Electric toothbrushes are the new rage these days and the question is to find the best electric toothbrush. Nine-year old Nicholas Racobaldo has not concept of using anything other than an electric toothbrush. He’s never used an ordinary toothbrush to clean his teeth with. And for two years, he’s been using these high-speed gadgets with rotating bristles.
When asked as to why the uses it, his innocent reply was “I like it because it tickles”, and further on, went to say that the ordinary toothbrush felt “yucky” in his mouth.
Nicholas isn’t the only one who prefers electric brushes over ordinary one. In fact, Eileen Hermiston, RDH, a pediatric dental hygienist at the University Of Iowa College Of Dentistry, tells us that many of her patients prefer electrically powered toothbrushes, and think that they are fun to use.
There is an increase in the sale of these powered toothbrushes, and they’ve started coming in all shapes and sizes. Especially for little children, some of them have cartoon characters as the base for e.g. a car, mermaid, cell phone, etc.
With this increased popularity arises the question of their effectiveness, therefore the American Dental Association (ADA) has issued several news releases on the matter. According to the organization manual toothbrushes can be as effective as the powered ones. The key to prevent tooth decay, according to the experts, lies in the way a person uses their toothbrush, be it an electric one or the manual one.
More Power per Dollar?
There was a time when the toothbrushes were considered luxury items. According to the ADA, during the middle Ages, the wealthy Europeans used sweet-smelling wood to clean their mouth. But by 1498, the emperor of China found another way to brush teeth, by placing hog bristles on a bone handle. This became popular with the common folk in Europe. Still the price of hog bristles were pretty steep, so one family used to share a toothbrush to cut costs.
Today the cost of a powered toothbrush is higher (almost 3 times) than the manual ones. Sharing the same toothbrush these days is a complete no. Kevin Wong, who is Thirty years old, says that he mere thought of his toothbrush falling on the ground makes him twitchy, and this is something that bothers him much as his electric toothbrush has a larger base than what his toothbrush holder could use. Apart from this, he’s happy with his battery operated, spinning brush, and believes that it cleans his mouth in a better way than the regular brush. But he’s not convinced it to keep using after the bristles have worn off and says, “It’s a fun thing to have, but I don’t know if it’s worth the cost.”
Ranging from 6,000 to 30,000 strokes per minute, these mechanical brushed provide more power per dollar as compared to the regular brushes, and they take lesser amount of time to get the job done.
However, some people don’t prefer the power stroke action and vibration, and find it a bit too much. According to Hermiston, “For some younger kid or kids that are a little bit more sensitive, the vibrations seem to bother them.”
The Official Spin
Toothbrushes are considered by the U.S. government to be medical devices, and they fall within the Food and Drug Administration’s Class I category. Therefore, they pose the least amount of threat and undergo the least amount of regulatory control.
A spokeswoman for the FDA says that she hasn’t come across any issues related to electric toothbrushes.
Toothbrush maker Braun Oral-B came out with a report on the effectiveness of the mechanical devices. In their study, more than 16,000 patients were asked by their dentists to use the powered Braun Oral-B toothbrush. The results showed that 80% of the patients had a positive effect on their oral health. Therefore, most patients showed a positive change after using the electronic device.