Automatic Toothbrushes– a step into the future? Or not?

Automatic Toothbrushes– a step into the future? Or not?

Posted by Dr. Ashton Richards on Apr 13 2020, 03:35 AM

Let’s Talk about Automatic Toothbrushes

Disclaimer: I may have made up the term “automatic toothbrushes” to differentiate it from the traditional electric toothbrushes.

Have you seen the automatic toothbrushes? They look something like this:


They look cool and futuristic, which is why when it caught my husband's eye at the store, and he asked if they were good, I told him no but let’s try it out ourselves. Well, we (my husband, specifically) tried it out! If you don’t already know, I (Dr. Richards) am a HUGE advocate for electric toothbrushes. I personally use Oral-B 6000 series. I 100% recommend an electric toothbrush, specifically one that sits on a stand and charges versus the ones that are battery operated. BUT, let’s get back to these automatic toothbrushes.

These automatic toothbrushes are similar to electric toothbrushes in the sense that they vibrate or pulsate, but they are marketed because you put the appliance in your mouth, turn it on, and it does all the work while you go on with your morning or evening routine. Some even market it as “your personal robot dentist”. I get it, robots are cool. And the IDEA of this would be awesome; however, the functionality is just not there on a level that your dentist would want your teeth cleaned at.

What I noticed with these automatic toothbrush appliances, is that they do not rotate, and the vibrating ability that it does have is not as strong as the Oral B. My husband is the one that used the automatic appliance and his opinion was that his teeth did not feel as clean. The bristles essentially just “sat” next to his teeth vibrating slightly and he didn’t have the feeling that the bristles were getting between the teeth or under the gums like the Oral B. I also noticed that the bristles were very wide, as opposed to the tiny bristles in the Oral-B, which would make it very difficult to get those large bristles to slide between the teeth and under the gums like they are supposed to.

As a dentist, my other observation is that this automatic appliance cannot maneuver all the areas that your hand can with an electric toothbrush. For example, the most commonly missed place with ANY toothbrush is behind your last tooth. Go ahead, rub your tongue along that area, I’m sure you are thinking “yeah, I’m not sure I really ever get my toothbrush back there”. And to be honest, you really must turn your toothbrush and your hand to get to this area with your electric or manual toothbrushes. This automatic appliance does NOT go behind your last tooth.

Think about it, it would take a custom appliance to fit your mouth so that it would reach behind the last tooth. Some people have more teeth and some people have longer arches so it would be impossible for one generic appliance to fit well enough to go behind the last tooth on every single person. Which is why these appliances don’t.

One company markets that it cleans your teeth in ONE minute. YES, I KNOW TWO MINUTES TAKES FOREVER. I always say the two longest minutes of your life are the microwave and brushing your teeth. It is proven that you need two minutes to properly clean your teeth.

Let’s break that down. 120 seconds. And, let’s say you have the traditional 28 teeth (normally 32 teeth in the human mouth but let’s assume you had your wisdom teeth out). So, 28 teeth, if you brush for the ENTIRE 120 seconds, that is 4.28 seconds per tooth. And if you do that twice a day, that is 8.5 seconds per tooth. Think of all the work your teeth do. They help you eat, talk, and smile. Your teeth work hard for you, every day. Almost all day. You can’t go one day without your teeth. So, I think that spending 8.5 seconds per tooth a day is doable and our teeth deserve that. SO, one minute and your mouth is clean?…. I’m not buying that.

And finally, let's be honest. The IDEA of these automatic toothbrushes is great. But, the movement of your hand coupled with the electric toothbrushes cannot be replaced with an appliance that just sits there and vibrates.

SO, if you are going to spend the money (which I HIGHLY recommend investing in your health, and that includes your teeth), to go ahead and get an electric toothbrush, such as OraL-B.


Any more topics or dental trends out there you want me to have my husband try out? I’m happy to do so 😊

Enrich your Smile. Enrich you Life.

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