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What are the different types of toothbrushes available?

The are 3 different types of toothbrushes are: –
Manual
— These types of brushes have a standard plastic handle with nylon bristles. They come in varying different sizes from really large heads to small heads with various bristle firmness which ranges from soft to hard. It is the most basic and common type of toothbrush available.

Battery powered — These toothbrushes are operated by batteries and are usually throw away brushes. They are quite similar to manual toothbrushes however they have a slight vibration present when brushing.

Rechargeable Electric — These quite often are confused with battery powered toothbrushes however they have completely different modes of action. The handle is reused and charged, in most cases weekly, and the brush heads are changed every 3 months. The two main types are oscillating-rotating and sonic action.

Can using an electric toothbrush damage my teeth?

People that predominately use manual brushes can initially find the sensation of an electric toothbrush slightly bizarre to start with so it takes a little longer to get used to the different feeling. However, research suggests an electric toothbrush is less likely to cause damage to the teeth than a manual toothbrush, especially when there is a pressure sensor indicator present. Clinically this is evident too with far less people having abrasion cavities present when an electric brush is used as in most cases less pressure is exerted on the tooth surface plus it also deters the ‘scrubbing’ motion, backwards and forwards, which is frequently adopted when cleaning with a manual brush.

What are the benefits of using an electric toothbrush?

There are many benefits to using an electric toothbrush which therefore makes it far superior to manual toothbrushes. One of the biggest issues with a manual toothbrush is adhering to brushing for the recommended 2 minutes, with the average time most people spend cleaning their teeth is approximately 30-40 seconds. Most electric brushes have a built-in timer which enables the user to know that they have been brushing for at least 2 minutes. Some brushes come with a visual as well as built in timer which further reinforces the correct time being spent brushing. 

As mentioned above some electric tooth brushes come with pressure sensors too to enable less force to be used. 

Technique is crucial when brushing ones’ teeth as having a good technique is more important than the force which is used. When using a manual toothbrush, it is usually recommended that you carry out the modified bass tech which involves brushing in small circular motions. When using an electric toothbrush, it’s much easier to adhere to a correct brushing technique as it essentially does the job for you making it easier to use. An independent study in 2005 suggested that using an oscillating-rotating electric toothbrush removes far more plaque than a manual toothbrush, therefore reducing gingivitis, which is a form of gum disease. 

It is recommended that you change your toothbrush/toothbrush head every 3 months. Some electric toothbrush heads come with an indicator that warns you when your brush needs changing. When using a manual toothbrush it is hard to keep track of when your brush was changed, therefore most people will use for longer than is recommended and people that over brush will replace their manual toothbrush far too frequently due to the bristles splaying from exerting too much force.

How do I know what toothbrush is best to use?

Due to the variety of toothbrushes present it is always best to consult a dentist or dental hygienist for advice on which toothbrush to purchase as not all toothbrushes, whether it be a manual or electric, are suited to everybody. Using an electric toothbrush doesn’t have to cost a fortune, plus every toothbrush is tailored to each individual’s needs, so seek advice prior to purchasing any dental products.

Natalie Laduso

Dental Hygienist