Do Electric Toothbrushes Damage Teeth: Safety Brushing 101

Do Electric Toothbrushes Damage Teeth: Safety Brushing 101

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Electric toothbrushes are the newest trend in oral health. Compared to manual toothbrushes, electric toothbrushes are powered to create rapid bristle motions to easily remove cavities and plaque from teeth, gums, and tongue. In fact, according to recent studies, electric toothbrushes can remove 21 percent more plaque and 11 percent more gingivitis than manual toothbrushes. But, do electric toothbrushes damage teeth as told by some users?

That question has been raised multiple times because there are incidents such as bleeding gum lines and abrasion cavities that some dentists and users claim to be caused by electric toothbrushes. Hence, with the more expensive price tag of electric toothbrushes as compared to conventional ones, seeking the answer to that question is essential.

Do Electric Toothbrushes Damage Teeth?

Dentist Dr. Sameer Patel of Elleven Dental, London is one of the experts who contradicted the claim that electric toothbrushes are the cause of the mentioned conditions above. He says that it is not the electric toothbrush that causes the damage but the way the users brush their teeth. He said that most people use the electric toothbrush just the same way they use the manual toothbrush, which is apparently wrong.

How to Use Electric Toothbrushes Safely

Now that we know that the improper way of using electric toothbrushes is the leading cause of oral cavity problems, here are the correct ways of using them:

  • Make sure that the electric toothbrush is fully charged.

Definitely, the toothbrush will not work with empty batteries or not properly work with low batteries. Keep extra batteries at hand so you can readily replace them when in need.

  • The electric brush must be in good condition.

The bristles eventually wear out when regularly used, so make sure you check it to maintain its quality and integrity. It should be soft and round-ended for more effective cleaning.

  • Prepare the electric toothbrush to ensure an effective cleaning of the teeth.

Put it under running water for a few seconds and put on a pea-sized amount of toothpaste onto it. It is better to put the toothpaste while the brush is turned off to spread the toothpaste evenly.

Bonus tip: fluoride toothpaste is more effective for strengthening the enamel of the teeth, and it helps lessen teeth sensitivity.

  • Clean the four quadrants of the mouth: top, bottom, left, and right.

Always make sure that you brush each of the sections as it also helps in maintaining healthy brushing routine. Begin with any quadrant that is most comfortable to you and spend 20 to 40 seconds on each.

Also pay attention to the biting surface, soft palate (roof of the mouth), and tongue. Make sure that you clean them too to eliminate any debris and bacteria that may cause odor. Gently scrub the biting surface and tongue back and forth, and more gentle scrub on the soft palate.

  • Place the electric toothbrush on the gum line at 45-degree angle and on the tooth surface.

This way, you can brush effectively and prevent your teeth and gum from damage. Do not put too much pressure as it will damage the teeth and gums. Just let the vibrations of the toothbrush add a little pressure.

While keeping the 45-degree angle to the gum line, brush the exterior of the teeth on a rolling motion. Do it for each quadrant. Do the same procedure for the interior of the teeth.

  • Brush with utmost gentleness and thoroughness.

Brush your teeth for at least two minutes or 30 seconds on each quadrant. You should also brush at least twice a day to prevent tooth decay.

Additional note: Wait for 30 minutes to one hour after drinking or eating acidic foods to maintain enamel health. During these minutes, the saliva replenishes lost minerals from the enamel and builds an alkaline environment.

  • Don’t forget to floss.

Despite thorough and regular brushing, food particles and plaque will remain in between the teeth. To make sure that you get rid of them, floss between your teeth.

Like brushing, floss gently by curving it against the tooth when it reaches the gum line. Some experts say that flossing before and after brushing teeth can escalate the effectiveness of fluoride.

  • After brushing and flossing, rinse out your mouth with antiseptic, alcohol-free mouthwash.

Mouthwash is designed to help eliminate bacteria and gingivitis as well as stimulates overall oral health. The kinds of mouthwash that dentists recommend are the brands that contain chlorhexidine.

  • Store your electric toothbrush properly.

After using your electric toothbrush, wash it off by placing it under running water while cleaning off any toothpaste residue. Once clean, tap it a little to remove excess water, and then put it back in its designated area in an upright position.

Features to Maximize the Use of an Electric Toothbrush

Electric toothbrushes come with different features, and each feature has a function that contributes to a healthy brushing habit and preventing any damage to the tooth enamel and gum line. If the electric toothbrush has any or a combination of the following features, make sure that you maximize them.

1. Pressure sensor

The pressure sensor detects if you are putting too much pressure on teeth while brushing. When you do, the electric toothbrush automatically stops or produces a sound caution. The type of electric toothbrush that usually comes with this feature is the high-end sonic toothbrush.

2. Bluetooth

Some electric toothbrushes come with Bluetooth that enables you to connect it to your smartphone via an app. The app will inform you how long you have been brushing, the amount of pressure you apply while brushing, etc. The app can also send a signal to the toothbrush such as the brushing modes, cleaning time, and other data.

3. Cleaning mode

Electric toothbrushes, especially the sonic toothbrushes, come with changeable cleaning modes and intensity levels. Each of which is intended for specific types of cleaning efficacy. Use the mode and intensity level that are safe for your teeth.


Yes, they are efficient and convenient, but do electric toothbrushes damage teeth? The answer truly depends on how you use your electric toothbrush. The best way to use it is to brush gently and thoroughly, and you need to apply less pressure compared to the pressure you apply when using a manual toothbrush.

When you practice the recommended brushing habits with electric toothbrushes, then you will achieve the optimal oral hygiene and health.

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.