Cleaning an electric toothbrush: What you need to know? How often should you change your toothbrush? Let’s find out in this article!
What is an Electric Toothbrush?
An electric toothbrush, also known as a powered toothbrush, is a battery-powered device that uses vibrating or rotating bristles to clean your teeth.
Electric toothbrushes are typically classified into three types, but the lines are blurring as newer models include multiple features. These are some of the categories:
- Oscillating rotary toothbrushes: To clean each tooth, these toothbrushes have small circular heads that rotate back and forth. To help dislodge more plaque, some models combine this rotating feature with vibrating and pulsing.
- Sonic toothbrushes: Sonic toothbrushes have vibrating brush heads that rapidly move bristles side to side. The vibration must be fast enough to produce an audible hum in order to be classified as a sonic toothbrush. Sonic toothbrushes on the market today have frequencies ranging from 50,000 to 100,000 movements per minute.
- Ultrasonic toothbrushes: Ultrasonic toothbrushes, rather than relying on physical motion to clean your teeth, use a high frequency of vibration known as ultrasound to remove plaque and food debris. Ultrasound generates waves at a frequency beyond human hearing, and existing ultrasonic toothbrushes, according to BeDental, use working frequencies ranging from 20 kHz to 10 MHz. That equates to more than 1.2 billion movements per minute! Though ultrasonic brushes can break up plaque without moving, most models also include a sonic vibration to help remove any remaining plaque or food debris.
Electric toothbrush benefits
Electric toothbrush bristles vibrate or rotate to aid in the removal of plaque from your teeth and gums. Every time you move your toothbrush across your teeth, the vibration allows for more micro-movements. Here are some Electric toothbrush benefits:
More effective at removing plaque
According to a review of studies, electric toothbrushes reduce plaque and gingivitis more effectively than manual toothbrushes. Plaque was reduced by 21% and gingivitis by 11% after three months of use. Oscillating (rotating) toothbrushes appear to be more effective than vibrating toothbrushes.
Easier for people with limited mobility
Electric toothbrushes do the majority of the work. They may be useful for anyone with limited mobility, such as those suffering from:
- Carpal tunnel
- Developmental disabilities
A timer built into an electric toothbrush can assist you in brushing your teeth for long enough to remove plaque from your teeth and gums.
May cause less waste
When it’s time for a new toothbrush, in many cases, you only need to replace the head of an electric toothbrush, which may be less wasteful than throwing away an entire manual toothbrush.
However, if you use a single-use electric toothbrush, you will need to replace it completely when the time comes.
May improve your focus while brushing
At least one study discovered that when people used an electric toothbrush to brush their teeth, they were more focused. This improves people’s overall brushing experiences and may improve how well you clean your teeth.
May improve oral health in people with orthodontic appliances
According to one study, electric toothbrushes were especially beneficial for people who had orthodontic appliances, such as braces, because they made brushing easier.
Plaque levels were roughly the same among people with appliances who already had good oral health, whether they used an electric toothbrush or not. However, if you find it difficult to clean your teeth while undergoing orthodontic treatment, an electric toothbrush may help.
Fun for kids
Not all children enjoy brushing their teeth. If your child finds an electric toothbrush more appealing, it can aid in good oral hygiene and the establishment of healthy habits.
Safe for gums
Used properly, an electric toothbrush should not hurt your gums or enamel but instead promote overall oral health.
Electric toothbrush cons
Electric toothbrushes cost more than manual toothbrushes. Brushes range in price from $15 to $250. Replacement brush heads are typically sold in packs of multiples and range in price from $10 to $45. Electric toothbrushes that are completely disposable cost $5 to $8 plus the cost of batteries.
Finding the right replacement brush heads isn’t always easy or convenient, either, because not all stores carry them, and your local stores may not carry the right brand. You can buy them online, but this isn’t always convenient, and it’s not a good option if you need a new head right away. You can stock up and have enough for a year or more, but this adds to the initial cost.
Electric toothbrushes did not remove more plaque than manual toothbrushes in two studies of seniors. This is not to say that electric toothbrushes do not work; however, they may not be worth the extra cost.
If you travel internationally, plug-in versions may not be a good option because you’ll need a backup travel toothbrush. Even though electric toothbrushes produce less waste, they are less eco-friendly than manual toothbrushes because they require electricity or batteries.
Not everyone enjoys the vibrating sensation. Furthermore, electric toothbrushes cause more saliva movement in your mouth, which can be messy.
Cleaning an electric toothbrush
Your electric toothbrush can be cleaned thoroughly in a short amount of time. You can brush your teeth properly with an electric toothbrush if you follow these guidelines:
After each use, rinse the brush head with clean water. As a result, not only are toothpaste residues removed, but also germs.
Not only the brush head, but also the handpiece of your electric toothbrush should be cleaned regularly, otherwise limescale deposits and other dirt will settle on it:
- Remove the brush head by pulling it vertically upwards.
- Do not pull the pen away to the side when unplugging.
- Rinse the area of the metal shaft with warm water.
- Make sure all toothpaste residue is removed.
- Wipe the entire handpiece briefly with a damp cloth.
- Dry the toothbrush before placing it on a dry surface or your charging station to avoid mold growth.
- Don’t forget to clean the charging station as well.
Cleaning your electric toothbrush is important for more than just hygiene. Limescale deposits and other dirt can permanently impair your device’s functionality; this applies to all types of electric toothbrushes, including rotating-oscillating devices and sonic toothbrushes.
How often should you change your toothbrush?
How often should you change your toothbrush? The frequency with which you should replace your toothbrush (or the brush head of an electric toothbrush) is determined by the type of bristles, the use, and your brushing technique. However, when the bristles of your toothbrush begin to fray, it is time to replace the brush head or toothbrush – at the very least every three months.
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