What Makes a Quality Electric Toothbrush
Over the last 30 years I have seen thousands of patients interact with electric toothbrushes and I have personally seen the pros and cons of their use. In addition, I am constantly evaluating new toothbrushes.
When evaluating a good electric toothbrush, here is what to consider:
Plaque removal: The key job of a toothbrush is to remove plaque from teeth and gums. A quality toothbrush will remove plaque consistently and from all areas. By using a plaque score, which compares the levels of plaque a patient has between appointments, and the personal feel of the mouth after brushing, we can see how well the toothbrush attacks plaque. Americans, especially those eating a Western diet filled with refined carbohydrates, have thick plaque layers which sit on top of the biofilm, the protective layer referred to as “the skin of our teeth.” The biofilm is what nourishes the tooth, it keeps it moist and supplied with calcium. With too much plaque in the biofilm, the tooth won’t be able to get the nutrients it needs, which can lead to cavities.
Length of life: Most rechargeable toothbrushes should last two weeks before needing a new charge. Those with replaceable batteries should last a few weeks as well, long enough to take a week’s vacation without needing to replace the batteries.
Head shape and size: Head shape and size are important in accessing hard-to-reach areas, such as between the cheeks and molars.
Quality of bristles: Bristles make contact with the tooth; a bristle made of cheaper material will wear down quickly and become too sharp, scratching the enamel. But even a quality toothbrush needs the toothbrush head replaced often, at least every 3 months. Whenever possible, I recommend replacing the toothbrush head every month to ensure that it does not wear away the enamel.
Type of motion: For most people, daily brushing and plaque removal, a rotary oscillatory motion produces better results than sonic vibration (where the toothbrush head vibrates at high speeds)
Form:Ask the Dentist