All the time I was growing up in the fifties, I never used or heard about floss or electric toothbrushes (they probably weren’t invented yet!). I brushed manually then and for much of my adult life.
When my dentist first started telling me to use dental floss, I adamantly refused, thinking it was the stupidest idea since unsliced bread. When my dental hygienist suggested I buy an electric toothbrush from her office, I thought, woman you’re just trying to sell me something. The day I’m not strong enough to manually brush my own teeth is the day I cash in!
I was waiting for that magic mouth wash that would rid me of plaque and tooth dirt with a simple swish or two a day.
When Dad was in his sixties, he had all of his teeth pulled (due to gingivitis I think) and used dentures. When Mom died at 79, she had four teeth. Neither of them used floss or electric toothbrushes. When my Aunt died at 85, she had a full set of her own teeth. She cared for her teeth.
I guess I’m kind of like that Missouri mule, the one you have to hit over the head to get their attention before anything else can happen. Seeing what happened to my parents and aunt was my ‘hit over the head’. I’m betting that my genetic makeup has a lot to do with how long my teeth last, but I finally saw the light on taking my dentist’s advice!
I now use both an electric toothbrush and dental floss. In addition, as unromantic and un-Christmasy as it sounds, I bought an electric toothbrush for my hubby, who refuses to floss OR get his teeth cleaned at the dental office!
In researching for this article, multiple sites, including WebMd (the one my doctor recommended I use to look stuff up) assured me that it doesn’t matter whether you brush manually or use and electric toothbrush. But it did for me. Here’s why.
I brush longer.
Mine has one of those two minute timers. It is so much easier to put myself on autopilot and wait for the timer to tell me to stop brushing than to try to time myself. Some days that two minutes feels like 5 seconds and other days it feels like 5 hours…. I can’t count on my subjective internal timer to tell me how long I have brushed. Brushing longer removes more plaque.
I get many more brush strokes in my two minutes.
When I manually brush, I can only get so many strokes in per minute – about 300. With an electric toothbrush, it is around 5,000 strokes per minute, resulting in better tooth care.
I can roam around while I brush.
When I used to brush manually I tended to use a lot more water and so had to stick close to or lean over the sink so I didn’t dribble spit and used toothpaste all over myself while brushing.
I use less toothpaste. .
I have one of those electric toothbrushes with the circle that rotates around. It takes just a pinch of toothpaste to cover that circle. When I manually brush I use the rectangular brush and it takes about three times more toothpaste to cover it.
I use less water.
For years, when I brushed my teeth with a manual toothbrush I left the water running so I could refresh the water on the brush as I did my teeth. I’m leery of running my electric toothbrush head under the water while it is running, so I brush without the faucet running.
My teeth feel cleaner.
It might be my imagination but when I run my tongue over my teeth after manually brushing, they don’t feel as slick and clean as they do after using the electric toothbrush.
My dental hygienist says by teeth have less plaque on them.
She doesn’t have to scrape my teeth as much when I go in for a cleaning. YEAH!
I made up a better routine.
Because I am now more focused on taking care of my teeth, I have finally added consistent flossing each morning after using my electric toothbrush. One goes with the other in my mind!
Now maybe I stand a chance of having more than 4 teeth left when I kick off – and will be able to BITE that apple and steak until the day I do! Yes, it costs a bit more, but my teeth are worth it! Are yours? PS. I am NOT an electric toothbrush saleswoman.
What do you use for your tooth care routine?