What are the Benefits of an Electric Toothbrush?

Published on September 26, 2017 | News

Here are the pros and cons of an electric toothbrush and why it can be a worthwhile investment for your overall health.

You know that brushing your teeth twice a day helps keep your teeth and gums healthy. But do you know the advantages of using an electric toothbrush over a manual toothbrush?

The benefits may be more than you think. A recent study has shown that using an electric toothbrush over a manual toothbrush can help you reduce plaque by 11% after 1-3 months, and by 21% after 3 months of use.

Using an electric toothbrush can help cut down on gum inflammation too. Patients of the study saw a 6% reduction in gum inflammation after using an electric toothbrush for 1-3 months, and an 11% reduction after 3 months.

These benefits aren’t minor — bacteria and gum inflammation can lead to gingivitis and periodontal disease, which are linked to even more serous conditions like heart attacks1, dementia and strokes.2

However, electric toothbrushes have a few downsides — like being more expensive and less portable than manual toothbrushes. Here are the pros and cons of an electric toothbrush, and why it can be a worthwhile investment for your overall health.

Pros of Electric Toothbrush

From reducing your risk of periodontal disease to saving money on medical bills in the long run, here are the pros of upgrading to an electric toothbrush.

Cover More Teeth Faster

An electric toothbrush can help you cover a larger area of your teeth faster than a manual toothbrush.3 When you use a manual toothbrush, you make about 300 strokes per minute. An electric toothbrush can make anywhere between 1,000 and in some cases 10,000 strokes per minute.3

Reduce Risk of Serious Conditions

As the study above showed, an electric toothbrush can help cut down on the bacteria that can lead to gum disease and periodontal disease. Reducing your risk of periodontal disease also reduces your risk of serious health conditions that can be life threatening, like heart disease and stroke.

People with periodontal disease and gum disease are 3 times more likely to suffer a stroke than those without.4 Strokes are the leading cause of serious, long-term disability for Americans, and third leading cause of death.5 And heart disease is the leading cause of death in the US.6

Save Money on Medical Bills

Using an electric toothbrush to reduce plaque and gum inflammation can decrease your risks of cavities. Maintaining good oral health can save you money on dental and medical bills in the long run.

On average, fillings can cost anywhere from $130 and $1200 dollars.7 Not to mention the money you’ll save on medical bills by reducing your risk of serious health conditions that are linked to untreated tooth decay and periodontal disease.

The inflammation caused by periodontal disease could increase your risk of heart disease.8 With health insurance, a heart attack could cost you around $1,600 out-of-pocket.9

Without insurance, the expenses of a heart attack could be anywhere between $18,200 and $100,000 or more, depending on if the ambulance brings you to a higher-cost emergency room.10

An electric toothbrush can also benefit the following people with a more thorough, effective brushing3:

  • Children: kids can sometimes have trouble brushing thoroughly with a manual toothbrush
  • People with braces: electrical toothbrushes can clean in and around metal brackets and wires
  • Ineffective brushers: If you’re not effectively removing enough plaque with a manual toothbrush, your dentist may suggest you use an electronic toothbrush
  • People who have difficulty using their hands

Cons of an Electric Toothbrush

From the initial price tag to a false sense of better brushing, here are possible cons to an electric toothbrush.

More Expensive

Electric toothbrushes are a pricier investment than manual toothbrushes. While regular toothbrushes usually cost just a few dollars, you can spend anywhere between $100 or more on an electric toothbrush.3

You also need to replace your brush head after the same amount of time as a manual toothbrush, which is about every three months.11 These replacements can add up.

False Sense of Better Brushing

Just because an electric toothbrush could help you brush better doesn’t mean it always will.

By buying an electric toothbrush, you could have a false sense of automatically brushing better.3 You still need to cover all the surfaces of your teeth, and brush for the full two minutes each time you brush for the appliance to be effective.

You’ll also need to be sure to replace the head of your electric toothbrush frequently to optimize the electric toothbrush’s effects.

Less Portable

Lastly, because electric toothbrushes are bulkier than manual ones, they can be harder to bring along in a purse or suitcase for brushing after meals or while traveling.3

Although an electric toothbrush doesn’t automatically guarantee you’ll have less plaque and healthier gums, you can certainly increase your chances of these benefits by upgrading from a manual. Reducing your risk of gum disease and the more serious health conditions that could follow may be well worth the initial price tag.

Brushing your teeth twice a day for two-minutes each time is the best way to maintain good oral health. But does flossing every day really make a difference? Find out if flossing helps your dental hygiene >

Sources:

1.    http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/plaque-on-teeth#1
2.    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3858735/
3.    http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/features/electric-toothbrushes#1
4.    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3858735/
5.    http://www.strokecenter.org/patients/about-stroke/stroke-statistics/
6.    https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/facts.htm
7.    https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/health/medical-costs/how-much-does-a-filling-cost/
8.    https://www.perio.org/consumer/gum-disease-and-heart-disease
9.    https://www.forbes.com/sites/peterubel/2017/05/19/that-heart-attack-is-going-to-cost-you/#148eccc76932
10.    http://time.com/money/3557240/heart-disease-costs-prevention/
11.    https://www.everydayhealth.com/dental-health/how-often-should-you-replace-your-toothbrush.aspx

Brought to you by Access Dental. Material discussed is meant for general informational purposes only and is not to be construed as medical advice. Although the information has been gathered from sources believed to be reliable, please note that individual situations can vary. You should always consult a licensed professional when making decisions concerning dental care. #2017-45782 (exp. 9/19).

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