choose.

Electric vs. Manual Toothbrushes

A new study suggests that electric toothbrushes are more effective at cleaning teeth and gums than manual toothbrushes. According to the 11-year study, electric toothbrushes deliver healthier gums, reduced tooth decay, and longer life for teeth. This is especially true for the type of electric toothbrushes with oscillating heads.

A 2014 Cochrane Collaboration study favored electric toothbrushes over manual ones because they do a better job of eliminating plaque. 56 clinical trials, including participants of more than 5,000 adults and children, showed an 11% reduction in plaque in the first 3 months, with a 21% reduction after this time. The rate of gingivitis in this group was reduced by 6% in the first 3 months, with 11% after 3 months.

The reason behind the better performance of electric toothbrushes could boil down to the effectiveness of the toothbrush and the timers that ensure users brush for the recommended time of 2 minutes.

Consumer marketing analysis firm Mintel found that only 36% of adults say that they use an electric toothbrush. They are most popular in older age groups with higher incomes. The cost of an electric toothbrush often keeps them loyal to their manual versions, with manual toothbrushes costing less than $10 and electric toothbrushes ranging between $20 and $250. Fortunately, they are becoming more affordable each year. Dental professionals agree that the cost is worth it.

Dentists warn that it’s important to remember that the brush is doing all the work when using an electric toothbrush. Just don’t apply pressure when using the brush to avoid harmful effects.

Whether you choose a manual or electric toothbrush, know that tapered or angled bristle brush heads are more effective at plaque reduction. Soft bristles are always the best choice to reduce the risk of gum and enamel damage.

The Importance of Proper Oral Care

With both manual and electric toothbrushes, the most important thing is that you have a good routine for your oral health. Dr. Coates recommends brushing for at least 2 minutes twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and flossing at least once each day. This eliminates the bacteria that cause plaque and prevents tooth decay and gum disease.

Caring for Your Teeth at Home

Visiting your dentists for regular visits and cleanings is essential, but when you’re at home, it’s best to:

  • Hold your toothbrush at a 45º angle to get between the teeth and gums to reach harmful bacteria.
  • Gently brush using a small circular motion.
  • Focus on brushing 2 teeth at a time and working around your mouth.
  • Use the tip of the brush to clean the inside of the front teeth.
  • Touch every surface of each tooth and the surface of your tongue.
  • Replace your toothbrush or toothbrush head every three to four months.
  • Floss daily to clean between the teeth and under the gumline.
  • Rinse with water after brushing and after meals if you’re unable to brush.

For more details on the best method of cleaning your teeth at home, check out Dr. Coates’s guide here.

Team Up with Dr. Coates for a Healthy Smile

Both manual and electric toothbrushes will keep your mouth healthy with a good oral health routine. Dr. Coates is happy to discuss both options with you during your consultation. Just remember that to prevent or decrease the risk of cavities and tooth decay, maintain your oral health with regular brushing with fluoride toothpaste, daily flossing, healthy eating, and visiting with us regularly!

Call the Long Beach dental office of Stephen Coates, DDS, at 562-434-6414 or schedule your appointment online.