• An electric toothbrush could help you brush better and more consistently than using a manual toothbrush.
  • If you want clean teeth and healthy gums without breaking your budget, you can’t go wrong with the highly effective Oral-B Pro 1000 electric toothbrush.
  • If you’re still a fan of the good old fashioned manual toothbrush, check out our guide to the best toothbrushes here.

You’ve probably heard the saying, “You only need to brush and floss the teeth you want to keep.” While the words are undeniably tongue-in-cheek, there’s considerable truth to them. Proper oral care, which includes twice-daily brushing and once-daily flossing, is critical if you want to hang onto your choppers well into old age.

Do you really need an electric toothbrush?

According to the American Dental Association, both manual and electric toothbrushes are effective at removing plaque if properly wielded. The problem, however, comes with the “properly wielded” part. Many people fail to brush the full recommended two minutes, don’t carefully work the brush around the entire set of teeth and the gum line, and don’t brush gently but with speed. By contrast, a good electric toothbrush:

  • Oscillates thousands — even tens of thousands — of times per minute, as compared to the typical 300 strokes per minute when brushing manually
  • Removes more plaque than a manual toothbrush
  • Has a signal or timer of some type to motivate longer brushing
  • Is easier for people with arthritis or other hand weaknesses to use
  • Is likelier to reduce gum disease than a manual toothbrush

Who should use an electric toothbrush?

While anyone can choose to use an electric toothbrush, there are some people specifically who can benefit from them.

According to Dr. Ira Handschuh, a general and cosmetic dentist at The Dental Design Center in White Plains, New York, one example of patients who should use electric toothbrushes are those undergoing orthodontic care, especially since electric brushes can get to those hard to reach regions that manual brushes cannot. Dr. Handshuh also recommends that elderly patients, those who have had a stroke, or anyone else with dexterity issues use an electric toothbrush.

Misconceptions about electric toothbrushes and proper practices

“It’s a misconception that using an electric toothbrush will guarantee a healthy mouth,” says Dr. Handschuh. “Brushing with both manual brushes and electric brushes can be challenging, and if not used properly, can lead to gum disease advancing, potential cavities, and other oral complications. I always take the time to review the proper brushing techniques with all my patients.”

Regardless of what type of toothbrush you decide to wield, it’s important to maintain proper techniques like brushing twice daily, reaching every part of your mouth including your gums and tongue, and not brushing too hard or too long.

If you do decide to go with an electric toothbrush, Dr. Handschuh recommends choosing one with soft bristles — never hard. 

“I always stress that you should not put too much pressure on the gums, as that can cause the gums to recede with time and even wear away tooth structure,” says Dr. Handschuh. “Many electric toothbrushes actually come with timers, so patients can monitor the length of time brushing, as well as pressure sensors to ensure patients do not damage teeth and gum tissue.”

We want you to keep your teeth healthy and strong for a lifetime. That’s why we’ve done the research to bring you a selection of electric toothbrushes that we feel are the best choices for most people. In addition to our own testing, we listened to actual product owners and received advice from dentists and dental hygienists when making our decisions. So go ahead and break out your favorite toothpaste. Healthy, clean white teeth are on their way.

Here are the best electric toothbrushes:

Updated on 7/16/2020 by Amir Ismael: Included who should use electric toothbrushes, common misconceptions, and proper practices after speaking with dentist Dr. Ira Handschuh.

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