Should You Be Using An Electric Toothbrush?

Electric toothbrushes are often touted as the gold standard for at-home dental care, but are they a worthwhile investment? The AEDITION asks the experts.
Wellness
Written by Samantha Stone
10.26.2020
Should You Be Using An Electric Toothbrush?New Africa/Shutterstock

With so-called ‘mask mouth’ on the rise as a result of wearing personal protective equipment like face masks and coverings during the COVID-19 pandemic, good oral hygiene is more important now than ever. Electric toothbrushes are often touted as the gold standard for at-home dental care, but are they a worthwhile investment? The AEDITION asks the experts.

Manual vs. Electric Toothbrushes

Many electric toothbrushes come with a hefty price tag compared to their manual counterparts, so are they really worth it? Research says yes. According to a 2013 study in Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dentistry, people who used powered brushes removed significantly more plaque than those who used manual brushes because they have the ability to clean the teeth in a more optimal way. “Electric toothbrushes deliver better results than manual toothbrushes,” confirms Stacy Spizuoco, DDS, a New York City-based cosmetic dentist with Onsite Dental and clinical instructor at Columbia University College of Dental Medicine. “This is because they rotate, vibrate and oscillate — something a manual toothbrush can’t do.”

Since plaque is responsible for tooth decay and gum disease (gingivitis), the subjects who used electric toothbrushes had better oral health. “The electric vibrations from the bristles do a far superior job in removing not just food deposits but biofilms off the surfaces of your teeth,” says Jon Marashi, DDS, a celebrity dentist and creator of the M Sonic Toothbrush. “Biofilms contain bacteria that are cavity causing,” As a result, he calls the investment a “no brainer.”

Who Should Use Electric Toothbrushes

Dentists agree that electric toothbrushes have important advantages over their manual counterparts. “It does a better job, period,” Dr. Marashi notes. While they are safe and effective for just about everyone, certain populations will especially benefit from using a power toothbrush:

  • Children
  • Elderly
  • People with arthritis
  • Patients with braces
  • So-called ‘lazy brushers’

“I believe everyone should have an electric toothbrush,” Dr. Spizuoco says. “Children have a hard time making small circles if they can even brush on their own. This leaves it to the parents and brushing someone else’s teeth is not easy. Adults, meanwhile, receive far better plaque, bacteria, and food removal with an electric toothbrush leaving you with a just-left-the-dentist feeling. A manual toothbrush can’t do that.” For people with limited mobility, electric toothbrushes tend to have larger handles and require less movement. And since few people brush long enough, many have built-in timers to keep you honest.

How to Choose an Electric Toothbrush

Electric toothbrushes can range in price from $5 to $300. More expensive models often come with a rechargeable battery, different speed settings, and multiple brush heads, offering a more customized cleaning experience. If you are in the market for a new powered toothbrush, below are some of our favorites:

Marashi Oral Health M Sonic Toothbrush

AEDIT-Marashi Created by Dr. Marashi, the super chic brush uses sonic technology that measures at 37,000 vibrations per minute. Unlike standard electric toothbrushes, the M Sonic houses the motor in a handle made of anodized aluminum, which dampens the feel of vibrations while holding it. Another point of differentiation is the bristle design. They are made of the softest DuPont nylon bristles for a gentle yet effective clean. $275 each, violetgrey.com

Philips Sonicare ExpertClean 7700

AEDIT-PhillipsSonicare The latest addition to the brand’s electric toothbrush portfolio is a sonic design that syncs with an app to promote good oral hygiene in between dental check ups. Dr. Spizuoco often recommends them to patient’s with smaller mouths because they generally have smaller elliptical brush heads. $200, usa.philips.com

Arm & Hammer Spinbrush Pro White

AEDIT-ArmHammer If you are looking for a worthy battery-powered find at the drugstore, Arm & Hammer Spinbrush is it. Dr. Spizuoco likes the brand because it has dual (replaceable) heads that offer a deep clean, and it is the size of a traditional manual toothbrush. This particular design has specialty whitening bristles to polish away surface stains. $5, walmart.com

Foreo Issa 2 Sensitive Set

AEDIT-Foreo You'll have no excuse not to brush with this sonic brush that features a 365-day charge. Designed specifically for sensitive gums, the pastel wand comes with two brushes — an extra soft silicone one and a hybrid PBT polymer head — that each have a built-in tongue cleaner. $189, foreo.com

Oral-B iO Series 9 Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush

AEDIT-OralB Unlike the elliptical-shaped brushes Philips is known for, Oral-B has a rounder design that Dr. Spizuoco also likes for patients with smaller mouths. While the brand offers powered brushes at an array of price points, the iO Series 9 features seven brushing modes, an interactive color display, and app connectivity to track brushing habits. $299, bedbathandbeyond.com

How to Brush Your Teeth

Regardless of how fancy your toothbrush is, there is a ‘right’ way to brush your teeth for optimal results:

  • Choose a toothbrush with soft bristles
  • Brush for a minimum of 2 minutes
  • Brush 2 times a day
  • Floss regularly

When it comes to brushing technique, Dr. Spizuoco advises angling the bristles at a 45 degree angle into the gums until you see slight blanching. “The bristles should move in small circles and then be swept towards the opposite teeth (down for upper teeth, up for lower teeth),” she says. “Brushing should be for a minimum of two minutes. A good electric toothbrush will beep every 30 seconds to encourage you to move on to the next quadrant of your mouth.”

The Takeaway

Dentists agree that electric toothbrushes are worth it thanks to their ability to deliver a superior clean. While they may carry a higher price tag than their manual counterparts, many come with rechargeable batteries and multiple brush heads for long-term use. Be sure to consult with your dentist before making changes to your dental care routine, and don’t forget that the best toothbrush in the world cannot replace good oral hygiene habits.

All products featured are independently selected by our editors, however, AEDIT may receive a commission on items purchased through our links.

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SAMANTHA STONEis a freelance writer for AEDIT.

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