The Electric Toothbrush: Worth Investing In?

A dentist weighs in on the pros and cons.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

When it comes to cleaning teeth, manual brushing may not be the best way if you don’t actually have a proper technique. According to Dr Sam Koo, a dental surgeon at Q&M Dental Group’s Elias Mall and Bukit Batok Central clinics, an electric toothbrush can be of greater benefit.

“An electric toothbrush reduces the level of technique required for efficient tooth brushing as you only need to know where to place it, and for how long,” he says.

“Clinical studies have shown that, compared to a manual toothbrush, it does a better job at plaque removal and as such decreases the incidence of gum disease.”

That’s not all. An electric toothbrush can also prevent you from brushing your teeth too hard. Doing so may not sound like a huge deal, but Dr Koo points out that hard brushing wears down your teeth, leading to cavities and even toothache. It could also result in a receding gum line, making teeth sensitive and look longer than normal. Note: if yours is receding, you should see your dentist to repair it and prevent further damage.

You still have to be mindful

However, this doesn’t mean you don’t have to be mindful when brushing your teeth with an electric toothbrush.

“An electric toothbrush can prevent you from brushing too hard as there is no real technique involved. But it really depends on how hard you press the brush head against your teeth,” he explains.

He adds that an electric toothbrush also allows you to brush your teeth for an adequate duration as it usually comes with a timer function.

It should be noted that while the gadget can be literally life-changing, it can be quite pricey, too. But that shouldn’t stop you from investing in one because there aren’t any disadvantages to it.

“Besides the higher cost and the occasional need for charging, I’d say there are no real cons to an electric toothbrush,” he says.

Planning to buy one? Dr Koo recommends getting a small brush head with compact soft bristles (basically, there should be lesser gaps between them) as it allows for easier manoeuvring at the back of your mouth. He also suggests getting one with an oscillating motion for better results.