Electric vs. Manual:
Of course you can do a good job of protecting your smile with either option but you may find the electric to be a bit simpler because it will do the cleaning for you…you just have to hold it in the right spot! Additionally, you may find less risk of causing more gum recession if you properly use an electric vs. the manual option because so much back and forth scrubbing isn’t required. Another factor to consider when making this choice is cost: electric brushes are expensive up front compared to manual brushes, and the replacement heads can really add up because your bristles need to be replaced every 3-4 months with either option.
Choosing between Electric vs. Manual comes down to ease of use vs. cost in our minds. You really can’t go wrong if you remember the following:
If you choose to stick with the old trusty manual brush, you’ll want to refresh your technique. Dr. McAdams recommends brushing for a full 2 minutes and focusing on 1-2 teeth at a time instead of a whole section of teeth to reduce your tendency to overscrub your gums. You will want to choose a brush head shape that fits your mouth…small mouth? Small brush head! Bigger teeth…you get the idea! Make sure your brush makes it easy to reach all of the corners of your mouth where plaque tends to hide. Also, don’t forget the bristle type…Dr. McAdams is always saying that medium and hard bristles are better for cleaning grout or shoes than your sensitive teeth and gums…he ALWAYS wants you to use a soft bristled brush! A final thought about manual brushes…throw them away every 3-4 months when they start to fray, and replace them every time you get sick because your brush is a great place for germs to hang out and get you sick again!
Key points on manual tooth brushes: Use good technique to avoid gum issues, choose a brush head shape that best fits your mouth, ONLY buy soft bristles and replace it often.
If you go electric, you will find it is easier to brush effectively so avoid the temptation to overscrub. You bought this awesome tool so let it do the work for you! Again, you want to choose a brush head that will easily adapt to all areas of your mouth and you definitely want to stick with soft bristles for all of the reasons mentioned above. Dr. McAdams doesn’t endorse any particular brand of electric brush, but prefers to recommend a couple of cool features if you are looking for something fancy! Look into one with a timer so you don’t have to guess if you’ve been brushing long enough. Also, a sensor that reminds you not to press too hard is a very valuable investment.
Key points on electric brushes: Let it do the work for you! Choose an appropriately shaped brush head with SOFT bristles, and consider one with a timer and pressure sensor.
Now you have all of the info you need to make a good decision…pick the one that you will enjoy using and use it twice a day!
Would you like to learn more about the right tools to best care for your teeth, or are you just looking for a dentist who cares about your smile? If you are in the Phoenix area and looking for a dental home where your family is our top priority, maybe we are the office for you…we would love to meet you!
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For more on tooth brush selection read what the ADA has to say: