The Benefits Of Using An Electric Toothbrush?

Streatham dentist, Dr Rohit Kumar, asks if an electric toothbrush should be standard equipment in every bathroom.

Good smile and teethWhen the electric toothbrush first came out, they were seen by some as a passing gimmick, and a rather ‘space age’ looking one at that. They are now more widely accepted though and this type of toothbrush is now widely used, although manual toothbrushes have by no means disappeared altogether.

With Christmas not too far away, it is quite likely that an electric toothbrush will be on a lot of shopping lists.

For patients of the Confidental Clinic in Streatham who don’t currently use one and haven’t got one on their Christmas list yet, we look at why you should consider doing so.

The basics

First of all, we probably shouldn’t have to say it but brushing is the single most important thing that you need to do to keep your teeth healthy. Despite this, not only do too many people just give their teeth a quick brush, but also often use old and worn out brushes. This method might leave your breath smelling OK (at least until gum disease takes hold), but it won’t clean the teeth of all the sugars, acids and bacteria that are so damaging to your tooth enamel.

Whilst a good quality and relatively new manual brush used for at least 2 minutes twice a day will do a reasonably good job, most dentists and hygienists now agree that an electric toothbrush is more efficient at removing unwanted bacteria and food debris from the tooth surface and gum line.

Although some people don’t brush their teeth well enough, others are so keen to keep their teeth healthy and looking good that they apply too much pressure when brushing them. Over time, this can lead to gum recession and  enamel wear which is likely to increase tooth sensitivity and heighten the risk of tooth decay. This may mean that the affected teeth will need to be restored, sometimes using porcelain dental veneers to replace the damaged surface of the teeth. Using an electric toothbrush removes the need to apply pressure of this kind as the fast rotating bristles do a lot of the physical work, removing residues efficiently without the use of excessive force.

While everyone can benefit from using an electric toothbrush because of the above, there are certain groups for who they might be especially useful.

Older patients and those with physical limitations

As we get older we lose muscle mass. This is barely noticeable to start with but the longer we live, the more we are likely to notice this. Especially in  our later years, using our arms to brush our teeth with a manual toothbrush can be tiring and difficult for some. Using an electric toothbrush means that the rotating heads do a lot of the work that the arm would usually do and makes life just that little bit easier.

The same can be said for patients with mobility issues and problems such as arthritis. Poor oral health is not uncommon in these groups due to the difficulty they find in brushing their teeth. Each patient with problems like this will have their own particular set of challenges but an electric toothbrush can be really beneficial for most. The fatter handles on electric toothbrushes make them easier to hold for many people and some find that sitting down at the sink and using it to support their arm, whilst the rotating brushes do their work, is a very effective and relatively easy way to clean teeth and gums.


For younger children especially, although not exclusively, cleaning teeth can often be a chore that they really don’t want to do. Whether it is because they want to get in front of the TV in the morning to watch favourite cartoons or when they are so tired that all they want to do is to get into bed at night.

Allowing them to use an electric toothbrush makes this task much easier and can even make it fun for them. There are many electric toothbrushes now available in various colours and with TV and cartoon characters on them. The fun of making noises while the toothbrush vibrates in their mouth makes it even more enjoyable for them and the fact that the rotating heads do much of the work makes it that much easier for tired young arms at the end of the day.

Although electric toothbrushes are more effective than manual ones for children, we do still recommend that parents supervise their younger children when they clean their teeth to make sure that they actually brush them and don’t just play with the toothbrush in their mouth.

Switching from a manual to an electric toothbrush can be a beneficial move for everyone. It is just one of the things that you need to consider for helping to maintain healthy teeth and gums.

Of course, you also need to see both a hygienist and a dentist every six months to keep your teeth and gums healthy. Appointments can be made at our Streatham dental practice by calling the Confidental Clinic on 020 8674 2052.