Are Electric Toothbrushes Waterproof

Are Electric Toothbrushes Waterproof

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Brushing your teeth has come a long way over the years, with electric toothbrushes now using sonic technology at an affordable price for most people. Considering that your teeth are one of the most used and essential parts of your body, it's amazing how it's not the most important part of some people's health and beauty regime. Having a good set of teeth as you get older is vital unless you want to be sipping soup through a straw in older age.

Electric toothbrushes are now more efficient than ever and have a whole host of cool features to ensure better brushing in hard-to-reach areas, on sensitive gums and in plaque removal. If you're not familiar with electric toothbrushes, then you may have a whole raft of questions regarding how they operate, how effective they are, and if they are worth the money. A common problem that always comes up in chat room forums is, are electric toothbrushes waterproof?

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Designed to be Waterproof

Using your toothbrush in the shower is a quick way to shave a few minutes off your morning routine. But is it safe to use your electric toothbrush in the shower? There is no straightforward answer to this question, and you will need to refer to your manufacturer's instruction booklet. However, it is fair to say that the majority of quality electric toothbrushes that are on the market today will be waterproof. Electric toothbrushes are designed to work and operate around water in your bathroom, in the sink and importantly, your mouth.

From a safety point of view, the majority of electric or sonic toothbrushes are battery-powered and as such work on a low voltage setting which means there is little impact from contact with water. This is not the case with the base charging unit which will be plugged into a 110-volt power supply and caution must be taken with anything that is connected to the main power.

Typically, most electric toothbrushes are made in two separate sections that allow for the brush to maximize its waterproof properties. The brush head is usually a manual activation that is detachable and totally separate to the base unit. The power comes from a battery source and tends to be a sealed plastic unit in the handle that is only accessible for battery replacement or has a sealed charging plug adaptor. By the nature of this design, it would be clear to see that this would be water resistant, if not necessarily waterproof.

Safety Standards to Give you a Guide

To be 100% certain about the water integrity of your toothbrush there is a safety standard called the IP protocol or IP-code. This stands for international protection marking or sometimes referred to as ingress protection marking. This protocol effectively gives an international standard to the device’s performance against ingress of water and dust into the machine. It is designed to provide consumers with a reference scale of protection rather than just a phrase for “waterproof” or “dust proof”.  

The scale is a test for the level of dust or water ingress into the device over a period of time and depth / pressure of water. For example, if your electronic toothbrush was rated IP67 the 6 will relate to the level of dust protection on a scale of 6, where six relates to 100% protection against dust throughout 8 hours testing. The seven will refer to the water protection on a range of 8, where 8 will dictate that the device was still waterproof after continual immersion of water over 1 m in depth. Not all toothbrush manufacturers bother paying for this level of testing, so it is worthwhile seeking this information out if you prefer to be 100 % sure of the product integrity.

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Let Common Sense Prevail!

Cleaning your toothbrush regularly will maintain its useful life and also retain its integrity to water resistance. Giving your toothbrush a rinse under the cold water tap daily is encouraged by most manufacturers to maintain the performance of the device. Common sense should always prevail when dealing with water and electricity and always remember that the charging dock or cable should never be submerged in water.

During our research for this article, it is apparent that electric toothbrushes are commonly used as cleaning devices for things like tropical fish tanks, where algae builds upon the base of plants and in corners and crevices. Although It is not recommended by manufacturers to submerge the toothbrush in water, it seems to be a common-place practice and indeed demonstrates that an electric toothbrush is waterproof!

If this is what you intend to use your electric toothbrush for, please refer to your manufacturer's instructions and try and find a brush that has an IP rating of 8 which demonstrates that it is fully waterproof with continual submergence over 1 m in depth.

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.