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Brushing Your Teeth and the Benefits of Electric Toothbrushes

Redheaded woman using an electric toothbrush in the mirror.

Mechanics say to change your oil every 3,000-4,000 miles. We trust them because they are the pros, they all say the same thing, science seems to back it up, it makes sense, and the consequences of not doing it are too severe. Therefore, we change our oil every 3,000-4,000 miles. When it comes to dental care, we the pros, Carolina Family Dental, are recommending certain steps for brushing, and people trust us because most dentists say the same things, the science backs it up, it makes sense, and the consequences of not doing it are too severe, not just on a car which can be replaced, but on your teeth which you want to have for life. So what exactly are those recommendations when it comes to brushing? We’ll tell you below, paying special attention to the benefits of electric toothbrushes

We brush because plaque forms on our teeth and it needs to be removed, and because the bacteria that causes cavities lives in and around our teeth. It’s scientifically established that proper brushing reduces the risk for cavities and tartar (and consequently other ailments like heart problems and periodtitis, to name a couple.) The question is not that we should brush, but how should we brush. Here are some tips:

  1. Floss. It may seem redundant since you are brushing, but it’s not. Floss can simply go where brushes can’t. Just like brushing, there is also scientific consensus that flossing reduces the risk of cavities and gum problems like gingivitis. Read our blog post on flossing here.
  2. Use a great toothbrush. Traditional, manual toothbrushes are sufficient for many situations. They can be soft, easily maneuvered, and cheap. However, the benefits of electric toothbrushes are not to be ignored. They do an superior job of gently sweeping the food, plaque, and anything that harbors germs from your teeth. The vibrating or oscillating strokes per minute can’t be matched by a traditional toothbrush unless you’re The Flash. And since people often brush too hard or use bristles that are too hard with manual toothbrushes, an electric toothbrush usually provides a safer, more pleasant experience. 

Although there are many good electric brushes out there, we like the Philips Sonicare line. They are effective, practical, and a modestly priced. Usually, more expensive brushes are up-priced for add-ons like carrying bags, multiple tips, and what not. Bang for your buck, Sonicare is still tough to beat. Just make sure to replace the tips every 3 to 4 months, especially if the bristles are hardened, stained, squished, or otherwise inadequate.  

  1. Use fluoride toothpaste. We talked about this in our last blog post, but the fluoride strengthens the teeth, healing some damage and preventing new damage. It builds up your natural defenses against cavities and gingivitis.
  2. Take your time. Not since your cousins slept over at the age of 11 have you been in a teethbrushing race. Many people simply don’t brush long enough. With both a manual or electric toothbrush, each requires about 2 minutes to sufficiently remove all plaque and germs from the crevices and gum lines of the teeth. So set a timer for 2 minutes and think of it more as a massage for your mouth. Gently brush the gums and cheeks of your mouth and your tongue. You were just going to lie in bed and look at your phone for the extra minute anyway. Gotcha. 
  3. Use proven techniques. Instead of brushing like you are scrubbing the bathroom tub, consider brushing in gentle circles and at a 45 degree angle. Also make sure you are getting into the gum line.
  4. Mouthwash is optional. In that previous post, we expound on this but any mouthwash you use must have fluoride in it. You wouldn’t want to wash off your fluoride toothpaste with non-fluoride mouthwash. The fluoride is more important than the rinse. 

To review, if you are brushing your teeth with the right toothbrush with the right bristles in the right motion at the right angle for the right amount of time, you should be in great shape. Throw in some flossing and maybe a rinse with fluoride and you’ve really got something. And although an old school toothbrush is adequate, because of the benefits of electric toothbrushes, you may want to bump it up a notch and switch to an electric toothbrush like the Sonicare line by Philips. 

We realize you can’t do all of our recommendations each time, but it is best practice. If you’re looking for a great group of people to trust with your mouth and health, Carolina Family Dental would love to meet you. We offer excellent patient care by a well-trained, top-notched team. Contact us and give us a chance to make you smile!