Thank you so much for all the great feedback and comments regarding the first article on this subject of electric vs. manual brushing!
In case you haven’t read part one of this discussion, here’s a link to it: Electric vs manual brushing, which is better? part 1
In that first article, we established that how we brush our teeth is fundamentally more important than what tool we use.
In this second article of the two-part series, we’ll explore some pros and cons of several types of electric and manual toothbrushes.
Electric toothbrush overview
The spectrum of different devices has grown tremendously over the past 10 years.
Oral-B and Sonicare brushes have become the standards in the industry.
There are also several offshoots that use sonic technology as well as many other lesser-known brands.
Sonicare and other sonic-style brushes
The Sonicare company has done a tremendous job marketing its toothbrush to the world.
In fact, in sales circles, they are recognized as one of the best overall (not just dental-related) companies in the world at marketing their product! So it’s not surprising that many people love their Sonicare toothbrushes.
Here’s a bit of information you may not hear from the dentists who endorse (and sell) Sonicare toothbrushes.
Many of our dentist friends have told us that they aren’t impressed with the job that sonic brushes do to remove plaque.
We don’t know the exact reason why. Maybe sonic-style brushes just don’t clean teeth as well as their marketing departments claim. Or maybe the brush user places too much trust in the technology’s abillity to remove plaque, so they don’t use the brush as thoroughly as they might if they were using a lower-tech brush.
In any case, if you are happy with your sonic brush and your dentist/hygienist is giving you a thumbs-up, then keep doing what you’re doing.
However, if you use a sonic brush and still get mixed results during your dental checkups, then you may benefit from a different tool that will better support you along your path to greater oral health.
We have no personal experience with the Sonicare brush other than trying it once.
The way the brush head moves for sonic brushes does not facilitate the Bass Brushing Technique, and that has always been enough reason for us to look for more suitable options for our family.
Besides, the electric vibration in the mouth did not feel good to us. More on this farther down below…
Oral-B and similar spin / rotary brushes
As we mentioned, the Oral-B electric brush is the other industry standard. In full disclosure, we have had an Oral-B brush for many years and have used it off and on.
Everyone in our family generally prefers manually brushing with the Bass Brushing Technique and a Bass toothbrush.
However, every once in a while I still do use the Oral-B to give the surfaces of my teeth an extra polish and remove any remaining plaque. (Kind of like how a hygienist uses a rotary head tool to polish our teeth.)
As I have continued to improve my diet (mainly by continuing to cut back on sugars), the amount of plaque that I need to remove in this way has diminished dramatically.
If you’d like tips on ‘in-the-mouth’ and ‘whole-body’ strategies you can use to help support your oral health, feel free to download our FREE eBook, “How to stop tooth decay and remineralize your teeth”.
There’s another rotary-style electric brush called ‘Rotadent’ that we really appreciate. However, in the same breath, we have to state that we aren’t fans of the company that produces the brush.
The brush design is particularly good for gently sweeping along the gum line to help disorganize the colonies of thug bugs that are implicated with gum disease.
The Rotadent may be a good option for someone who is looking for an electric brush to help with existing gum disease (and of course, the tools in our HealThy Mouth System can really help with this, too).
While the Rotadent brush is great, it’s not built as well as the Oral-B. So if you choose to purchase a Rotadent, you’ll definitely want to do so via an authorized dealer so you’re eligible for their warranty.
In other words, if you purchase a Rotadent toothbrush from an unauthorized dealer on amazon.com or elsewhere, your Rotadent warranty will not be valid.
This is why we don’t like the company.
Also, they have structured their business so that for the most part, only dental offices seem to be their authorized dealers. We have reached out to them explaining that we would love to be an authorized dealer so we can offer you this great brush with the warranty. Unfortunately, they didn’t go for the idea. 🙁
So, if you know a dentist who is a rep for Rotadent and you are looking for a good electric brush, consider getting one. Just be sure you get it from an authorized dealer so you have the warranty intact.
30 Second Smile and Bass-style electric brushes
Another electric toothbrush we tried and really liked is the 30 Second Smile brush.
This brush uses the Bass Brushing Technique, and like our manual OraWellness Bass Toothbrushes, the 30 Second Smile toothbrush bristle ends are rounded to reduce abrasiveness (we’ll go into more detail on bristle tips below).
We liked this brush so much that we wrote a separate article on it: “What’s the best electric toothbrush to reduce gum disease?“.
Note of caution
Our first article in this series did receive a number of comments regarding the risks of EMFs (electromagnetic frequencies) that might be emitted from electric toothbrushes.
One person had a device to measure EMFs, and they said their electric toothbrush had a very high reading on their EMF meter. So, if you consider yourself more sensitive to electromagnetic frequencies, you may want to keep this in mind when navigating the manual vs. electric toothbrush question.
For similar reasons, we have always been a bit cautious toward the sonic-style brushes in particular. We feel that the vibration that these sonic-style brushes emit to knock plaque off our teeth could cause more collateral damage than we realize.
For example, is it possible that these sonic waves could compromise the bond of existing restorations (fillings, etc.) in the mouth?
Also, is it possible that the sonic waves could scramble other systems in the body?
