Turns Out You’ve Been Using Your Electric Toothbrush Incorrectly

Question of the day: How do YOU use an electric toothbrush?
a) draw small *circles* around each tooth
b) scrub along the gum line as you would like a manual toothbrush
c) press down on each tooth individually 
d) all of the above
Have a good think before answering this one ’cause yours truly got it W R O N G, which was embarrassing as hell only because it was my boss asking and also called into question everything I knew about oral hygiene.
To be clear, this isn’t the sort of thing the chief of P.TV asks on the daily but, having returned from the dentist where he was probably asked a same thing and probably also got it wrong, the idea presented itself as a good one to ‘brush up on’, if you will. Because if he got it wrong and I’m wrong, how many others out there are also doing the wrong thing with their electric toothbrushes?

So anyway, my answer was: I draw little circles around each tooth, going round and round the gum.
*Rude shock*
The answer is actually to gently press down on each tooth for a few seconds each before moving onto the next one.


We asked Aussie dentist and Oral-B spokesperson, Dr Christopher Ho, for further clarification:
“Electric or power toothbrushes use what they call, ‘rotating oscillating technology’, which basically does all the work for you, so all you have to do is lay the toothbrush on each tooth for a few seconds before moving onto the next one and let that technology brush away the plaque.

Every 30 seconds you should be doing one-quarter of your mouth, and you should spend at least 2 minutes to clean your entire mouth.”

Dr Ho says many of his patients over-brush leaving grooves in their teeth or causing the gums to recede. “Plaque is quite soft, so you don’t need to scrub too hard.”
The big DON’T is using your power brush like a normal brush, which is what many people do when they go from one to the other.
“It’s actually a very important feature that you’re not scrubbing your teeth with you power toothbrush,” he says.
While he had Dr Ho on the phone, we took the opportunity to ask him all of our other burning dental questions:
On the virtues of manual toothbrushes versus electric toothbrushes…
“It’s just so much easier and more efficient to use a power toothbrush. Studies have shown that a power toothbrush cleans 100% better than a manual toothbrush, and I see it all the time with my own patients – you can tell who cleans with a power toothbrush [because] it’s just so much cleaner.  It’s like using a computer instead of a pen and paper.”

On the biggest mistake people are making when they brush…

“One of the biggest misconceptions is [People scrubbing] their teeth really hard to get it clean. I see lots and lots of patients doing that actually and it’s quite… surprising. They think that if they brush harder the whiter their teeth will be, but that’s actually making it worse because they’re wearing away at the enamel and exposing more of what’s underneath, which gives the tooth a yellow appearance that’s hard to reverse.”

Now go practice – I will be. 

Image via Google.