Electric toothbrushes are one of the greatest modern inventions, doing away with laborious manual brushing and leaving your mouth cleaner and fresher in the process. In my opinion, they're an essential purchase.
Brushing our teeth is something we've been doing since childhood, so it's common to fall into a habit of making mistakes – just like how a seasoned driver might not pass their driving test if they had to re-take it.
I've been lucky to review a number of electric toothbrushes for T3's best electric toothbrush guide, and while doing research for these reviews have picked up a few tricks that I really wish I'd known when I first started using them.
I'm guessing these simple tricks will be useful for other people too, so, without further ado, here are the mistakes you can easily avoid when using an electric toothbrush.
1. Brushing too hard
I feel like this is perhaps one of the most common issues with an electric toothbrush – putting too much pressure on the brush. Sure, it may feel like you're getting a deeper clean, or maybe you're just stressed and taking it out on your Oral-B, but applying too much pressure will slowly erode your enamel. That's bad because it cannot repair itself once it suffers damage.
With an electric toothbrush it's best to gently move the brush along your teeth and gums, rather than scrub at them as if you're trying to remove grout. If your brush has a pressure sensor, then we'd recommend you pay attention to that.
2. Not brushing for long enough
This is another common mistake – not brushing for long enough. You may think that because you've got an electric toothbrush you can brush for a shorter amount of time, but that's not correct, experts recommend brushing your teeth for at least two minutes to effectively clean the plaque and deposits.
Nowadays most good electric toothbrushes come with a timer that will ensure you use them for the correct amount of time, and even tell you when to move on to another section of your mouth.
You should also be brushing twice a day.
3. Not changing your electric toothbrush head
You may be tempted to keep your toothbrush head a little longer than is recommended, we get it – they can be expensive to replace, but it's recommended you replace them for a reason. Frayed and broken bristles can end up causing more harm to your teeth than good, damaging your enamel and gums.
The soft bristles of a new electric toothbrush head do a much better job of actually cleaning, if you're looking for recommendations you can read out guide to the best Oral-B heads and best Philips Sonicare heads.
It's recommended you change your electric toothbrush head every three to four months. Some modern electric toothbrushes will even tell you when it's time to change.
4. Using an electric toothbrush like a manual brush
This is another common electric toothbrush faux pas – using it like it's a manual brush. With an electric toothbrush it's best to gently move the brush along your teeth and gums, rather than brush back and forth. Let the brush do all of the work!
5. Buying the wrong electric toothbush
When it comes to making electric toothbrush mistakes the problems start when you first choose your brush. There are so many different types of brush available, from sonic to rotary, to ones specifically for children and ones that promise to tailor the brushing to your mouth.
If you're looking for reliable recommendations, read T3's guide to the best electric toothbrush and the best children's electric toothbrush.
6. Not charging before going on holiday
If you're taking your electric toothbrush with you on your holidays then make sure you charge it before you travel. This means you can probably skip taking the charger, which is important when travelling light, and also means it won't die on you halfway through the holiday.
7. Paying attention to the 'smart' app features
We've said on numerous occasions in our buying guides and reviews that the 'smart' features of an electric toothbrush are largely useless. Seriously, who really wants to connect their toothbrush to a phone with Bluetooth? No one, that's who!
Basically, what I'm saying is, don't buy an electric toothbrush just because it has a long list of 'smart' features. It's much better to save a bit of money and get a more simple model. The most important features are a timer and pressure sensor, anything else is just extra.