The Health Risks of a Sonicare Toothbrush

Written by alice drinkworth
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The Health Risks of a Sonicare Toothbrush
Philips Sonicare toothbrushes clean the teeth with rapid sonic vibration action. (Teeth and Mouth image by Sujit Mahapatra from Fotolia.com)

The Sonicare electric toothbrush by Philips promises gentle cleaning action that reduces stains on teeth and improves gum health. There are five different styles of Sonicare, including one for kids. Healthy teeth and gums are important for overall health, but some consumers may wonder about the health risks of using the Sonicare toothbrush.

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Pressure

A Sonicare toothbrush minimises the work of brushing teeth by making up to 40,000 rapid back-and-forth vibrating motions in a minute. The average person using a manual toothbrush makes 300 strokes in minute with more effort.

The rapid movement and vibration can make it more difficult to determine how much pressure you are putting on your teeth. Too much pressure can wear away enamel, causing pain, sensitivity and a greater risk of tooth decay.

Effectiveness

British scientists from the Universities of Birmingham, Edinburgh, Manchester and Sheffield studied the effectiveness of five different electric toothbrushes, including ultrasonic vibration used in the Sonicare toothbrush. Twenty-nine clinical trials involving 2,500 participants showed electric toothbrushes were not more effective than manual brushes, except for one.

Rotation-oscillation brushes were shown to be the only electric toothbrush to clean better than a manual toothbrush, removing 7 per cent more plaque. A rotation-oscillation brush has a circular head that spins in one direction, then spins in the other direction in a rapid pattern.

Although sonic and other electric toothbrushes were no more effective than manual toothbrushes, they did not cause more damage to the gums.

Usage

Users of Sonicare or other electric toothbrushes may feel the vigorous action of the toothbrush is doing all the work and their mouth is clean. Dental care requires proper use of a toothbrush and flossing for gum health. Healthy gums are important to overall health. Gum disease allows the bacteria in the mouth to enter the bloodstream and may cause heart disease or premature births in pregnant women.

Whatever toothbrush is used, it must be used twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride cuts the number of cavities by 24 precent in children aged five to 16.

Angle the toothbrush slightly, at about 45 degrees, to clean the entire surface of the tooth and slightly under the gums. Brush for two minutes, including the inside and chewing surfaces of the teeth and the tongue. Replace the head of the toothbrush every three to four months or sooner if the toothbrush bristles show sign of wear.

Floss daily. This is a vital step for keeping gums healthy. Many people floss incorrectly by merely moving the floss between teeth. It is important to scrape the floss against each tooth to scrape off plaque.

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