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Benefits of Power Toothbrushes

Several studies have shown that sonic and electric toothbrushes are better at reducing plaque and gingivitis, in the short and long-term. For example, a 2003 Cochrane Oral Health Group study concluded that, compared to hand-powered toothbrushing, electric toothbrushes with rotational-oscillation action result in less plaque and fewer bouts of gingivitis. But the study also found that when used properly, manual and powered brushes can be equally effective.

“Electric or sonic toothbrushes may be easier for people with dexterity problems, like arthritis, to handle and control, resulting in cleaner teeth and gums,” says Gary D. Hack, DDS, an associate professor at the University of Maryland Dental School in Baltimore.

Sonic and electric toothbrushes may motivate people to brush regularly by eliminating the “work” of handheld brushing.

The one drawback to power toothbrushing may be cost, Hack says. Most models range from about $15 to more than $100; old-fashioned toothbrushes cost just a few dollars.

Practice Proper Toothbrushing

No matter your toothbrush preference, good technique makes the difference in your oral health.

“You need to brush a minimum of twice a day, for about two minutes each time, every morning and at night before you go to bed to avoid food sitting on your teeth and gums for long periods of time,” says Griffin.

Quality is as important as quantity when it comes to brushing. Hack offers these tips for good toothbrushing technique:

  • Angle the brush at about a 45 degree angle up onto the tooth and into gum line.
  • Use a soft-bristled brush, and use a gentle brushing motion.
  • Don’t over scrub or use too much pressure.
  • Make sure you brush every tooth and cranny.

“The most important thing is to brush effectively,” Hack says. “This will help you avoid periodontal disease, minimize gum and bone loss, and keep your mouth healthy and clean.”

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