The Electric Toothbrush – A Winner

New study finds that electric toothbrushes are better for your teeth and gums than a manual one.

An eleven year long study has concluded that those who use an electric toothbrush are less likely to have tooth decay and gum disease, and are likely to keep most of their teeth for longer.

This has been considered to be likely for some time by many dentists, but this study now provides evidence that this is the case.

We know that there are still many of our Cygnet Dental Practice patients who currently use a manual toothbrush, probably simply out of habit, so we thought that we would take a look in today’s blog, at why you might now consider changing.

Plaque removal

The key to keeping teeth healthy is to control the amount of plaque that collects on the teeth and the gum line. This plaque causes damage to the enamel on the teeth, making them considerably more vulnerable to tooth decay than those with strong and healthy enamel. The bacteria can also contribute to gum infections like gingivitis and periodontitis, the latter potentially leading to eventual tooth loss.

Whilst a manual toothbrush can remove much of the plaque, it has been shown that electric toothbrushes are much better at this, especially those with oscillating heads which rotate in both directions.

Gum recession

Although there may be other factors involved in cases where a patient’s gums have receded, such as age and hereditary factors; a large number of cases of this are caused by the patient exerting too much pressure when they brush their teeth.

The effect of doing this can be twofold as the gums recede. From an aesthetic point of view, this exposes more of the tooth, leaving you with a potentially ageing ‘long in the tooth’ look. Perhaps more importantly, when the gums recede, the less well protected root of your tooth becomes exposed. This part of the tooth lacks the enamel to protect it from acids and bacteria and you may find that tooth decay in this area soon follows. There are no simple ways to reverse this problem, so it is best to take action to avoid it in the first place. Switching to an electric toothbrush should certainly help.

Enamel wear

Brushing too hard will also wear down the enamel on your teeth, leaving them more exposed to decay and sensitivity. Whilst this can often be treated by restoration with dental veneers for example, it is, of course, best avoided. Many electric toothbrushes now have pressure sensors which detect if you are pressing too hard and will cut out temporarily, thereby helping to protect the enamel on your teeth.


Electric toothbrushes are not just for adults, children can benefit greatly from them as well. In addition to teaching them about the right amount of pressure to be applied when brushing their teeth, using an electric toothbrush is simply more fun. Young children especially, don’t like to do anything that could be labelled a ‘chore’ (tidy your bedroom, put your toys away, clean your teeth etc).  The noise and sensation made by an electric toothbrush in the mouth feels fun to children and they are much more likely to brush their teeth willingly, especially if the brush has their favourite TV characters on it.

One word of caution here. Although it can be great fun for kids to make noises with the brush in their mouths, they do still need to brush for at least two minutes. If they tend to ‘play’ whilst brushing, you may need to allocate a slightly longer time to allow for the full brushing time. This is just one of the reasons that it is important to supervise young children when they brush their teeth, at least until they get the hang of it and do it diligently.

The elderly

At the other end of the age spectrum, older people can also benefit from using an electric toothbrush. This is a stage of life where maintaining healthy teeth becomes more difficult for a number of reasons. The use of an electric toothbrush will help.

They are especially useful for those suffering from mobility issues and medical problems such as arthritis. The high speed of the rotating brush heads will help to do some of the work and requires less arm and hand action. If you have an older relative who still uses a manual toothbrush, an electric one would potentially make an excellent gift for them.

As always, we will end this blog by saying that good home oral care is essential, but so is the supervision of a dental professional. However well you look after your teeth, a six monthly check up at our Wickford dental practice is essential to help you keep your teeth in good health.

To make an appointment at the Cygnet Dental Practice, please call us on 01268 733078.