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Should You Buy an Electric Vibrating Toothbrush?

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There are many types of electric toothbrushes on the market. The American Dental Association (ADA) notes that they can be distinguished by the type of head movement they use. Some electric toothbrushes use a side-to-side movement to clean the teeth, while others spin in a circle. Other brush heads vibrate at high speed. If you're shopping for a powered toothbrush, you may wonder how effective these vibrating models are. How can a vibrating toothbrush benefit your dental health?

Why Vibrating Toothbrushes Boost Oral Hygiene

Some vibrating toothbrushes have speeds up to 32,000 strokes per minute, as an article from the International Journal of Preventive and Clinical Dental Research (IJPCDR) notes. This vibration is theorised to benefit dental health in several ways.

The article explains that the rapid vibration of the toothbrush may help move fluid around the teeth, dislodging plaque from hard-to-reach areas, such as between the teeth and along the gum line. This may make it easier to keep your mouth clean and healthy. As the Singapore Ministry of Health (MOH) notes, plaque can cause gum disease and an eventual falling out of teeth, so removing it is very important for your oral health.

The IJPCDR article also mentions that some studies have shown that acoustic vibrations, such as those from a vibrating toothbrush, can make it harder for oral bacteria to stick to hard surfaces such as your teeth. This may also contribute to keeping your teeth clean, but more research is needed to prove the effects.

Effectiveness of Manual Toothbrushes

If you're happy with your tried-and-true manual toothbrush, you don't necessarily need to trade it in for a vibrating model. According to this article on SingHealth's HealthyXchange site, there is no significant difference between a manual toothbrush and an electric toothbrush.As long as you follow tooth-brushing best practices, either type of toothbrush can help to keep your teeth and gums clean.

For some people, electric toothbrushes may provide other desirable benefits. If you have limited dexterity which makes using a regular toothbrush difficult (for example, due to severe rheumatoid arthritis or recovering from a stroke), an electric toothbrush may ease the task, according to SingHealth. People with dental appliances, such as braces, may also prefer powered toothbrushes. If you're not sure which type of toothbrush is best for your needs, ask your dentist for advice.

Tooth Brushing Best Practices

No matter which type of toothbrush you choose to use, it's important to remember tooth brushing best practices. Proper tooth brushing can help you prevent cavities and gum disease. To effectively clean your teeth, keep these tips from the SingHealth in mind:

  • Brush your teeth twice per day.
  • Brush for at least two minutes each time.
  • Use a soft toothbrush.
  • Don't brush too hard. 
  • Do not snack after brushing as it will cause plaque to accumulate again.

There are many potential health benefits associated with vibrating toothbrushes, and for some people, they're easier to use than manual toothbrushes. If you like your manual toothbrush, rest assured that it can be just as effective as a high-tech model. For more help choosing the right toothbrush for you, talk to your dentist or dental hygienist.