Why I threw out my electric toothbrush
I looked at the black mouldy bottom of the electric toothbrush and decided it was time to chuck that thing in the trash. After having it for 4 years, it was time to let it go. It made a satisfying thunk as it hit the bottom of the trashcan.
I first started using an electric toothbrush in 2008. It was a free one from Oral-B, the best one they produced at the time. I got it for free because Oral-B want all dentists to use their products which is a great selling point for them! The perks of being a health professional! I would have never bought one, when it costs $150 and the brushes cost nearly $10.
I brush well with a manual toothbrush. According to research, an electric toothbrush cleans better. I thought there's no harm in trying it out. It came with the "Floss-action" brush, which they say it doesn't replace flossing. But obviously, it is marketed to people who don't floss but know they should.
The novelty factor is definitely something that makes people brush better. It's a new toy! But as with most toys, you get accustomed to it and go back to the same brushing habits. The new brushes come with a timer for 2 minutes, which is the recommended time to brush your teeth. In reality, I don't think many people brush for 2 minutes, myself included.
How is time a measure of cleanliness?! I can clean my bathroom for 2 hours but the rest of the house will still be dirty. Most people just brush the same places over and over again so brushing longer won't make it cleaner.
After a couple of months, I did get bored of it and went back to using a manual brush sometimes. The toothbrush was crying in silence from the lack of use, getting dusty and mouldy.
There were a couple of reasons why I stopped.
1. It cost more than a manual brush
2. The charging unit and brush would get mouldy from the constant moisture
3. I would get bleeding when I used the manual brush
4. It is actually more effort to use than a manual brush
The most expensive manual brush costs around $8, and if you get it on special, $5. By the way, expensive manual brushes definitely clean better than el-cheapo ones. The floss-action brush costs $8.50 each and doesn't last as long. It also consumes electricity, probably burning a $2 hole in my wallet each year.
After I brush my teeth, I rinse the brush of course. The water will then run down the brush and end up keeping the bottom of the brush and charging uni wet. The ended up getting mouldy and disgusting. There is also a small window in the brush itself which looked pretty dirty after a while.
Yes, I could wipe it dry but that is extra work that I don't need to do with the manual toothbrush!
I very rarely get any bleeding when I brush my teeth. Bleeding is a sign of gingivitis (inflamed gums), which is a result of not cleaning the teeth near the gums well. The bleeding when I went back to a manual brush means that the electric brush missed places that the manual brush didn't miss. This was the biggest reason why I went back to a manual toothbrush. The electric toothbrush was obviously not cleaning as well as my manual brush!
The electric brush head is significantly smaller than a manual brush. That means I must pay more attention to ensure the entire surface is cleaned and that the angle of the brush is correct to adapt to the shape of the teeth. I don't need to think so much with a manual brush!
Oral-B gave me another electric toothbrush after a couple of years. I made good use of it by selling it on eBay!
So I didn't touch the electric brush for a couple of years. Until I wanted to see if it could clean the grout in between my bathroom tiles! It didn't work well and funnily enough, a manual toothbrush actually did a better job of it.
Now if it is useless to clean the bathroom, there is no use for it at all. In the bin it went and I have continue to enjoy the cleanliness I get from my manual toothbrush. I don't hate Oral-B by the way, I love their manual toothbrushes and the grainy toothpaste that they have.
Many patients do come in seeing me with clean mouths and use electric toothbrushes. I don't think it is a bad product, but it just didn't solve any 'pains' I have with brushing with a manual brush. With a manual brush, I clean better, it's cheaper, takes up less physical space, and easier to use.
There are definitely situations I would highly recommend using an electric toothbrush. I will eventually get back to using an electric toothbrush, when I can no longer practice as a dentist from my poor hand dexterity.