Are automatic toothbrushes better or more effective than a manual brush?
While there are some very nice automatic brush options available, from the high-end Braun Oral-B or Sonicare devices, to less costly brushes like the very acceptable Crest SpinBrush, it is still pretty much a myth that these devices are just by their nature better than manual. As it always will be for brushing, technique is more important than technology. We see patients using Autobrushes that still are not getting the plaque off their teeth and have a lot of problems related to that, and others using manual brushes whose teeth are spotless. This is why we spend so much time with new patients educating them about what plaque is and how to remove it, because plaque is truly the root of all Dental Evil. And we always start with manual, just so everyone knows that if used properly, and the patient knows how plaque and gingivitis operate, then manual toothbrushing will be completely adequate to get all brush-accessible areas (hint: we haven’t talked about the brush non-accessible areas between your teeth yet where gum disease almost always starts!).
Now all that said, there are groups of people that an automatic brush can make a big difference. One is kids or adults in traditional braces, where an autobrush working around the brackets and wires really makes it easier to get things clean. Another group of patients who benefit from automatic brushes are those whose dexterity is becoming limited, by age or disorders, such that making the small jiggling motions with a manual brush angled 45 degrees into the gumlines is becoming too difficult. In both these cases, automatic brushes are a great choice. We do have definite preferences in brushes, both for automatic and manual.. If you’re wondering just ask us, and we will fill you in on what you should look for when you’re looking at all those choices lined up in the drug store.