Electric Toothbrushes VS Regular Toothbrushes: Who’s Winning?
If the increased amount of space taken up on store shelves is any indication, the electric brushes are growing in popularity. Some of them are kid-friendly: The toothbrush handle may take on the shape of a racing car or a mermaid or a cell phone, and its color may resemble army camouflage.
Many patients are now asking their dentists about these mechanical tools so much that the American Dental Association (ADA) has issued several news releases on the matter.
The organization says manual toothbrushes can be just as effective as powered ones. The key to preventing tooth decay, say experts, lies in the way a toothbrush — electric or otherwise — is used.
“If you are a wonderful brusher and a wonderful flosser … then the manual toothbrushes are just great,” says Kimberly Harms, DDS, an ADA consumer advisor who is also a dentist in Farmington, Minn. However, she says powered devices can help people who have trouble physically moving their brushes around their mouth to clean all teeth surfaces. These may include anyone with a motor disability or arthritis.
More Power Per Dollar?
There was a time when toothbrushes were considered luxury items.
According to the ADA, wealthy Europeans in the Middle Ages used twigs made of sweet-smelling wood to clean their teeth. Then, in 1498, the emperor of China developed a device with hog bristles placed in a bone handle. This type of toothbrush became so popular that in Europe even the common folk used it. The price of hog bristles was so steep, however, that a whole family would share the same toothbrush to cut costs.