When toothbrushes were first invented, their use was advocated simply as a method to clean the surface of teeth. Today, toothbrushes are designed to do far more. Advances in the field of dentistry have pushed manufacturers to create toothbrushes that will remove plaque, polish and whiten teeth, sweeten the breath, and improve the general health of the mouth.
The latest advancement in this pursuit is the electric toothbrush. Consumers love high-powered electronics, which may partially explain why electric toothbrushes are becoming so popular. But can they damage your teeth? Is the power that we trust to get our teeth squeaky clean the very thing that could destroy them?
Sensitive Teeth: A Recent Phenomenon
Tooth sensitivity has become more of a problem today than in previous years. It occurs when the enamel on the teeth begins to wear down, leaving the roots of the teeth exposed.
People with tooth sensitivity complain that their teeth are bleeding more often, and they experience pain when they eat hot and cold foods. Even breathing in a cold gust of air can be painful to a person who has sensitive teeth. Tooth sensitivity can be caused by many things, such as gum disease, grinding teeth during sleep, eating too many acidic foods, or even as the aftermath of a dental procedure.
However, dentists also say that the improper use of electric toothbrushes is contributing to the development of sensitive teeth. They are seeing more and more of their patients come in to their office with tooth abrasions and receding gums. According to dentists, that’s because people are brushing their teeth too hard and fast with electric toothbrushes.
Proper Way To Use An Electric Toothbrush
In spite of these problems, dentists have not banned the electric toothbrush. In fact, they acknowledge that an electric toothbrush can do a better job of removing plaque and gingivitis, if it is used in the correct way. This is mainly because an electric toothbrush is multi-directional. It can reach places in the mouth which are more difficult to reach with a manual toothbrush.
Here are some of their pointers for using an electric toothbrush:
- Buy a high quality sonic toothbrush. This type of toothbrush is more expensive, but it is very effective at buffing teeth, and it has a pressure sensor that will beep if you clean your teeth too hard.
- Use a soft or very soft brush head only. Use as little pressure as possible on your teeth when you brush.
- Move your brush lightly in circular movements at an angle, so that both the teeth and the gums will be cleaned.
- Don’t brush immediately after meals. Some foods leave acid on the teeth that can intensify the erosion of the teeth when brushed.
- Avoid giving an electric toothbrush to a child, who hasn’t yet learned to use it in the right way.
If you notice that your teeth are already too sensitive, then the damage has unfortunately been done. You may be better off switching to a manual toothbrush, and using a toothpaste that is recommended for people with sensitive teeth. Many patients who have done this have found nearly instantaneous relief from their pain. Because tooth sensitivity can be an indicator of other serious problems, you should always visit your dentist to allow him to advise you about the best course of action to take.