Given that we are very aware of the bio-electric nature of our bodies (think of acupuncture and the meridians of traditional Chinese medicine), having more electric waves inside the head has never felt like the right path for us.
Reminder to brush consciously
Depending on the level of awareness one applies while using an electric toothbrush, the beneficial features that it has can also wind up becoming risks.
An electric brush is faster at removing plaque due to its mechanical movement. However, if we brush unconsciously, this increased movement can cause faster damage, too.
Let’s keep in mind that one of the main contributing factors in gum recession is brushing the teeth too hard day after day.
Gum tissue likes to be massaged. It likes to be stimulated and loved on. However, it doesn’t like it when the massage turns into a torture session (ever had one of those massages? 🙂 ).
We consider daily unconscious brushing to be one of the main assaults to navigating the path to our optimal oral health.
No matter which toothbrush you choose to use, you just need to gently place the bristles against your teeth and gums and then do your thing (you don’t need to use a bunch of pressure).
If you’re using an electric toothbrush, it’s even more important to be super mindful of the amount of pressure you’re using (hopefully not much at all!). Also, you just need to slowly move the brush around your mouth, because the electric brush is doing all of the work for you.
In terms of using the Bass Brushing Technique with electric brushes, it might be best to do this technique along your gum line with the brush turned off. Then turn the brush on when you’ve finished with your gum line and are ready to circle back to brushing the surfaces of your teeth, tongue, etc.
For move information on brushing, feel free to check out our article, “How to avoid 3 common tooth brushing mistakes that can damage your teeth and gums“.
There’s such a big range of manual toothbrush features that it can be overwhelming when you’re trying to pick the one that’s right for you.
Is the handle supposed to be long? Short? Curved? Made from recycled materials?
What about the bristles–are they long? Short? Multi-leveled?
There are two criteria we stand by when it comes to choosing a toothbrush.
First, the brush bristles should be rounded at the tip. Some toothbrushes look great with the naked eye, but when you look at the bristle tips under a microscope (or super zoomed in with a macro lens on a DSLR camera), the torture potential shows itself.
The image on the left below shows the Bass toothbrush’s polished round bristle tips. The image on the right below shows the jaggedly cut bristle tips of a common toothbrush that can easily be found in stores.
With this up-close view, it’s easy to see how we can damage our tooth enamel and gum tissue over time by brushing unconsciously, especially with the typical toothbrushes that are available in stores.
Speaking of bristles, this brings us to our second criterion for choosing a toothbrush.
It has never made sense to us why some brush manufacturers use colored bristles that are meant to fade over time ‘so you know when to change your brush’. Really? Bristles that are dyed and the color fades with use? After all, where does that color go but into our mouths and bodies! 🙁
That’s why you won’t find color-fading bristles on our Bass toothbrushes. Instead, we encourage folks to pay attention to the condition of the bristles as an indicator of when it’s time to change your brush.
You see, when the bristles start to fray and frazzle and bend out of shape, they’re no longer effective at helping us keep plaque biofilms thin and disrupt thug bugs. So, that’s when it’s time to switch to a new toothbrush.
You can actually use this tip with any toothbrush that you choose to use.
In general, a toothbrush should last at least a couple of months (incidentally, here’s an article that explains how to sanitize your toothbrush, in case you’d like to check it out). If you find that your bristles are bending out of shape quicker than that, it might be a sign that you’ve been brushing too hard.
We’ve tried lots of different types of toothbrushes, and overall, we’ve stuck with using the Bass Brushing Technique along with our effective but not-very-fancy Bass toothbrushes.
In fact, we’ve had fun conversations with customers (you know who you are! 🙂 ) who admitted that when they received their first Bass brushes, they wondered what dollar store we had purchased them from. However, after trying them, they found they really love our brushes!
The takeaways from the two articles in this series…
- How we brush is more important than what type of brush we use.
- We should each choose whichever brush and brushing technique we can consciously, comfortably, and effectively use to support our oral health by thinning plaque biofilms and disrupting thug bug colonies.
What about you? Do you prefer a manual or electric brush (and why)? What feedback has your dentist given you regarding how well your toothbrush or brushing technique have been working? Have you learned any helpful tips along your path to greater oral health?
We’re all in this together. We feel so blessed to be able to engage with you so we can share our stories with one another and benefit from the lessons we’ve each learned.
Would you like to hear more of our thoughts on any of the subjects we’ve touched on here? If so, please let us know in the comments below!! (hey, that kind of rhymed 🙂 )
We love you.
Thank you and Aloha!
Helpful, Related Resources:
How to Stop Tooth Decay and Remineralize Your Teeth [free eBook]
Electric vs manual brushing, which is better? part 1 [article]
How To Brush Your Teeth To Reduce Gum Disease [article]
OraWellness Bass Toothbrush [product solution]
HealThy Mouth System [product solution]
What’s the best electric toothbrush to reduce gum disease? [article]
Meridian Tooth Chart [free resource]
What Causes Receding Gums and How to Stop it [article]
How to avoid 3 common tooth brushing mistakes that can damage your teeth and gums [article]
3 Easy Ways to Keep Thug Bugs From Growing on Your Toothbrush [article]