The Surprising Ways You Might Be Misusing Your Electric Toothbrush

The Surprising Ways You Might Be Misusing Your Electric Toothbrush

If you don’t brush your teeth properly you won’t be able to remove the bacteria that can attack tooth enamel, cause decay and infect the gums, all of which can also lead to tooth loss. Effective tooth brushing, together with cleaning between the teeth, is the best way to keep decay and gum disease at bay, but if you are going to use an electric toothbrush as part of your dental routine, it won’t be beneficial unless you’re using it correctly.

Whether you are new to an electric toothbrush or just want some tips on how to better use your existing one, we review the benefits of the powered brush, the mistakes you might be making and how to improve your technique.

Why Choose an Electric Toothbrush?

Research has shown that electric toothbrushes are more effective at removing plaque and preventing gum disease than manual brushes and here are just a few of the reasons why: 

More effective plaque removal: electric toothbrushes are generally more effective at removing plaque and bacteria from teeth and gums than manual toothbrushes. Studies have shown that electric toothbrushes can reduce plaque by 21% and gingivitis by 11% after three months of use, making them a more efficient tool for oral hygiene.

Easier for those with limited mobility: electric toothbrushes do most of the work for the user, making them particularly helpful for individuals with limited mobility such as those with carpal tunnel syndrome, arthritis, or developmental disabilities. The automated brushing motion of electric toothbrushes can assist in maintaining oral health for individuals who may struggle with manual brushing techniques.

Built-in timers: many electric toothbrushes come equipped with built-in timers that alert users when they have brushed for the recommended two minutes. This feature helps ensure that users brush their teeth for an adequate amount of time, promoting better oral hygiene practices and more thorough cleaning.

Improved focus while brushing: electric toothbrushes encourage concentrated and focused brushing patterns, reducing the likelihood of missing areas while brushing. This enhanced focus can lead to better oral health outcomes by ensuring a more comprehensive cleaning routine compared to manual brushing techniques.

Fun and engaging for children: electric toothbrushes can be more engaging for children who may not be interested in traditional brushing methods. The interactive nature of electric toothbrushes, coupled with brushes featuring their favourite characters, can help make oral cleaning more enjoyable for kids, encouraging good oral hygiene habits from a young age.

The Electric Toothbrush Mistakes You Might Be Making

It might sound like an easy transition, moving from a manual to a powered toothbrush, but you’d be surprised at how even seasoned users are misusing their brushes. Common mistakes people make when using an electric brush are:

  • Not brushing for the recommended 2 minutes: one common mistake when using an electric toothbrush is not brushing for the recommended two minutes. Insufficient brushing time can lead to ineffective plaque removal and compromised oral hygiene. To maximise the benefits of an electric toothbrush, ensure you brush for the full two minutes to thoroughly clean your teeth and gums.
  • Not replacing the heads regularly or when they look worn: another mistake is not replacing worn-out brush heads regularly. Over time, bristles on toothbrush heads wear down, reducing their effectiveness in removing plaque and debris. It is essential to replace brush heads every three months or as recommended by the manufacturer, or your dentist, to maintain optimal cleaning performance and prevent bacterial buildup.
  • Using too much pressure when brushing: brushing too hard with a powered toothbrush can damage tooth enamel, irritate gums, and cause gum recession over time. The oscillating or rotating motion of electric toothbrushes is designed to do the work for you, so applying excessive pressure is unnecessary and can lead to oral health issues. To avoid this mistake, let the brush's bristles gently glide over your teeth and gums without pressing too hard.
  • Choosing the wrong brush settings: using the wrong settings on your toothbrush can impact its effectiveness in cleaning your teeth properly. Different models come with various settings such as sensitive, whitening, or deep clean modes. Selecting the appropriate setting based on your oral health needs ensures optimal cleaning results and prevents potential damage to your teeth and gums. Be sure to consult your dentist or follow the manufacturer's recommendations for the best brush setting for your specific dental requirements.

Electric Toothbrushing Tips

At Riverside Dental Spa we want everyone to get the most from their brushing technique, to help prevent tooth decay, gum disease and tooth loss. Here are a few helpful tips to help you reap the full benefits of using an electric toothbrush: 

  1. Charge the toothbrush - ensure your electric toothbrush is fully charged before use to maximise its cleaning power
  2. Apply toothpaste - put a pea-sized amount of toothpaste on the brush head before turning it on.
  3. Brushing technique - hold the brush at a 45-degree angle and move it slowly from tooth to tooth, spending a few seconds on each tooth's surface.
  4. Cover all surfaces - brush the outside, inside, and chewing surfaces of your teeth, including behind the back teeth.
  5. Gum line and tongue - direct the brush along the gum line gently and brush your tongue for fresh breath.
  6. Replace brush head - remember to replace the brush head every three months or when bristles show signs of wear for optimal cleaning effectiveness. 

For more tips on using your toothbrush effectively please ask at your next dental check up or hygiene appointment and we’ll be happy to advise and answer your questions.


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