Do You Use Toothpaste with Electric Toothbrushes

Do You Use Toothpaste with Electric Toothbrushes?

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Electric toothbrushes come with a little higher price tag than their manual counterparts, but they deliver real benefits. These battery-driven marvels drive a mini motor that creates rotation or vibration in the toothbrush head.

The electric, moving parts sometimes leave people asking “Do you use toothpaste with electric toothbrushes, and if yes, what toothpaste should you use?” Also, “If an electric toothbrush can do a great job in cleaning your teeth, then why is it necessary to use toothpaste with it?

Do You Use Toothpaste with Electric Toothbrushes?

While you can brush your teeth with water on your electric toothbrush only, most dentists will advise you against it. Brushing your teeth without toothpaste won’t be as effective as brushing your teeth with toothpaste. Most dentists suggest toothpaste on any toothbrush because it increases the level of fluoride exposure to the teeth.

Why Is Fluoride Toothpaste Beneficial for Our Teeth?

Fluoride is a mineral or a compound of fluorine that occurs naturally in the Earth’s crust. It’s found in numerous food items including avocados, cucumbers, sunflower seeds, and more. Generally speaking, our body needs an adequate amount of fluoride. In the right amounts, the mineral helps maintain the overall health of our teeth and bones.

One of the best attributes of fluoride is its ability to reduce the occurrence of cavities. Combined with flossing and visiting your dentist regularly, it can help prevent tooth decay. Additionally, fluoride can help fight gingivitis.

Fluoride helps strengthen tooth enamel which erodes over time due to exposure of acids in food and drink. Once the enamel erodes, it cannot be regenerated by the body. Fluoride toothpaste offers the best protection since it replenishes the crystal structure of enamel. Similarly, fluoride can substantially reduce the population of bacteria and prevent the production of acid, which is a byproduct of bacterial metabolism.

With all those recognized benefits, it’s not difficult to find a toothpaste product that contains fluoride. In addition, many municipal water supplies are fluoridated, the most effective anti-cavity effort on record. But fluoridated water isn’t without critics, and the controversy isn’t going away soon.

What Is Prescription Fluoride Toothpaste?

Besides fluoride toothpaste that you can buy anywhere, you may have heard of prescription fluoride toothpaste. It’s a type of toothpaste that contains significantly higher levels of fluoride than the regular ones. It also contains other ingredients which are beneficial for your teeth.

Prescription toothpaste is recommended by the dentist when the patient or user has a higher chance of developing cavities and risk or history of periodontal disease. It is also commonly prescribed for those who have sensitive teeth, exposed tooth root surfaces, or chronic dry mouth.

How to Safely Use Fluoride Toothpaste with an Electric Toothbrush?

In order to get the most out of the fluoride toothpaste, you need to use it as directed by your dentist. A safe start includes brushing your teeth at least twice a day. However, the recommended amount of toothpaste you use depends on your age.

Most adults believe that they need to cover their entire toothbrush surface with toothpaste. That’s what you see in the ads, right? The truth is that such liberal use of toothpaste is way too much and can damage the teeth instead of strengthening them. Adults should use a pea-sized dab of toothpaste on the surface of their toothbrush. That’s more than adequate to achieve clean teeth and fresh breath.

Children between the age of three and six should also use nothing more than a pea-sized dab of toothpaste.  Since a child’s brush is smaller than ours, this might look like a small pea! For children below three years old, the amount of toothpaste used should be less yet:  A dab the size of a grain of rice does the job.

How About Non-Fluoride Toothpaste Products?

There are toothpaste products that don’t contain fluoride which can also be used with electric toothbrushes. Non-fluoride toothpaste isn’t a bad choice for everyone, but you miss the main protective function of toothpaste.

That means it does not necessarily do a good job in protecting your teeth from decay nor will you have visibly cleaner and whiter teeth. Nonetheless, if you choose to use non-fluoride toothpaste, it’s still better than not using any toothpaste at all.

On another note, dentists usually recommend these products to people who are allergic to fluoride and have certain medical conditions. If a child hasn’t learned to spit, a non-fluoride toothpaste is a safe bet.

Your dentist is the right person to help you decide which toothpaste will do the most for you.

The Right Toothbrush with the Right Toothpaste is the Key!

Coming right back to the question “Do you use toothpaste with electric toothbrushes?“, our answer is a definite “Yes, you should use toothpaste with your electric toothbrush to have cleaner teeth and fresher breath.

Fluoride toothpaste is highly recommended unless the dentist says otherwise since it can help keep your teeth healthier and stronger. Although you can also use regular toothbrushes with your fluoride toothpaste, an electric toothbrush offers better results. That’s because electric toothbrushes are calibrated to achieve the recommended rotations per minute, which will allow the toothpaste to reach every corner of the mouth.

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.