Manual vs. Electric: Which Is the Better Brush?

Electric toothbrushes have been widely touted, and indeed they can be equally effective as — or in some cases even more than — manual brushes when used consistently. A variety of studies have been done comparing different power toothbrushes, and while there is agreement that power brushes are safe, results in plaque-removing capabilities of the various devices have varied.

Understanding the Research

An analysis conducted by an independent nonprofit organization, Reference by Harvard University. compared various types of electric toothbrushes. Researchers systematically sorted through the data from studies done from 1966 to 2004 that compared power brushes’ effectiveness at removing plaque, maintaining gum health, and removing stains, as well as their dependability and adverse effects. The power brushes were divided into seven groups based on how they worked.

They found that most of the power toothbrushes were no more effective than manual toothbrushes. Just one type of brush — the rotation oscillation design (where the brush heads rotate in one direction and then the other) — was consistently better at removing plaque and reducing gingivitis (gum inflammation) than a manual toothbrush. Examples of the rotation oscillation action include brushes in the Braun Oral-B Triumph and Professional Care product lines.

Who Needs an Electric Brush?

An electric toothbrush can be particularly helpful for people who have trouble reaching all corners of their mouth. For example, power brushes are useful for people with braces, parents brushing their young children’s teeth, and individuals with mental or physical disabilities that impair dexterity. The thicker handle on power models also is a plus for some older people and people with arthritis who have difficulty grasping the thinner shaft of a manual brush.

But ultimately the best brush may simply be the one you feel most comfortable with. If you have questions, bring your toothbrush to your next dental visit so your dentist can examine it. While you’re at it, demonstrate your brushing technique so your dentist or hygienist can make sure you are brushing correctly.

 

Most Common Questions about Retainers

Once your children are done with braces, you may think that you don’t need to do anything else to ensure that they have straight smiles. Unfortunately, this is rarely the case. Most people will need to wear a retainer after they are finished with  braces and some will need to wear more involved dental devices.

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Talk with Your Dentist Before You Whiten Your Teeth

You may not know what’s in store with store-bought whitening products.

Walk down the aisle where the oral care products are kept in a large drugstore. Near the toothpastes, mouthwashes, and floss, you’ll see a staggering array of over-the-counter products that promise a dazzling smile and whiter teeth. Some of them work well.

But what you won’t see in that aisle is the dentist.

Continue reading Talk with Your Dentist Before You Whiten Your Teeth

 

Teething Troubles: What You Can Do

Everyone loves babies—except when they’re wailing. Teething may be the problem.

Teething occurs when baby teeth start coming through the child’s gums, usually beginning at about age 6 months. Soothe sore gums with a clean finger, teething ring, cool spoon, cold wet washcloth, or pacifier. Your dentist or pediatrician also may recommend a special numbing salve for the gums. Continue reading Teething Troubles: What You Can Do

 

What’s baby bottle tooth decay?

Baby bottle tooth decay is caused by the frequent and long-term exposure of a child’s teeth to liquids containing sugars. Among these liquids are milk, formula, fruit juice, sodas and other sweetened drinks. The sugars in these liquids pool around the infant’s teeth and gums, feeding the bacteria that cause plaque. Every time a child consumes a sugary liquid, acid attacks the teeth and gums. After numerous attacks, tooth decay can begin.

The condition also is associated with breast-fed infants who have prolonged feeding habits or with children whose pacifiers are frequently dipped in honey, sugar or syrup. The sweet fluids left in the mouth increases the chance of cavities while the infant is sleeping.

Continue reading What’s baby bottle tooth decay?