PUBLISHED: 1:59 PM on Wednesday, March 29, 2006
Soft bristles imperative to good teeth brushing
Dentist Camie Gladden Davis sees benefits in use of the modern electric toothbrush, but stresses that knowing the correct way to brush one's teeth is vital whether using electric or the more traditional, manual toothbrushes.

Too many people, she points out, "were taught for years to really push down and scrub hard when we brush with a toothbrush, which is the opposite of what you want."

She explains that manual toothbrushes are adequate if the user buys a brush with either soft or extra soft bristles.

"If your brush is too hard, you can actually brush your gums away, or part of your teeth," Davis said.

"All that you really want to do is angle the toothbrush toward the gum line and make little massaging circles instead of scrubbing."

She recommends electric toothbrushes for anyone with limited dexterity and adds, "Just by angling it correctly, you can let the brush do all the work. The electric toothbrushes all come with the softer brushes."

There also have been improvements since Squibb marketed the first electric toothbrush in the United States in 1960, calling it the Broxodent.

"Another big benefit of today's electric toothbrush is that a lot of them even come with timers, so you're more likely to keep using them for the appropriate brushing time of two minutes," Davis said.