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A comprehensive guide to electric toothbrushes

A comprehensive guide to electric toothbrushes

A comprehensive guide to electric toothbrushes

Taking care of your teeth is essential—it keeps your smile looking great and helps you avoid toothaches and bad breath. Choosing the right toothbrush is a personal decision with a range of things to consider, including preferred style, budget and dentist recommendations. Electric toothbrushes are becoming popular because they provide an excellent clean and are easy to use, adding special high tech features that can make your daily routine more effective and fun!

What are electric toothbrushes?

Electric toothbrushes, also known as powered toothbrushes, are equipped with a motorised head that moves the bristles in a way that aids in efficient and effective teeth cleaning. Unlike traditional manual toothbrushes, these devices automate the brushing process, which can be especially advantageous for individuals seeking a more convenient and thorough oral care routine.

How do electric toothbrushes work?

Electric toothbrushes feature a motor inside the handle, which powers the movement of the bristle head. The bristle head may oscillate (move back and forth), rotate (spin in a circular motion), pulsate (move in and out) or employ sonic technology (vibrate at high speeds) to create a cleaning action. Combining these movements enhances plaque and bacteria removal from the teeth, leading to a more thorough cleaning process.

Different features of electric toothbrush

Electric toothbrushes are available in different types and offer a range of features to meet diverse oral care needs. Here are some common features to consider when choosing the right electric toothbrush:

  • Oscillating-rotating: These toothbrushes feature a round head that oscillates back and forth or rotates, delivering an effective plaque and debris removal action.
  • Sonic toothbrushes: Sonic toothbrushes utilise high-frequency vibrations to disrupt plaque and bacteria, providing a gentle yet thorough clean for your gums.
  • Timer/quadrant pacer: Many electric toothbrushes have built-in timers to ensure you brush for the recommended two minutes. Some models also include quadrant pacers, which help divide your brushing session into four equal parts, ensuring comprehensive coverage.
  • Range of cleaning modes: Some electric toothbrush models offer multiple cleaning modes, such as high speed, sensitivity or gum care. These options allow you to customise your brushing experience based on your specific needs.
  • Pressure sensors: Electric toothbrushes with pressure sensors will alert you if you’re applying excessive pressure while brushing, helping to protect your gums from potential damage.
  • Waterproof design: If you prefer multitasking or enjoy brushing your teeth in the shower, consider models with waterproof features for added convenience.
  • Charging methods: Electric toothbrushes can be charged in two ways: either inductively using a charging cradle or via USB. Choose the charging method that suits your preferences and lifestyle.
  • Rechargeable or disposable batteries: Decide between rechargeable toothbrush models for long-term value and sustainability or disposable ones if you prioritise travel convenience.
  • Travel case: If you’re a frequent traveller, opt for an electric toothbrush that includes a travel case to protect the brush head while on the go.
  • Type and size of brush head: Select a brush head that matches the size and shape of your teeth and mouth. Smaller brush heads are ideal for reaching tight or hard-to-access areas.
  • Bristle stiffness: Choose a bristle stiffness level that suits your personal sensitivity. Electric toothbrushes offer different options, ranging from soft to firm, ensuring a comfortable brushing experience for all users.
  • Smartphone connectivity: An increasing range of electric toothbrushes wirelessly connect with phones and tablets to augment whole-mouth cleaning with digital interactivity. Benefits vary by model but may include real time brushing technique tips, gamification and rewards to encourage good habits (especially great for young brushers) and curated oral health content to match your use profile.

Benefits of electric toothbrushes

Electric toothbrushes provide many notable advantages when compared to manual toothbrushes, including:

Superior plaque removal: Scientific studies consistently demonstrate that electric toothbrushes are more effective at removing plaque and preventing its buildup compared to manual brushes. The oscillating or vibrating motion of electric brushes, combined with their advanced bristle technology, can reach and clean areas that are often missed with manual brushing.

Reduced risk of tooth decay and gum disease: Electric toothbrushes are particularly effective in reducing the risk of tooth decay and gum disease due to their enhanced cleaning action. These devices remove plaque more effectively and reach areas that can be challenging to clean with manual brushes.

