Painful questions: all about the electric toothbrushes

Dentist Marina Leonovna Belfer

How to brush your teeth correctly? Is it worth using an electric toothbrush? What to look for when choosing a model? Are such “toys” useful for children??

There are many questions, but most material on the use of electric toothbrushes ends with the phrase: “consult a dentist. We decided to do so: Marina Belfer, head of pediatric dentistry of the Center of Endosurgery and Lithotripsy, member of the International Association of Dentists ALFA OMEGA, answers the questions of “Consumers”.

The Right Strokes for Healthy Teeth

– Marina Leonovna, there is an opinion that the right toothbrush solves the problem of effective tooth brushing. Do you agree?

– You should brush your teeth as well as possible – that’s the most important thing. The durability of tooth enamel, its resistance to tooth decay, and thus the overall health of our teeth and gums depends on the quality of our brushing.

The first thing they teach future dentists: for an effective cleaning two parameters are most important: the quality of toothpaste or other cleaning substance and the correct movements of the brush when brushing teeth.

The toothpaste should not be too abrasive – it is shown to very few people. It must also contain fluoride – by the way, on sale there are quite expensive brands that do not meet this requirement.

And the movements are especially important: it is a whole science, few people know how to do the so-called “flossing” movements: the working surface of the brush is held horizontally in relation to the cleaned tooth surface and there is a movement from the gum and the transition point of the gum to the tooth to the outer edge of the tooth.

So you need to clean 3 surfaces of each tooth: the cheek side outer surface , the palate inner surface and the bite side. Most people especially in our country, where children for some reason are not taught this have not developed such manual skills.

It is difficult to retrain for an adult person, so dentists recommend at least not to make vertical “up-down” movements with a toothbrush – it leads to plaque and food particles clogging under gums and can cause inflammation and tooth erosion.

A sulcus is a groove between the gumline and the tooth. It’s normally 0.5 to 2 millimeters thick. If it is larger, it indicates the presence of inflammation – most often from improper and poor-quality brushing. The consequences – gingivitis, periodontitis, tooth decay.

The circular motion is preferable – it is more physiological and mechanically closer to the “squeezing” motion. It is worth noting that even with these correct movements of the brush are not cleaned interdental spaces, which is why dentists insist on the use of special dental floss – floss – after brushing teeth.


-Television commercials encourage us to brush not only our teeth and gums, but also our tongue..

– Yes, and even the inner surfaces of the cheeks. It’s a necessary thing, and yet this kind of cleaning is not recommended to everyone. Many people – especially children – get a gag reflex from brushing their tongue.

No need to agonize, rinses are usually sufficient for such purposes. Some people brush their tongue and cheeks in hopes of getting rid of bad breath or plaque. Meanwhile it is not always a dental problem, it requires a doctor’s consultation and possibly an examination.

– But we’ve all been taught that you have to brush your teeth for at least 3 minutes 2 times a day. Or does modern science tell us otherwise??

– Cleaning twice a day is right, although recent research suggests that evening cleaning is the basic and most necessary – it helps get rid of all the dirt that we accumulate during the day: food particles, traces of tea, coffee, and even, alas, tobacco.

Brushing in the morning is more of a hygiene procedure, its main objectives – to refresh the breath and protect the teeth “for the coming day. By the way, it is preferable if the morning brushing takes place not before breakfast, but after it. After all, we often eat dairy for breakfast, drink sweet tea, coffee, juices – traces of these products will “work” on the destruction of tooth enamel, if not removed after breakfast.

Hard brushes marked “hard” are practically not produced in the world, but they can still be found in America. Using them without a prescription is risky. Soft brushes are only indicated for children and people with dental and gum disease – and only by prescription.

So the correct sequence is: get up – rinse your mouth – eat breakfast – brush your teeth. As for cleaning time, 3 minutes is not long enough for a proper manual cleaning.

Current research and simple arithmetic suggest that the optimal brushing time is at least 5 minutes. Do the math: If you divide 3 minutes 180 seconds by 32 the number of teeth and an adult , you get 5.6 seconds, which, if you believe the conventional wisdom, should be given to one tooth.

This time is disastrously short for cleaning 3 surfaces of each tooth, that’s why as a rule the most distant back molars suffer: there is not enough time and effort to do it, we just can’t reach them. And the toothpaste needs a certain amount of time for its active ingredients to penetrate the tooth tissue, and 3 minutes is, of course, the minimum.

– With our eternal lack of time, can electric toothbrushes help??

– They solve the temporary problem, but the quality of the cleaning depends on the device – you have to choose it correctly, and on its judicious use. Let’s start with time: when you brush your teeth with an electric toothbrush, you should definitely reduce it to 1-1.5 minutes.

Acute respiratory infections, viral respiratory infections, Angina, STOMATS, GYNGIVITIS and other previous infections of the mouth and upper respiratory tract – the reason for toothbrush replacement. As a last resort, it should be left overnight in a 0.05% chlorhexidine solution. This drug is not kept open longer than 14 days.

Otherwise, you run the risk of causing serious damage to your tooth enamel. The most common consequence of excessive use is erosion of the tooth cervix, the emergence of hypersensitivity to hot and cold. Less time brushing unfortunately minimizes the beneficial effects of toothpaste ingredients on enamel.

– What else do you need to pay attention to when choosing an electric toothbrush??

