Electric toothbrushes are wonderful for dental patients with lack of motivation to brush their teeth or those with physical limitations which affect their dexterity. However, using an electric toothbrush does not guarantee cleaner teeth and better oral hygiene habits if you do not use it properly.
The electric toothbrush cleans the teeth with an oscillating motion of the brush's head and some brushes vibrate. Currently an electric toothbrush is capable of making 20,000 vibrations and 7000-7600 rotations a minute. Used properly, they can be a very advantageous instrument for dental patients with periodontal disease. The oscillating motion and turbulence caused by the vibration and rotation, combined with a smaller brush head can clean more thoroughly and stimulate the gums. They are also quite beneficial to dental braces who wear braces.
As a person first begins using an electric toothbrush they must learn they cannot apply as much pressure against the teeth and gums as they do with a manual brush. Too much pressure of the nylon bristles can scratch the tooth enamel and cause the gums to bleed. One need only apply about fifty percent of the pressure of an ordinary toothbrush since the electric toothbrush is doing all the work.
While an electric toothbrush is capable of more thoroughly cleaning the teeth, it is still important to brush the teeth a full two minutes. Many electric toothbrushes are equipped with a two minute timer. Those that beep every thirty seconds can be very helpful in making sure each quadrant of the mouth is brushed a full thirty seconds. Use of an electric toothbrush with a smaller head makes it easier to reach all teeth for thorough cleaning.
Listed below are the steps to take to properly brush your teeth with an electric toothbrush. The gums may bleed at brushing for a week or two as you adjust to using less pressure.
1. Leave the toothbrush turned off. Wet the brush head and apply the same amount of toothpaste you would use on a manual toothbrush.
2. Place the toothbrush in the mouth and turn it on. This will keep your toothpaste from falling off before the brush is in the mouth. It also means the timer is not running before you begin brushing.
3. Apply light pressure and do not use the same scrubbing motion you use with a manual toothbrush. If you have problems applying less pressure, use a three finger grip to reduce the pressure. The rotation of the brush head does the scrubbing for you.
4. Allow the bristles to move over each tooth in one quadrant a full thirty seconds. Be sure to brush the front and back of each tooth. The timer should go off at the end of thirty seconds.
5. Move to the next quadrant and repeat the above step. Continue moving quadrants every thirty seconds until all four quadrants have been brushed.
6. Turn the toothbrush off and remove it from the mouth. This will keep splatter from the brush head from contaminating other objects.
7. Rinse the brush head after each use.
8. Return the brush to the charger base.
9. Once or twice a week, remove the brush head from the handle. Rinse and thoroughly clean it before returning it to the handle.
10. Replace the brush head every six months, or as directed by the manufacturer. Some models require replacement every three months. Replace the brush head more frequently if you notice signs of wear on the bristles. A worn brush head greatly reduces cleaning power. Replace the brush head any time you have been sick due to bacteria. Frequent replacement of the brush head is advised in cases of periodontal disease.
Proper use of an electric toothbrush can greatly reduce plaque. They can also reduce gingivitis, gingival bleeding, and promote better oral hygiene through longer brushing sessions.