Are Electric Toothbrushes Bad for Gums?

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Electric Toothbrushes Bad for Gums?

Although we take toothbrushes for granted, the manual version we know today didn’t show up until 1938. And electric toothbrushes, known for their advanced functionalities, are relatively new to the consumer market. The bristles of these toothbrushes efficiently rotate or vibrate, helping remove plaque buildup from the gums and teeth. However, when it comes to switching from regular toothbrushes to electric ones, people are often skeptical of the powered versions. Consumers often question if they might be bad for gums in the long run. Should you be concerned? 

The answer is a resounding“no.” In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

To begin with, the importance of brushing is paramount in our daily lives. A toothbrush does its job by removing plaque or food leftovers from our teeth. This action stops the growth of plaque-causing bacteria in our mouth. When we don’t brush, the chances of plaque buildup in our teeth and gums increase. If plaque is not removed consistently, it might lead to gingivitis or gum disease, tooth decay, and other oral problems.

What Really Causes Bad Gums?

Inflamed gums and gum diseases are primarily caused by the following:

  • Poor oral health care practices: This includes skipping regular oral practices such as brushing and flossing. Wrong brushing techniques also play a crucial role in gum recession.
  •  Dental injury: If a tooth or gum injury is left untreated, it can lead to serious oral problems, including deterioration of gums.
  •  Genetics: Gum recession, gingivitis, and other dental problems are often hereditary. If either of your parents struggled with gum recession, you are more likely to have the same oral disease.  
  •  Bruxism: Bruxism is a condition in which you clench, grind, or gnash your teeth. This may be done unconsciously (awake bruxism) or during sleep (sleep bruxism). In the long run, this can lead to gum recession. 
  • Dental alignment: If you have irregularly positioned teeth, you face a higher possibility of developing gum problems. The asymmetrical alignment of teeth makes it tougher for you to properly clean crowded areas.
  • Forceful brushing and flossing: It is important to brush your teeth in the proper manner and not simply using force. In fact, aggressive brushing and flossing can injure gums and amplify problems. An excess amount of pressure while trying to help your teeth can also aggravate existing gum problems. 

According to different clinical studies, the regular use of an electric toothbrush prevents many oral problems. Research also shows they help to effectively reverse existing ones. 

Many of the best electric toothbrushes come with pressure sensors and timers that let you brush your teeth for the required time span without being too harsh on your gums. They help prevent plaque formation, which decreases the chances of gum damage and disease. 

Electric toothbrushes are also very helpful to people during orthodontic care, especially if they’re wearing braces. Due to their easy usage, these brushes can remove debris in and around orthodontic appliances. According to experts, regular brushing with this device reduces plaque by 21% and recession by 11%. And with proper usage, an electric brush doesn’t hurt the tooth enamel: It contributes to overall oral health.

A Clear Advantage for Your Gums

So, what makes electric toothbrushes superior to the manual ones? Here are some of the unique features that make them ideal, especially for gums:

  • Built-In Timer: Dentists usually recommend brushing for 2 minutes at a time. However, most individuals who use manual toothbrushes spend about 45 seconds per session on average. But with electric brushes, you don’t have to keep track of the time on your own. Just set a timer of 2 minutes on the electric brush and let it engage in thorough cleaning. Once the specific time span is over, the brush turns off automatically. An electric toothbrush produces 31,000 strokes per minute! This automated action removes plaque and bacteria from the mouth in a better manner. This really keeps gums healthy!
  • Pressure Sensor: Another interesting feature of electric toothbrushes is their in-built technology that senses the pressure applied. So, if you are pressing your toothbrush too hard, it will let you know about the same and stop you from brushing aggressively. This ensures careful brushing and prevents injury to the gums.
  • Orthodontic Brush Heads: Similar to the manual brushes, the brush heads of electric toothbrushes must be replaced every 3 months. In these brushes, one can easily replace the brush heads. Here, you also have the freedom to pick the bristle placement according to your needs. If you have sensitive gums, the bristle’s positioning and softness ensure optimum plaque removal without injuring your gums. This helps prevent the deterioration of the critical foundation around your teeth.

Bottom Line

Toothbrushes have come a long way, and an electric toothbrush offers a modern twist to lifetime dental health. With proper techniques and appropriate brushing time, electric toothbrushes clean your teeth effectively. And they keep destructive gum problems at bay. Additionally, these toothbrushes make brushing easy and promote better cavity removal. They are safe and convenient to use as the brush does all the work. You simply have to guide the brush along the surfaces of your gum and tooth.

Do your gums a favor: Just use it!


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About the Author Dr. Greg

Dr. Greg's experience in dentistry spans over 25 years serving patients of all ages. He's an advisor to and a consultant to many professional dental projects.