Ever since the invention of the electric toothbrush, there has been debate over whether the electric toothbrush is better at teeth cleaning than the manual toothbrush. While there are circumstances where one may be better suited for a person than the other, when it comes down to it if both types of toothbrush are used correctly, you can get very similar results.
The most important thing is to brush your teeth effectively. To achieve this it is important to:
- Have a systematic approach which covers all areas of the mouth, teeth (all surfaces including in-between teeth), gums and tongue.
- Know the difference between a clean tooth and one that has plaque on it – you can generally feel plaque on your tooth as it feels furry to your tongue and is often located at the gum margins.
- Use a fluoridated toothpaste
- Brush twice a day
Teeth cleaning tips and techniques:
- Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and a small head. The small head allows you to reach the hard to get places.
- Use a small amount of fluoridated toothpaste.
- Brush near the gum line, holding the toothbrush at a 45 degree angle towards the gums to ensure that you clean the gums as well as your teeth.
- Use a circular motion, focusing on only one or two teeth at a time to ensure each tooth gets individual attention. Be careful not to brush with too much force and use small movements to ensure all surfaces are reached.
- Thoroughly clean all surfaces of each tooth in the upper arch – the surfaces which face the cheeks, the surfaces which face the tongue and palate, the chewing surfaces and then repeat for the lower arch.
- Brush for around 2 minutes.
- To clean the sides of teeth floss between your teeth daily.
- Gently brush your tongue to finish – lots of bacteria can exist on the tongue which can cause bad breath.
Once finished, you should be able to run your tongue over your teeth and they should feel very smooth and clean. If there are any furry bits, brush these areas again.
Electric toothbrushes may provide additional assistance to people with a reduced dexterity. Ailments such as arthritis can make tooth cleaning more difficult. The oscillating movement of electric toothbrushes can be of marked assistance in such circumstances.
The best way to keep your toothbrush clean
- Rinse: Wash off your toothbrush thoroughly with tap water every time you use it.
- Dry it out: Store your toothbrush in an area where it can dry between brushes. Keep the toothbrush in an upright position so the moisture drips away.
- Store away from the toilet: every time you flush the toilet, bacteria can run wild! While there is no research to suggest that a flushing toilet can leave bacteria on your toothbrush, it’s probably better to be safe than sorry – keep your toothbrush as far from the toilet as possible!
- Sharing is not caring: Never share toothbrushes! Bacteria from the mouth can easily be spread via the toothbrush, passing on cavity causing germs and other nasties. Also, try and make sure the toothbrushes in your bathroom aren’t touching where they are stored. A toothbrush holder with separate holes is better than a cup.
- To disinfect your toothbrush, soak in a chlorhexidine mouth rinse once a week for five minutes. Rinse with water after soaking.
- Replace either the manual toothbrush or the electric toothbrush heads every two to three months, sooner where they become too shaggy.
As the technological age advances, so do the weird and wacky inventions! The French have recently come up with an electric toothbrush that connects to your Smartphone via Bluetooth. Once downloaded, the app monitors your brushing time and can check whether you missed any hard to reach spots. Members of the family can compare results; kids are given points for the length of brushing time and how often they do it, encouraging them to brush regularly. Results can even be downloaded to your Dentist. We aren’t sure if this will catch on, but anything that encourages good oral hygiene is worth a try in our books!
Remember to visit your dentist every six months to have a professional teeth cleaning completed. This will ensure any issues are picked up early and help keep your mouth in top shape.
Book an appointment with your local centre, one of our caring and gently dentists can provide more advice on teeth cleaning methods.