Improved overall oral health: Regular use of an electric toothbrush can lead to a range of benefits, including fresher breath, reduced gingivitis (gum inflammation) and less plaque buildup. These factors contribute to an overall improvement in your oral health.

Convenience and thoroughness: Electric toothbrushes are designed for ease of use and can efficiently cover all areas inside your mouth. Their built-in timers help you brush for the recommended two minutes, ensuring you give equal attention to all parts of your mouth. This convenience makes it more likely for users to maintain a consistent and thorough oral hygiene routine.

How to use an electric toothbrush

Here are some essential tips for using an electric toothbrush:

1. Brush your teeth for at least two minutes, twice a day.

2. Use gentle circular motions, ensuring you cover all areas of your mouth.

3. Pay special attention to:

  • The gumline: Imagine a tiny gutter between each tooth and the gum, which harbours bacteria. Focus on cleaning this area thoroughly.
  • All surfaces of your teeth: This includes the surfaces that face each other, those facing away from each other, and any teeth with grooves or pits.

4. Explore your electric toothbrush’s different cleaning modes and intensity settings to find the best combination for you.

5. Aim to polish your teeth smooth by using gentle, precise strokes. Don’t rush, take your time and avoid harsh scrubbing. Remember, repetition is more effective than force.

6. According to the ADA’s advice, replace the brush head every three months.

7. Regularly clean the toothbrush handle and charger to prevent bacteria buildup.

How to use an electric toothbrush

Where can I buy electric toothbrushes?

If you’re considering an electric toothbrush and want to explore your options, you can find a range of models at online retailers. Here are some reputable stores to consider when purchasing an electric toothbrush:

Before making a purchase, consider comparing prices, reading customer reviews and checking the return policies on these sites to ensure you find the best option for your needs.

Common FAQs about electric toothbrushes

Which brush head is best for me?

When choosing a brush head, consider the sensitivity of your teeth. Soft bristle heads are an excellent choice for sensitive gums and teeth. Additionally, you can find medium and firm brush heads to suit your individual preferences and oral health needs.

How often should I replace the brush head?

The ADA recommends replacing the brush head every 3 months; however, if you have ongoing orthodontic treatment, you may need to replace the brush head more frequently, roughly every 6 to 8 weeks. This ensures that the bristles remain effective and won’t harbour harmful bacteria, which is particularly important when undergoing orthodontic treatment.

How do I clean my electric toothbrush?

Rinse the brush head after each use, detach the head and rinse it again, tap off excess water, and dry the handle in an upright position.

How do I brush braces with an electric toothbrush?

When brushing braces with a sonic or oscillating electric toothbrush, ensure the bristles surround the brackets, but always be careful. Excessive pressure can damage the brackets. Slowing down and brushing each tooth individually is best, ensuring a sparkling smile without harming your braces.

Can you clean your tongue with an electric toothbrush?

Cleaning your tongue with an electric toothbrush is similar to using a manual one. Many brushes offer a gum care or massage mode ideal for tongue cleaning. Depending on the style of your electric brush, brushing with small concentric circles might be more comfortable. Be sure to cover your entire tongue and rinse afterwards.

Can electric toothbrushes cause gum recession?

Using an electric toothbrush correctly is crucial to avoid causing harm to your gums. Applying excessive force during brushing can lead to gum recession, creating more space for harmful bacteria to reach the bone below. It’s essential to be gentle when using an electric toothbrush. If you frequently replace your toothbrush head (more than once every three months), it’s a sign that you may need to ease up.

Can kids use electric toothbrushes?

When children start taking responsibility for brushing their teeth, a manual toothbrush may be a better choice, as it is lighter and easier to control. However, as children grow older, an electric toothbrush designed especially for kids might be a more suitable option. These toothbrushes are easier for children to handle, and their built-in features and app connectivity can help them correctly time their brushing sessions and encourage good oral hygiene habits. Plus, many children find electric toothbrushes more engaging and enjoyable, especially the digital features of smartphone and tablet connected options.

Maintain diligent oral care

Maintain diligent oral care

Electric toothbrushes offer a convenient and effective way to maintain your oral health. The choice between manual and electric toothbrushes depends on personal preference and individual needs. Regardless of the type you choose, consistent brushing, good oral hygiene practices and regular dental visits are key to a healthy smile.

