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70A YorkTown Road, Sandhurst, Berkshire, GU47 9BT

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1st June 2015

Electric V Manual Toothbrush

‘What toothbrush should I use?’ is the most frequent question asked by our patients. There are advantages to using an electric toothbrush over manual versions, but this does not apply to everyone. As with all products and new gadgets there are always pros and cons. Our dental and hygiene teams help answer your questions to make sure you are using the right brush for your teeth. We demonstrate how to use all types of brushes (we have models of all major brands in each surgery) so we help perfect your technique. As yet there is no one magic brush that can tackle all dental problems as each brush type is suited to each patient.

How do you use a Manual Toothbrush?

Several factors need to be considered before we discuss brushing techniques. Always use fluoride-containing toothpaste because it is this chemical we are trying to get in and around the teeth. The mild abrasives found in toothpaste work in conjunction with the nylon brushes to take away stain, food debris, plaque and bacteria. The recommended time is two minutes and this is the answer we get when we ask all patients how long they brush for. Two minutes of brushing is a very long time and unless you have a clock or timer in the bathroom you will not know how long two minutes actually is. 45 seconds is the average brushing time of the UK population!

There are many toothbrushes out on the market but most are very difficult to use. Ideally use a smaller headed toothbrush as this will help get to hard to reach areas. The brushing technique we recommend is small circular motion aimed towards the tooth gum margin. We find this produces the best results. The worst for your gums but unfortunately the most common is the dreaded scrub technique which causes gum loss and sensitivity.
Problems we find with manual toothbrushes are that patients use large brush heads, scrub their gums away and don’t brush for the recommended 2 minutes.

What type of electric toothbrush are there today?

The different motions of the electric toothbrush are listed below. Different companies use different mechanisms in their brush heads.

  • Rotating- as the name implies these spin in one direction and represent earlier models
  • Rotating and Oscillating- these brush heads are small and round and move clockwise and anti clockwise in rapid succession
  • Pulsating- the brush head moves towards and away from the tooth along with a rotational movement
  • Counter oscillating- one set of bristles move one way while the others move in an opposite direction
  • Side to side vibrating- this brush shakes very very quickly causing a humming vibration that cleans the tooth and shakes the water around it

Common features that they all share are they the mostly have a two minute timer and that they have small heads. This means that you will actually brush for two minutes and you find it easier to use are the brush head is easier to control.

Each type of brush head cleans differently. There is no evidence to say that one is better than the other but when used correctly they can provide superior results then manual toothbrushing alone. The mechanics involved in current electric toothbrushes provides you with the ability for a nicer whiter smile. Before purchasing a toothbrush it is best to speak one of our care team who will be more than happy to advise you the right one for your needs.

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