Home hygiene is the most important factor in keeping a healthy mouth and, of course, it starts with our toothbrush. There are two main classes of toothbrushes: traditional manual and electric. The vast majority of Americans still use a manual toothbrush. This is not a bad thing, as a good manual toothbrush with soft bristles is still an adequate tool to clean teeth if used correctly. The problem is that most people who use a manual brush do not brush long or thoroughly enough to fully clean the teeth. When using a manual, more effort and attention needs to be paid to doing a complete job. 

The main benefit of manual toothbrushes is they are less expensive and everyone knows how to use one. However, electric toothbrushes have become much more common and for good reason. Studies show that people who use electric toothbrushes do a better job of cleaning plaque away, have less cavities and keep their teeth longer. The movement of the brush head aids in this by removing more plaque than a manual brush does in a similar time. The minimum time one should be brushing their teeth is about two minutes. Electric brushes often come with audible feedback as well, so you know if you are brushing long enough and not too hard, which can lead to gum damage. 

The main downside of electric toothbrushes is cost. They can be pricey and must be replaced periodically, but the benefits of doing a better job cleaning teeth are worth it. 

Of the electric toothbrushes, Oral B and Sonicare are the leading producers and both offer a fantastic line of brushes. In general, Sonicare cleans more with a vibrating motion, while Oral B has more of a spinning head. Both do a great job of cleaning teeth, and I think it is more of a personal preference to the feel of the action of the brush to determine which one is preferred. Waterpik also has a great new product that combines an electronic toothbrush and water flosser called the Sonic Fusion. By making both brushing and flossing easier at home, I think it is an exciting new tool, especially for those who are used to water flossing. 

Another newer product, Quip, is a brush that gained attention online with social media. It has the approval of the American Dental Association (ADA) and while it has some limitations, it can be a good option for a more budget friendly, entry level electric brush. 

In the end, any ADA approved electric brush is going to make it easier to do an excellent job of cleaning your teeth and is a good addition to a home care routine. While there is a wide range of costs for these products, there are several from which to choose, fitting any budget. Anyone who doesn’t have one already should consider adding it to their home care routine. 

Dr. Nick Baumann is with Palm Desert Smiles, a family-owned dental group in Palm Desert, and can be reached at (760) 568.3602 or www.palmdesertsmiles.com.

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