Should I add a water flosser to my oral care routine?

Should I add a water flosser to my oral care routine?

A healthy, radiant smile begins with meticulous oral hygiene. For generations, string floss has been an essential part of keeping our teeth and gums in top condition. However, traditional flossing may not be the most comfortable option for everyone. With a water flosser, you can enjoy a gentle stream of water that effortlessly cleans between your teeth and along the gumline. It is a convenient supplementary tool, particularly useful for hard-to-reach areas between teeth.

Water Floss

Photo by Oral-B Aquacare 4 Irrigator

What is a water flosser?

A water flosser, or oral irrigator, is an electric device designed to clean between your teeth and along the gumline. It uses a stream of pressurised water to remove food particles and plaque, providing a gentle and effective way to maintain oral health.

How does it work?

Water flossers work by ejecting a controlled stream of water through a nozzle or tip. This targeted stream of water cleans the spaces between your teeth and gums, effectively dislodging debris and bacteria. You can adjust the water pressure to your comfort, making it suitable for different individuals.

What are the common types of water flossers?

Water flossers are available in different types, each offering unique features and advantages. Here are the common types of water flossers:

  • Countertop water flossers: These are the most common and powerful type of water flosser. They are designed to sit on your bathroom countertop and connect to a power source. Countertop models typically have larger water reservoirs and provide a strong, consistent water stream. They are suitable for home use and offer various pressure settings.
  • Cordless water flossers: Cordless models are more portable and convenient for travel. They have a smaller water reservoir, making them compact and easy to carry. Rechargeable batteries power cordless water flossers, eliminating the need for connection to an electrical outlet. While they may have slightly less water pressure than countertop models, they are still effective for daily use.
  • Faucet water flossers: Some water flossers can attach directly to your bathroom sink faucet. These models use the faucet’s water pressure to create a water stream, eliminating the need for a separate water reservoir. Faucet water flossers are a space-saving option and can be convenient for those with limited counter space.
  • Shower water flossers: Similar to faucet water flossers, these models attach to your showerhead and use the shower’s water supply. They can be a practical choice for individuals who prefer to floss while showering, as they save time and water.
  • Combination water flossers: Some oral care devices combine the functionality of a water flosser with a toothbrush or tongue cleaner. These combination devices offer a comprehensive oral care solution, allowing you to clean your whole mouth effectively with one device.

When choosing a water flosser, consider your specific needs and preferences, such as portability, water pressure settings and available space in your bathroom.

Benefits of using a water flosser

Compared with traditional string floss, water flossers offer a range of unique advantages that can significantly improve your oral care routine. Here are some of the benefits:

Photo by Waterpik Complete Care 5.0 WHITE
  • Effective plaque removal: Water flossers can effectively remove plaque from teeth and gums, reducing the risk of gum disease and cavities.
  • Gentle on gums: Water flossers are gentler on your gums, making them a suitable option for people with sensitive gums or those who find traditional flossing uncomfortable.
  • Improved gum health: Water flossing can help reduce gum inflammation and promote healthier gums.
  • Convenience: Water flossers are easy to use and can reach tight spaces, making them an ideal choice for those with orthodontic appliances or dental implants.
  • Enhanced Compliance: Water flossers encourage greater consistency in daily oral care routines due to their gentle, comfortable usage.

How to use a water flosser appliance

  1. Fill the reservoir with lukewarm water or an antimicrobial mouthwash, following the manufacturer’s instructions.
  2. Adjust the water pressure to your comfort level. Begin with a lower setting if you’re new to water flossing.
  3. Lean over the sink and place the tip in your mouth. Close your lips to prevent splashing.
  4. Aim the tip between your teeth and along the gumline. Start with your back teeth and work your way forward, spending a few seconds on each tooth.
  5. Allow the water to flow between your teeth and gums. Be sure to cover all areas.
  6. Once finished, turn off the water flosser and rinse your mouth and the device.
  7. Clean the tip and let it air dry. Empty any remaining water from the reservoir.

    Photo by Philips Sonicare Cordless Power Flosser 3000 Oral Irrigator

    Where can I buy water flossers?

