Since it was invented in the late 1920’s, usage of the electric toothbrush has skyrocketed, and its popularity is at an all-time high. Its superior plaque removal, deeper cleaning and minimal effort on the user’s part are just some of what makes this piece of tech so appealing to many. With so many options in the market, however, choosing the right electric toothbrush for you can be a daunting aspect.
Like everything else in the world, however, once you know what to look out for, then it’s not that hard to find one that matches your exact needs. In this article, we’ll try to dissect what makes an electric toothbrush great, and how you can choose one that will suit you.
1. Things to Watch Out For
The trick to choosing the right electric toothbrush all boils down to understanding your own needs. Once you know what you need out of a cleaning implement for your teeth, you can easily follow that up with referencing the individual attributes of any particular model of electric toothbrush. Here’s a list of the attributes each model will generally have, and how each one can affect your usage of the electric toothbrush.
1.1 The Bristles
Basically, the main bit that does the cleaning, the bristles are a pretty important part of the electric toothbrush. They generally come in a variety of shapes and sizes, depending on the brand. While it might be tempting to get a toothbrush with a large head, since they look like they have a bigger surface area to clean with, a smaller brush head is actually easier to maneuver inside the hard to reach places in your mouth.
As for the shape of the bristles, they come in flat bristles, domed bristles or even rippled varieties. Ultimately, the shape itself has very little effect on the cleaning, and you can safely choose one that suits your preferences. Of course, just make sure to avoid brush shapes that are sharp or jagged in some areas. A more important thing to consider is the firmness of the bristles themselves.
There are three types of bristle types based on firmness: soft, medium and very firm. Most dentists would recommend you choose soft bristles most of the time, as they are less likely to cause your gums injury, but sometimes harder bristles might be required to tackle certain buildups that have started to harden. If you plan on using firmer bristles, ask your dentist first.
1.2 The Grip and the Brush Holder
This one is more about the design of your brush, with little impact with the usage of electric toothbrush. You wouldn’t want to use a grip that is too big or too small for you, as this can be difficult to control while you’re brushing. Some grips are shaped to be gripped securely, and it all comes down to the preferences of the owner. The brush holder usually also doubles as the electric toothbrush’s charging dock, and should also be small enough to store without any trouble.
1.3 Battery Life
Because of its very nature, usage of electric toothbrush is entirely dependent on its battery. Now, most designs available on the market automatically charges these toothbrushes whenever you put them on their stand, so unless you plan on separating the two for long, the battery life of the toothbrush doesn’t matter much.
For reference, you can use an electric toothbrush for 1-2 weeks without charging it, and it takes at about 12-24 hours on the toothbrush holder to charge it fully. All of this depends entirely on the model, however. The average battery should also last 3-5 years before you’ll need to replace it completely, as by then, they wouldn’t be able to hold a charge anymore.
1.4 Cleaning Motion
Another one you need to consider when choosing an electric toothbrush model is how it does its cleaning action, and how quickly. Now this also comes down to the individual’s preferences, so choose whichever you like. There are two major cleaning motions available in the market, the mechanical and the sonic versions.
The mechanical brush head rotates in circles with a frequency of about 5000 – 10,000 rpm. The sonic brush head does a left and right motion at about 20,000 – 40,000 rpm. Of course, sonic brushes finish the job quickly, but if you have sensitive gums, then the slower mechanical brush might be the one for you.
1.5 The Price
Because of how common electric toothbrushes are nowadays, they are not as expensive as they were about 10 to 20 years ago. On average, you can get an electric toothbrush from as low as $5 to as much as $25 each, with high end brands costing more. Of course, the initial price isn’t the only thing you’ll need to consider, since you will need to replace the brush head constantly throughout the electric toothbrush’s life. Toothbrush heads can cost anywhere between $2 to $20 each, depending on the brand.
2. Using Your Electric Toothbrush
Using an electric toothbrush is no different from using a regular one, with a few steps added in between. To help you out, here’s a short list on how to use an electric toothbrush.
2.1 Install the Brush Head
If you’ve recently bought a new electric toothbrush, or just replaced your old one, then chances are that your brush head isn’t attached yet. In order to use your electric toothbrush, attach the brush head to the main body first.
2.2 Apply Water to the Bristles
In order for the toothpaste to lather up nicely, make sure you soak the bristles up well
2.3 Apply Toothpaste
Next, you’ll need to apply the toothpaste itself. A small amount that is the size of a pea should do the job well enough.
2.4 Brush Your Teeth
Next comes the best part. Turn your electric toothbrush on and put the head into your mouth to clean your teeth. Make sure not to miss the back of your teeth and the hard to reach places as well. Also, refrain from applying too much pressure on your teeth or gums to prevent injury.
2.5 Rinse it Off
Before you store your electric toothbrush, make sure it’s clean. Put it under running water in order to rinse the suds off.
2.6 Place it on the Stand
Lastly, it’s time to store it. Like a normal toothbrush, it’s best to store your electric one in a clean, dry place. Remember to place it on its stand so it can charge when you’re not using it.
3. Things to Remember
3.1 Be More Thorough
Although your teeth might look clean from the front, don’t forget to wash the back side as well. This is usually when the buildup of plaque is heaviest. If the bristles of your toothbrush are fine enough, you should also make sure to clean in between the teeth themselves, as these surfaces tend to be neglected by most people.
3.2 Avoid Applying Too Much Pressure
An electric toothbrush has its vibration frequency and strength already set to a specific level. Generally, people apply pressure whenever they brush their teeth with an electric toothbrush, much like when they’re using a regular one. This is not advised, as when coupled with the high frequency brushing done by the electric toothbrush, adding more pressure can not only injure your gums, it can also damage and wear down the protective enamel on your teeth.
3.3 For the Kids
When you’re considering giving kids below 8 – 10 years of age their own electric toothbrush, make sure you’re giving them ones that are specifically designed for kids. Children below 8 years old are just starting to form their permanent teeth. Using a regular electric toothbrush might be too powerful for them and could damage their teeth long before they could even get the chance to surface completely.
Electric toothbrushes designed for children generally have soft bristles and vibrate at a relatively lower rate. This combination allows the child to brush without you worrying that they’d wear down their teeth.
3.4 Timing is Everything
Stick to brushing your teeth for just 2 minutes. Even when you’re applying the right amount of pressure, or using a soft bristled brush, you’re still in the danger of wearing your teeth down, or cause damage to the gingival tissue if you brush for longer than recommended. On the other hand, brushing too quickly means you’re not allowing enough time to thoroughly clean your teeth.
3.5 Secure the Brush Head Properly
Whenever you put the brush head on your electric toothbrush, make sure that it’s on securely. An electric toothbrush vibrates at a very high rate, and if your brush head is applied loosely, it might fly off while you’re using it. If it’s inside your mouth, or anywhere close to your face at the time, that can cause injury.
3.6 Change Your Brush Head Every 3 Months
Even if you’re diligent about cleaning your brush head, it’s still a breeding ground for bacteria and microbes. Constant use also means that your bristles will eventually wear down and wouldn’t be as effective at cleaning your teeth anymore. This is why it’s important to change your brush head every 3 months in order to maintain the effectiveness of your electric toothbrush, as well as to prevent any bacteria from getting into your mouth.