Toothbrushing Goes High Tech

A fully automated toothbrush called the Amabrush promises to thoroughly clean teeth in 10 seconds.

Dental Goes Digital

The Amabrush is a hands-free toothbrush created in 2015 by entrepreneurs from Austria, Germany and the United States.

Amabrush developers claim that despite its 10-second cleaning capabilities, the cleaning provided by the Amabrush is more thorough than a cleaning provided by a manual toothbrush.

Manufacturers of the Amabrush say this is because their device can clean all the surfaces of all teeth simultaneously, unlike a manual toothbrush.

Brushing with a manual toothbrush for two minutes as recommended by the American Dental Association allows for only 1.25 seconds for the front of each tooth. And Americans on average fall short of the ADA's recommendation, only brushing 45 to 70 seconds per day, according to a 2014 study by the Academy of General Dentistry.

The Amabrush looks like a mouth guard with a small, knob-like handle in the front that powers the device. The Amabrush design features soft toothbrush bristles arranged at a 45-degree angle, which is the recommended angle for holding a toothbrush.

To use the Amabrush, users press a button in the handle of the device to begin the brushing process, which includes automatically dispensed toothpaste.

Made of antibacterial silicone, the Amabrush kills 99 percent of all bacteria.

Pricing of the Amabrush includes a basic version for $89 and a pro version that recharges using Wi-Fi for $127.

The entrepreneurs behind the Amabrush are raising funds for the production of the high-tech toothbrush through Kickstarter, and anticipate taking the toothbrush to a test market in October 2017.

Does Automating a Toothbrush Mean a Better Clean?

The automated toothbrush could seem silly to some people, but for dentists like Dr. Steven P. Rogers, D.M.D, P.C., of Grants Pass, Oregon, the benefits of a device like the Amabrush go beyond reducing how much time people spend on brushing.

"The biggest benefit of a device like the Amabrush or even an electric toothbrush is how thoroughly they clean the teeth," Rogers said.

"Many people do not take the time to brush correctly or for the recommended amount of time, which means they do not get all of the surfaces of their teeth clean."

Skipping surfaces leaves teeth prone to plaque buildup, which over time leads to tooth decay.

Rogers and the ADA recommend a specific approach to cleaning the teeth.

"To make sure you are cleaning all surfaces, work the outer surfaces of the upper teeth first, then move on to the outer lower teeth. Once the outer surfaces are complete, start over with the inside of the upper teeth and then the inside of the lower teeth. Finally, brush the chewing surface of both jaws," Rogers said.

After cleaning all tooth surfaces, Rogers recommends brushing the tongue to remove plaque and freshen breath.

The ADA's recommended cleaning routine takes at least two minutes but should take longer for people with crowns and other dental restorations.

"Crowns, fillings and bridges need extra attention during toothbrushing to ensure removal of plaque and food debris that could work their way under the restoration and cause decay," Rogers said.

Brush More Often for Better Oral Health

Making sure the teeth are clean is not just about how long to brush or how to brush, but how frequently brushing occurs, too. The ADA recommends brushing at least twice per day.

A 2014 Delta Dental study found 30 percent of Americans do not brush daily, and that 23 percent of Americans went two or more days without brushing. Study participants who did not brush at least once per day reported negative feelings about the state of their oral health.

The same study revealed that 41 percent of Americans floss once per day, which is the ADA recommended guideline for flossing. Twenty-three percent of Americans report never flossing.

"Flossing is an essential part of a good oral hygiene routine and helps remove debris and bacteria that a toothbrush cannot reach. It doesn't matter if flossing happens before or after brushing, it just matters that it happens," Rogers said.

Sources:

Digital Trends. Don't waste time brushing your own teeth - Amabrush does it better, faster. Digital Trends. 7 July 2017.

Dentistry IQ. How long does the average person brush? Dentistry IQ. 30 September 2014.

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