    If you’re considering a water flosser and want to experience its benefits, you can find a range of options at trusted retailers. Here are some reputable online stores to explore for your water flosser needs:

    big w
    harvey norman
    chemist warehouse
    david jones
    shaver shop

    Be sure to compare options, read product reviews and check for ongoing promotions to make the most informed decision for your oral care needs. Keep in mind that the variety of water flosser models available may vary across these retailers, so get familiar with the market by shopping around before you commit to a purchase.

    Frequently asked questions

    What are the key differences between water flossing and traditional flossing?

    Water flossing uses a stream of water to clean between teeth and along the gumline, while traditional floss involves a string or dental tape. Water flossers are generally more comfortable and convenient for many users compared to traditional floss.

    Is a water flosser a replacement for string floss?

    Water flossers can complement your oral hygiene routine, but can’t fully replace string floss. While water flossers are good at cleaning between teeth and gums, string floss is better at scraping away plaque from teeth. Dentists often recommend using both methods together for the best oral care.

    Can water flossers help prevent gum disease?

    Yes, water flossers can effectively reduce the risk of gum disease. They clean below the gumline, targeting areas where bacteria can accumulate and lead to gum inflammation. Regular use can contribute to healthier gums.

    Are water flossers suitable for individuals with a history of gum disease?

    Yes, water flossers are often recommended for individuals with gum disease. They can help clean deep gum pockets, reducing the risk of further infection and promoting gum health.

    Can using the wrong water flosser pressure hurt my gums?

    Yes, using too much pressure can harm your gums. Adjust it to a comfortable level to avoid irritation or damage. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and consult your dentist if unsure.

    Can I use a water flosser if I have dental implants?

    Yes, water flossers are an excellent choice for individuals with dental implants. They can help maintain oral hygiene around the implant area, reducing the risk of infection or inflammation.

    Are water flossers suitable for individuals with braces?

    Yes, water flossers are an excellent choice for people with braces. They can easily clean around orthodontic appliances, ensuring efficient removal of food particles and plaque. Some water flossers also come with orthodontic tips designed for braces.

    Are water flossers suitable for individuals with sensitive gums?

    Yes, water flossers are often gentler on sensitive gums than traditional floss. They can be adjusted to a comfortable pressure level, making them a suitable choice for those with gum sensitivity.

    Can water flossing alleviate gum sensitivity?

    With consistent use, water flossing can help reduce gum inflammation, leading to improved gum health. However, if you have severe gum issues, consult with a dentist for a personalised treatment plan.

    How do water flossers remove plaque?

    Water flossers use a high-pressure stream of water to dislodge plaque from teeth and gums. The water pressure and pulsations target plaque, bacteria and food particles, flushing them away effectively.

    Are water flossers as effective as traditional floss in removing plaque?

    Water flossers are often considered equally effective or even superior to traditional floss in removing plaque. They can reach areas that are difficult to access with string floss, contributing to comprehensive plaque removal.

    Can children use water flossers?

    Water flossers are also available in age-appropriate models, safe for children. It’s essential to supervise children during use and ensure they understand the proper technique to avoid any discomfort.

    At what age can children start using water flossers?

    Most children can start using water flossers under parental supervision around the age of six or when they can understand and follow instructions. Consult with a paediatric dentist for personalised recommendations.

    Can water flossers be shared among family members?

    It’s generally recommended that water flossers should be used by one person to avoid any risk of cross-contamination. However, if you choose to share the water flosser among family members, it is crucial to use separate nozzle tips for each individual. Nozzle tips are replaceable and should be switched out between users to maintain proper hygiene and prevent the potential transfer of bacteria.

    Make the wise choice for your oral health

    Incorporating a water flosser into your daily oral care routine can be a smart choice for your oral health. Especially if you have sensitive gums, dental implants, braces or find traditional string flossing difficult. A water flosser is effective in preventing plaque buildup and is much easier to use.

    Understanding its benefits and using it correctly can lead to a healthier, brighter smile. Excellent oral health depends on consistent and effective care, and a water flosser can be a helpful extra tool in achieving that. Chat with your dentist next time you get your routine checkup to see what kind of water and traditional flossing routine they recommend to optimise your oral health.

