If you haven’t had one of those visits with the dentist where you swear upon your life you’re going to take your dental hygiene 1,000% more seriously … well, you’re either already a brushing ninja or (be honest) you haven’t been to the dentist in a decade. If you’re the former, this article isn’t for you. If you fit in the latter category, have no fear or shame. We’ve been there, too.
Let’s be as straight as you wish your teeth were, according to the ADA, “Either manual or powered toothbrushes can be used effectively.” So, theoretically, you’ll technically be fine with that free toothbrush you got from the dentist the last time you were there (unless it was in the era before Obama went gray). After spending some time under the hood with a powered toothbrush provided by the good folks at Goby, we are pretty much power converted. Following are some reasons why you should be too.
You can’t brush for 2 minutes
There are only a couple of places where two minutes seems improbably slow and unbearable: watching most YouTube videos and brushing your teeth. Unless you brush with a timer, which isn’t half-bad of an idea, many if not most of today’s electric toothbrushes let you know when your two minutes are up. Psychologically the passing of time just seems quicker when your toothbrush tracks it for you. Studies have shown that most people believe they brush for a sufficient amount of time, yet consistently do not. Our brains are tricky things — let the machine count for you.
You also can’t remember to buy new brushes when you’re supposed to
Dentists recommend that you swap out your old toothbrush for a new one every three to four months. Be honest, when was the last time you actually put that advice to practice? Many of the newer companies that make powered toothbrushes have subscription services — the afforementioned Goby and competitor Quip are two examples. Take the guesswork out of your mouth care, stop forcing yourself to remember things you probably never will
You’re probably brushing too hard
More studies and research has shown that many people believe if you brush harder and longer you can get your teeth more clean. We’ve been through this mode, particularly after an upsetting dentist visit. But the same research shows there’s a limit to how effective this approach can be, and you’re potentially damaging your teeth in the process. Just as they do with the recommended 2-minute time frame, toothbrushes have been found to help you keep your brushing regime light-touch
The data backs it up
There’s a notable lack of rigor in a lot of what we have come to understand about dental hygiene. The New York Times gets into some of that. Still, there have been studies on the effectiveness of powered vs. manual brushing when it comes to reducing plaque, and we like the findings: “There is moderate quality evidence that powered toothbrushes provide a statistically significant benefit compared with manual toothbrushes with regard to the reduction of plaque in both the short term and long term.”
These are the only teeth you have
OK, we don’t really have 32 reasons why. But you do — that’s how many teeth you (should) have in your mouth and if you really want to take care of them, why not just get a powered brush. With some of the newer versions of brushes out now, like the Goby or the Quip (you can check out Buzzfeed’s delightfully twee review of the Quip brush here), or the big brand versions you may be used to hearing about, you can get the convenience and efficiency of electric toothbrushes that we’ve had since those old clunky pen-light battery models they used to sell out of the back of comic books. But now, you can get the modern iPhone era versions, were you subscribe and get the brushes sent to you automatically, customize the brushes, or whatever your mouth desires.
No one is saying you must switch to electric toothbrushes, of course. But, in our opinion, we human beings are weak enough in a few key areas that letting the machines do the brushing is worth the initial uptick in cost.
Photo: Barkbud, Flickr