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how to use an electric toothbush



Well-known member
Mar 7, 2014

Found this demo. The woman in the demo has perfect gums and teeth. Anyhow, a lot of people disliked this video and as comments are disabled you do not know why it was disliked. Personally I did not feel the demo was adequate enough. It was too fast and he went round the mouth too quickly. I told the dentist I use a battery toothbush and she said I should put pressure on it as I use it. The videos I have watched suggest you do not need to put pressure with toothbush unless it is a manual one because the head of a non manual toothbrush spins round and all you need to do is guide it gently round you mouth and finish by using a mouthwash because bits of plaque go in your mouth from bushing. I was told to rinse with plain water but when I was having sensitivity issues which I no longer have, I was told to use sensodyne toothpaste and not rinse at all because the toothpaste needs to stay on the teeth to act as a barrier for the sensitivity to hot and cold and by rinsing you rinse off the toothpaste. I was also advised to smear toothpaste over the teeth for a bit of extra help. But as I said, I don't get sensivite teeth anymore
Funny, I have been thinking about this as I have an electric toothbrush for the first time. I really like my new sonicare so far. I have resoundingly heard not to apply pressure (mine is supposed to vibrate if I do.) I find myself needing to brush much longer than the timer though. It gives thirty seconds for four quadrants, or two minutes total. I have found needing to run it again and nearly doing another cycle, so 3.5 to four minutes each brush. I’m trying to do it 30-45 minutes after meals or at least twice a day. I was a manual toothbrush brusher until now and using the sonicare and not applying pressure, I think I’ve been brushing too hard forever! Yeek. Since my deep clean my gums have not bled once. Who knows if the progress is material or not but I used to bleed in one or two spots about twice a week, so I’m very happy about that. The sonicare manual says to hold the toothbrush at a 45 degree slant on your tooth, tipping upward. There are illustrations. I have not at all mastered that though, find it awkward to hold the brush that way.

Thanks for sharing the video!
You are brushing too long. It should only be for 2 minutes. People say an electric toothbrush is better but I think it is down to the individual. I have a friend who has only 4 fillings and has very good gums (no gum disease) and she has only ever used a manual toothbrush. My mother kept most of her teeth until she died at the age of 93 and she never used an electric toothbrush and only had very deep cleaning to her teeth because she smoked and had a lot of tartar from smoking, not from poor hygine
Brushing is all about technique. The goal, no matter which toothbrush gets used, is to cover all tooth surfaces and make them all clean and doing it in a way that won't damage your gums. Too much pressure applied on any kind of a toothbrush can cause your gums to recede.

Funny enough, I visited a dental fairtrade yesterday, accompanied with my lovely colleague. We visited a stand of one of the electric toothbrush manufacturers and got the possiblity to try out their new toothbrush which was connected to a mobile app and showed us whether we cleaned our teeth properly or not. There was a staff member next to every brushing visitor to give us explanations and show us how the app works. We were both a bit upset about the staff - I needed 4 minutes to brush my teeth properly, which is my usual time with an electric toothbrush, if I make sure to clean all surfaces and hidden corners of my mouth and as I wanted to rinse before brushing my tongue, the staff member said 'just give me the toothbrush'. While I thought they wanted to hold it for the moment, they in reality started to clean it preparing it for the next visitor as they thought I was done. I was shocked that a person working for a tooth brush label didn't expect me to brush my tongue. My friend, a very experienced dental hygienist started to brush her teeth brushing the front surfaces first. As she was done with the front surfaces, which was about 3,5 minutes later (and to her surprise the app falsely said everything was clean), her supporting stuff member said ok, so you are done now and wanted to take away her brush which she of course didn't allow. We both were questioning the app as it clearly showed our teeth were clean while we knew we haven't cover all the surfaces yet and we also had a vivid discussion about time not being the best indicator when it comes to the thoroughness of the brushing (and the staff members obviously being used to visitors who brush very quickly).

Everyone uses a different technique when it comes to brushing, as you say it's down to the individual. It is possible to brush properly with a manual toothbrush if you use the right technique. The electric one is easier as it pulsates/oscilates/vibrates so that you do not have to think of the technique much but just holding it in place.

Watching the video I found the speed of moving the toothbrush proper only at the first few teeth on the model. He said 2 seconds per tooth surface and if you use this speed you are over two minutes already. They say two seconds per teeth, the front surface first on all teeth, than the back surfaces, then the chewing surfaces. Taking 32 teeth it's even more than 3 minutes. But anyway, the point is to brush away all plaque in a gentle way.

If you like to read what we have here on the forum about brushing techniques, take a look here.
I had a look at toothbrushes with a timer and they are really expensive so I decided not to get one. In reality you do not really need a toothbrush with a timer. All you need is a stop watch or other form of timer such as an egg timer.
I noticed in my case that I would count to 3 per side of tooth, but I don’t really spend 3 seconds per side of tooth.

Some days I finish way before my toothbrush timer and other days I have a few teeth left to clean and the timer is already completed.

I think as long as you find a routine that works for you and that gets your teeth properly cleaned, you are good.
We've collected got some tips for choosing an electric toothbrush here.

Agree about the timer function not being particularly important (as you said, you could use an egg timer instead, if you were wanting to use a timer), but some of the really useful features of higher-end electric toothbrushes (in the oral-b range at least) include a pressure sensor which prevents you from applying too much force, and a greater number of both oscillations and rotations, which lead to a better cleaning result.

Also, the battery life tends to be longer (which I suppose isn't strictly necessary, but a handy feature nonetheless) :).