    Optimal cleaner for dental appliances like clear aligners

    Optimal cleaner for dental appliances like clear aligners

    Home ultrasonic cleaner devices

    Home ultrasonic cleaner devices are designed to provide efficient and thorough cleaning for a range of oral appliances. Whether you need to look after retainers, sports mouth guards or even just want your brush heads to stay as clean as possible, these are a great way to maintain hygiene without resorting to strong chemical solutions.

    Ultrasonic cleaners are great for:

    • Clear aligners like Invisalign
    • Retainers (plastic and metal)
    • Dentures
    • Mouthguards
    • Night guards
    • Sleep apnea devices
    • Brush heads

    Convenient, efficient and effective, ultrasonic cleaners are a great solution for maintaining the cleanliness and hygiene of your oral appliances.

    ultrasonic cleaner device

    A closer look at the ultrasonic cleaning process

    Utilising high-frequency sound waves, ultrasonic cleaners create microscopic bubbles in a specialised cleaning solution. These bubbles implode upon contact with the oral appliances, generating tiny shock waves that effectively remove dirt, bacteria and other contaminants. This cavitation process ensures deep and comprehensive cleaning, minimising the need for harsh chemicals or manual scrubbing. It is a gentle yet powerful solution for many different oral devices.

    Key features of home ultrasonic cleaner devices include:

    Versatility: These devices are designed to clean a range of oral appliances, accommodating different shapes, sizes and materials.

    Efficiency: The ultrasonic cleaning process is quick and efficient, saving users time and effort in maintaining their oral appliances.

    Ease of use: User-friendly controls allow for easy adjustment of cleaning time and intensity, integrating seamlessly into daily oral care routines.

    Compact and portable design: Many ultrasonic cleaners are designed to be compact and portable, ensuring convenience for both home and travel use.

    Optimal cleaning coverage: These devices are tailored to the specific form and size of different oral appliances, ensuring thorough cleaning coverage.

    Enhanced hygiene: Ultrasonic cleaning eliminates bacteria and microbes, promoting better oral hygiene and reducing the risk of associated oral health issues.

    Quiet operation:Modern ultrasonic cleaners operate quietly, enabling users to clean their oral appliances without causing disruption.

    Durability: Constructed with durable materials, these devices are built to withstand regular use, providing long-lasting performance.

    A home ultrasonic cleaner device offers a versatile and effective solution for keeping a wide range of oral appliances clean, hygienic and debris-free. These devices enhance the overall oral care experience for individuals using different oral devices for their dental needs.

    home ultrasonic cleaner device

    Common ultrasonic cleaning devices

    Home ultrasound device Price Where to buy
    Invisalign™ Ultrasonic Cleaning Station $77.99 (USD)

    Out of stock

    Invisalign (Official site)

    Dental Pod® by Zima Dental $149.99 (AUD)

    Zima Dental (Official site)

    Dental Brands Australia

    Smile Spa™ by SmileDirectClub™ $175 (AUD)

    Smile Spa (Official site)

    Desert Cart


    iSonic DS180 by iSonic®

    iSonic DS180-B $109.10 (AUD)

    iSonic F3900 $191 (AUD)

    iSonic (Official site)




    Desert Cart

    Voraiya®  Ultrasonic UV Cleaner by Voraiya® $140 (AUD)

    Voraiya (Official site)

    Desert Cart



    Disclaimer: Prices listed in this comparison table are as of November 11, 2023, and are subject to change. Product prices may vary, and it is advisable to check the latest pricing on the respective websites for the most up-to-date information.

    Choosing the right home ultrasonic cleaner

    Choosing a home ultrasonic cleaner is easier when you focus on a few key factors.

    • Consider reputable brands for reliable performance.
    • Look for adjustable settings, versatility in cleaning different oral appliances and a user-friendly design.
    • Check reviews for insights into performance and durability.
    • Pick a model that suits your needs for hassle-free maintenance of your oral accessories.

    So, give some thought to how home ultrasonic cleaners can help you keep your oral appliances clean and hygienic. Next time you have a dental appointment, ask your dentist whether an ultrasonic cleaner could enhance your oral care experience. Find out which models they specifically recommend to conveniently meet your hygiene needs.

