Electric verses manual

Does your choice of toothbrush really make a difference?

Guest Writer Dental Health Leave a Comment

We asked Dr Alif Moosajee, otherwise known as The Smiling Dentist, just how important your choice of toothbrush is when it comes to looking after your teeth. Here’s what he had to say:

‘A good workman never blames his tools.’

‘Size doesn’t matter, it’s what you do with it that counts.’

‘It ain’t what you do, it’s the way that you do it…, that’s what gets results.’

This theme has been debated by all of the great philosophers: Socrates, Plato and of course Bananarama!!

But when it comes to cleaning your teeth, is your choice of toothbrush as important as what you do with it?

Dentists are asked this question by patients all the time. People want to know if having an electric toothbrush offers any additional benefits or whether using a manual brush does the job just as well?

Well finally we have the definitive answer.

A huge experiment was done to compare how well people remove bacteria from around their teeth when brushing with a manual toothbrush compared with an electric toothbrush and they were very careful to try to control a number of factors that they thought may skew the results:

  • The toothpastes where kept the same
  • The amount of time that people brushed for was the same
  • They tried to keep the pressure that people used equivalent in both groups.

Time and time again it was clear to see that those who brushed with a manual toothbrush would still leave some plaque behind whereas those with electric toothbrushes were able to remove up to 10 times as much. Particularly with the ‘Sonicare’ sonic type of brush.

Why is this important?

If left in the mouth for a prolonged period of time, it is plaque that becomes disease causing. It creates all sorts of problems like gingivitis and periodontitis which can lead to bleeding gums, bad breath and, ultimately, tooth loss.

Why else is this important?

If you can obtain a tool that allows you to do something as important as removing plaque to help maintain your oral health, and makes it easier and more predictable for you to do successfully, then I think it just makes sense.

I have to let you know that I am not financially incentivised in any way if you buy an electric toothbrush. It is, however, my job to look after my patients well and to try to prevent them from having problems.

I can also tell you from a human level that it’s much nicer to see my patients, have a nice chat with them and tell them that everything is good because they’ve been looking after themselves, rather than have long and difficult conversations about invasive and potentially expensive treatment.

So please do yourself, and me, a favour and seriously consider making this investment and then definitely see a hygienist so that they can coach you on how to use your electric toothbrush in the optimal way so that you get the best out of it too.

About Alif Moosajee:

AlifDr Alif Moosajee is the Principal Dentist at Oakdale Dental, a specialist dental practice in Leicester, and is also the author of the book ‘The Smiling Dentist’ a jargon-free book for patients about clinical dentistry.

He has a particular interest in dental implants and digital dentistry and a keen interest in education, lecturing on a wide array of topics.

Alif regularly makes appearances on BBC TV and radio and on Channel 5 commenting on topical dental issues. After writing his book, he continues to put pen to paper writing regularly for dental and non-dental magazines.

He won the Best Young Dentist UK award and the Fast Track 4 award in 2016 and has also received awards for his writing.

Away from dentistry he is a devoted father and husband and adores spending time with his wife and daughter.

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