Which Toothbrush to Choose? Electric or Manual

If there is a point where all dental professionals agree, it is this: Brushing your teeth for 2 minutes, 2 times a day, is the most effective step you can take for oral health. This helps get rid of the bacteria that cause dental plaque, a sticky and germ-like film that adheres to the teeth. When plaque builds up, it can cause tooth decay and gum disease. But since the appearance of the electric toothbrush (a device that works with batteries and whose bristles vibrate or rotate rapidly) in the 1960s, there has been a debate about whether electric or manual brushes do a better job in cleaning teeth. And if one type of brush is safer than another for your teeth and gums. 

Which toothbrush should you choose? 
The experts in dentistry point out that each one has its pros and cons, and that personal preferences and factors such as your age and your general health can play an important role in the type of toothbrush most suitable for you. 

Do electric brushes clean better? 
One of the most complete analyzes on the subject ( a review of studies conducted in 2014 by the independent company Cochrane Collaboration) gave the electric brushes a slight upper margin for cleaning dental plaque. The researchers analyzed 56 clinical trials on unsupervised tooth brushing in more than 5,000 adults and children, and found that study subjects using a motorized toothbrush showed an 11% reduction in dental plaque between 1 and 3 months. , and a reduction of 21% after 3 months or more, compared to those who used manual brushes. In addition, the researchers found that oscillating motor brushes (which have small round heads that rotate quickly in one direction and then in the other) were slightly better at reducing dental plaque than sonic power brushes (which have oval heads that are move or vibrate quickly from side to side). But the study authors point out that more research is needed to confirm that finding. 

What is in the brush head? 
When choosing a toothbrush, consider the basics first. Both electric and manual toothbrushes come in a variety of head sizes and bristle configurations, including grouped, angled or wavy bristles in various ways. Whether you choose a manual or an electric toothbrush, choose one with soft bristles. Oral b toothbrush heads are one of the best toothbrush heads to make use of. It is advised to change your brush head every 3 months. 

Use the best brushing technique 
Whether you choose a basic brush or one with all the attachments, the way you brush your teeth is key. “The correct technique can be used with an electric or manual toothbrush,” says Paulo Camargo, president of periodontics at the UCLA School of Dentistry. "People who do a good job can do a good job with either brush." 

To get the most out of each tooth brushing session: 
Hold the brush at the appropriate angle. "The biggest mistake that most people make is to hold the brush at 90 degrees, which cleans the teeth but does not gum," says Camargo. "Bacteria grow in the space between the teeth and gums, and to interrupt it, you have to use the bristles at a 45 degree angle and bring them below the gum line." 

Brush two teeth at a time. Work methodically around your mouth, focusing your attention on two teeth at the same time, Tang suggests. "If you're using an electric brush, just put it on those two teeth and let it do its job, then move on to the next two teeth." Be thorough in brushing. "Regardless of the type of brush you use, you should make sure the bristles touch every surface of each tooth," says Messina. Clean the front and back of all your teeth, the top and bottom, including the sharp edges. You should also place the brush behind your back teeth. As a good measure, use your brush to pass over the surface of your tongue, to reduce bacteria and prevent bad breath. 

Use the right touch. "There is a very fine line between doing a good job and exaggerating," says Camargo. If you are worried that you are brushing too hard, try this trick: Instead of grabbing the brush in your fist, hold it only with your fingertips. "It doesn't allow you to put so much pressure on the gums," says Tang. And know the signs of brushing too aggressive: Tooth sensitivity, bleeding or irritated gums, recoil and separate brush bristles. 

Replace your brush regularly. You will need to release a new toothbrush, or a new brush head for an electric toothbrush, every 3 or 4 months. If you notice that the bristles are frayed or open, it's definitely time to use a new one. "Separated sows can no longer pass below the gum line," says Camargo. 

Finally, consider this: Plastic toothbrushes create a lot of garbage of the type that does not break down easily. With electric models, a little less plastic is usually thrown away because only the brush head is replaced regularly. However, some manufacturers now offer manual toothbrushes with replaceable heads. And some companies manufacture hand brushes made from recyclable bamboo, composting plastic or cellulose (plastic generated from wood), although not necessarily.

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