    How does the oral mucosa protect you from viruses and bacteria?

    How does the oral mucosa protect you from viruses and bacteria?

    What is the mucous membrane?

    The mucous membrane is a moist mucosal layer that lines cavities within the body. In fact, the mucous membrane extends throughout the body and protects all internal surfaces that are exposed to air, microbes and foreign matter (i.e. dust, food & beverages). These areas include the respiratory, digestive and reproductive tracts.

    This viscous lining is kept permanently moist by goblet cells that store and secrete mucins. These mucins form the protective mucous layer known as the mucous membrane.

    What is the oral mucosa?

    The oral mucosa, also called the oral mucous membrane, is the mucous membrane that lines the oral cavity specifically. This includes the mouth, tongue, inner cheeks, nasal passages and pharynx.

    The essential ‘barrier’ immunity function of the oral mucosa

    The oral mucosa has a number of protective functions. For example, it protects soft tissues from the mechanical forces of contraction, expansion and shearing when you talk, chew and swallow. It also contains receptors with sensory functions (e.g. the tongue mucosa contains taste buds).

    However, the most essential protective function of the oral mucosa is that it acts as your body’s first line of immune defence against oral pathogens and viruses.

    Your oral mucosal immune system functions as a barrier or ‘wall’ that separates oral bacteria and viruses from underlying soft tissue (or the serous membrane) thereby preventing infection, bacterial pathogenesis and disease.

    Keep your oral mucosa moist through adequate hydration

    If you’re thirsty and your lips are dry, there’s a good chance your oral mucosa is too. Keep your oral mucosa moist by drinking adequate amounts of water to maintain hydration.

    The best ways to improve your probiotic oral bacteria

    The best ways to improve your probiotic oral bacteria

    Probiotic Oral Bacteria

    Probiotic Oral Bacteria

    The best ways to improve your probiotic oral bacteria

    Nurturing and enhancing the probiotic bacterial activity in your oral cavity is done similarly as for your gut

    When eating high-fibre vegetables, you can nourish your good oral bacteria along with your friendly gut bacteria, further down the track. However, there are slight differences between the needs of your probiotic oral bacteria compared to those of your gut bacteria. Additionally, your oral cavity is a unique microbial environment that is physiologically different from your gut. Improving its blood vessels & nerves, salivary glands, chemical signalling function to the brain and cellular efficiency can enhance oral probiotic flora and lower levels of oral pathogens.

    The oral and gut microbiota work together to keep us healthy

    Even though the oral and gut microbiotas appear to be separate entities, they work synergistically to nourish our body and protect it from infection and disease. So it’s important to keep in mind that you can’t effectively improve one microbiota without improving the other as well. For example, you might take a daily gut probiotic supplement – but what about the billions of oral pathogens you swallow every day that makes it through the stomach acid barrier and colonise the gut? So, what are the most beneficial ways to boost your probiotic oral bacteria?

    Tips to improve your probiotic oral bacteria

    You can nurture your probiotic oral bacteria, optimise your oral PH and improve your oral health with the following foods and oral care/lifestyle habits:

  8. Eat, chew or drink (with pulp) nitrate-rich high fibre vegetables to maintain and improve the oral microbiome including celery, beetroot, rocket, chard, rhubarb, fennel and oak leaf lettuce.
  9. Eat, chew or drink (with pulp) prebiotic high fibre foods that help feed probiotic oral bacteria, including nuts, fruits and seeds.
  10. Chew more fibre to create an “oral garden mulch” to feed probiotic bacteria.
  11. Use your toothbrush, flosser and tongue scraper to manually remove bacterial plaque – helps keep bacterial numbers between species balanced and in check.
  12. Avoid excessive use of anti-microbial mouthwashes since they can harm the oral microbiome, taking out good and bad bacteria. Use mouthwashes with prebiotics that target specific bacteria.
  13. Avoid alcohol. Binge drinking can completely disrupt the diversity of your oral microbiome and enable harmful bacteria to flourish.
  14. Avoid smoking. It can disrupt saliva flow and dry out the oral cavity.

  15. Oral bacteria