10 Common Mistakes Made When Using An Electric Toothbrush

Dentist Articles

While there are many benefits to electric toothbrushes, your oral health will only improve if you use your toothbrush correctly. A recent study found that 90% of people brush incorrectly. If you are using an electric toothbrush that you are unfamiliar with, you may be one of those people. To get the most out of your brushing, make sure you avoid these ten common mistakes. 

  1. Using too much pressure.  When you use an electric toothbrush, the speed of the bristles creates enough friction to remove food particles, plaque, and bacteria. You simply have to hold the brush to your teeth, but many people use the same pressure they use with a manual toothbrush. This can actually cause damage to your enamel over time and cause your toothbrush head to wear out more quickly.   
  2. Holding the brush too firmly.  If you squeeze the brush in your hand, you can limit the vibrations of the brush and reduce its effectiveness.   
  3. Moving the brush too much.  It can be difficult to stop moving the brush up and down or back and forth. However, with an electric toothbrush you should simply hold the brush on each tooth's surface for a few seconds and then move the brush to the next tooth.   
  4. Consistently using an aggressive setting.  If your toothbrush has different speed settings, you may be tempted to use the most aggressive setting every time you brush. However, if you have sensitive gums or notice bleeding, you should use a more gentle setting until your gums heal. This is especially important if you have purchased an electric toothbrush to help deal with gum disease.   
  5. Skipping sections of your mouth.  Many electric toothbrushes have timers that will let you know how long you should brush each section of your mouth. When you are first adjusting to your toothbrush, you may be too slow to follow these guides. It is important that you brush each surface of each tooth rather than brushing for a minimum amount of time.   
  6. Not angling the brush.  With manual toothbrushes, you usually press the brush flat against the surface of the tooth and brush up and down or in small circles. With an electric toothbrush, you should place the brush at a 45-degree angle to your tooth along the gum line. This allows the bristles to remove bacteria from beneath the surface of the gum line, which is what makes electric toothbrushes so effective at cleaning your teeth.   
  7. Using too much toothpaste.  You only need a pea-sized amount of toothpaste on your toothbrush. Too much toothpaste is not only wasteful, but it can create too much foam in your mouth, which can be uncomfortable.   
  8. Not replacing your heads regularly.  Electric toothbrush heads tend to be more expensive than regular toothbrushes, but they should both be replaced every three months. After three months of use, brush heads may be worn on a microscopic level, reducing their effectiveness. They may also have a buildup of bacteria. It is important to replace your brush based on time as opposed to a visual inspection of the bristles, as you may not be able to see the wear.   
  9. Skipping flossing.  You may assume that because your brush works so well, you will not have to floss. However, brushes can not reach the places between teeth that floss can, so it is still important that you floss once a day.   
  10. Brushing less often.  You may think that because you are using an electric toothbrush, once a day is enough brushing. However, it is important to remove plaque and food particles every 12 hours to prevent a buildup, so twice a day is still the recommendation. 

Purchasing a better tool to brush your teeth with is a good step in improving your oral health, but it is only effective if you learn to use it properly. You can consult your dentist for more info on getting the most out of your particular brush. 


28 May 2015

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