– Practice shows that, above all, the reliability of the manufacturer. Serious companies do research, involve doctors, use quality materials, provide their products with detailed instructions and recommendations. The American market is flooded with cheap models of unknown origin, made of unknown substances – it is dangerous to buy them. If we talk about the technical features of models, it is optimal if the brush:

Medium hardness labeled “medium” ,

Two heads that rotate in different directions. They allow you to clean two different surfaces of your teeth at the same time,

Bristles are of varying lengths,

the heads themselves are small – the smaller they are, the better they clean,

The bristles on the top head are longer and beveled on one side to reach the farthest – distal – tooth surfaces,

The base of the brush heads have a 30 to 45 degree angle to the handle. If you don’t have an angle, you won’t get to the back teeth, which always “suffer” from both the increased chewing pressure and the lack of attention during brushing,

An ergonomic handle that fits comfortably in the palm of your hand.

– There are models in which not only the heads move, but also the bunch of bristles – in some brushes they rotate around their axis, some make pulsating-vibrating movements. There’s no harm in doing so?

– No, the more you move, the more complicated they are, the better the cleaning. Once again, I want to emphasize that this brush should not be used to Dollars or pressure your teeth.

– The model is chosen – what should be considered when brushing your teeth with an electric toothbrush?

– Never hold the toothbrush in one place on one tooth for more than 1 second. Brushes perform from 3000 to 4000 these are the “weakest” models! strokes per minute, the mechanical action on your teeth is tremendous.

So you need to mentally say “one” and move the brush in a circular or horizontal motion. You can’t press your brush to your teeth – choose models that automatically shut off when you press too hard on your teeth.

You should also brush with a manual toothbrush and gums – there’s always a big risk of damaging them. You can’t leave your gums without brushing and massaging – so it’s important to go over the gums and teeth again with a manual or manual toothbrush after the main cleaning.

The choice of toothpaste is another important factor. There are overly abrasive pastes with coarse scouring particles – they definitely shouldn’t be combined with electric brushes.

– Can people with metal-ceramic crowns use an electric toothbrush??

In terms of a better cleaning of the crown-gingival junction, which is the most important aspect for hygiene in this case, the use of an electric toothbrush is even preferable.

But there is another side to the coin: the risk of damaging the ceramic coating of the crown. So it’s a good idea to get the right balance – like not brushing with an electric toothbrush every day, not brushing with the maximum head speed and choosing a brush with as few back-and-forth strokes per minute as possible.

– How long does the brush last??

– While you should replace your manual toothbrush every 1 to 3 months, depending on how often and for how long you brush, the electric toothbrush or the replacement head lasts longer, i.e., 3 to 6 months.

The main signal for changing the brush – manual or electric – is the loss of appearance of the cleaning head. Many models are equipped with color-indicator bristles, which will tell you in time when it’s time to say goodbye to the old brush.

– Your specialty is pediatric dentistry. At what age is your baby allowed to use an electric toothbrush, and is it even allowed??

Tooth Checker

– Many manufacturers produce toy brushes – in the form of characters of fairy tales and cartoons. Naturally, these devices are designed for children, but I would not recommend that they completely replace manual toothbrushes.

First, the handles of brushes and their weight are such that a child’s brush is simply not able to hold such a device properly, let alone make the necessary movements.

Second, the child must first acquire manual brushing skills – this is only possible with a regular toothbrush.

Thirdly, it is the parents who should brush the teeth of children under 5-6 years of age, and then pass them the brush – for “educational” purposes. An electric toy toothbrush can play a different role: it can make brushing itself seem fun, non-threatening and interesting, i.e. it can accustom your child to it.

And before the age of 11-12 years, I would not recommend giving it to children for their own use, and later – I would not advise to use it every day and stop using it if there is any discomfort or soreness.

– What else besides regular and proper brushing of teeth, parents who want to keep their children’s teeth healthy should pay attention to?

– The first aspect – the correct eating behavior, certain food habits brought up from childhood. Caries is known to be “friendly” with candy eaters and dairy eaters.

Any sugary drink is bad for enamel, which, from the medical point of view, includes milk drinks – even without added sugar, because milk contains lactose. Fruit juices are very bad for enamel. There is even a peculiar dental anti-rating of juices – on harmfulness for teeth.

Leaders – apple, citrus, grape, pomegranate juices, the most neutral are peach and pear juices and nectars. You should definitely eat juices and dairy, but remember that it’s a FOOD, not a drink. Which means that we should drink them together with a meal, after which we either brush our teeth or – during the day – rinse our mouth. But, as a rule, the baby says “I am thirsty”, and his mother buys him juice, drinkable yoghurt or soda, instead of offering him water or unsweetened tea. And the second aspect – a visit to the dentist every six months. Even if you think everything is fine!

Tooth Check

A plaque marker shows you how to brush

To show patients their level of oral hygiene, the dentist sometimes has to use a plaque marker. A special formula is applied to the teeth and red coloring appears on badly cleaned areas.

These are also sold in pharmacies – highly recommended for self-checking. Redness can only be removed by the most thorough brushing. This procedure tells you how long and how hard you must brush to get rid of plaque.

For self-care

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John Techno

Greetings, everyone! I am John Techno, and my expedition in the realm of household appliances has been a thrilling adventure spanning over 30 years. What began as a curiosity about the mechanics of these everyday marvels transformed into a fulfilling career journey.

Comments: 1
  1. Finley

    Can someone recommend the best electric toothbrush for sensitive gums and teeth?

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