Minute for minute, electric toothbrushes are more effective at removing plague than a manual toothbrush. In particular, studies have shown that electric toothbrushes remove the bacteria Porphyromonas Gingivalis and Prevotella Intermedia more effectively than manual toothbrushes. Levels of the bacteria, major culprits in causing adult tooth loss, decreased faster than when a traditional toothbrush was used. (British Dental Journal, 1997).
Several types of electric toothbrushes are available. Usually these toothbrushes have a smaller head than their manual counterpart. While this may seem to make them less effective at cleaning the teeth, the smaller heads actually clean better than electric toothbrushes with "normal" sized heads. The larger heads tend to be too bulky when combined with the automatic motion leading to areas of the mouth being missed.
In addition to size, head motion comes in three patterns: circular, elliptical, and up-and-down. Studies have not been definite, but there is an indication that the circular motion of the head may be more effective at cleaning the teeth than an up and down motion.
The bristle used for electric toothbrushes is very important. Since the bristle will be spinning and moving faster than a manual toothbrush, the bristles tend to wear out faster. Look for the softest and highest quality bristle.
Where do you start to look? The Internet is an excellent source. Oral-B, Interplak, Soni Care, and Braun all sell electric toothbrushes over the web or visit a local pharmacy.
Electric toothbrushes are great pieces of technology for those having difficulty with a regular toothbrush or want the added luxury. Electric toothbrushes use a small motor to move the head of the toothbrush independent of the toothbrush handle.
When choosing an electric toothbrush, there are a couple factors to consider. Look for a dense rotating head or brush tufts that are compact. Two-minute timers and rechargeable lightweight handles are always preferable as well. Make sure you choose a well-known brand. There is nothing worse than wasting time looking for replacement brush heads.
Remember, electric toothbrushes effectively clean teeth, but you still need to make sure you use it!