Everything You Need to Know on How to Use an Electric Toothbrush

  • by GR0
  • 7 min read

Everyone already knows you need to brush your teeth multiple times per day if you want to avoid cavities and gum disease. But lots of people are making the switch to electric toothbrushes after years of dentists recommending the tools over their manual counterparts.

Put simply, electric toothbrushes are just more effective than manual or hand-moved toothbrushes. But perhaps, since electric toothbrushes are so powerful, lots of people use them ineffectively or only use them for a few seconds, believing them to magically destroy plaque without needing the same amount of time as traditional brushes.

Want to use your new electric toothbrush as well as you can? This guide is the place to start. 

Using an Electric Toothbrush: An Overview

Electric toothbrushes have several advantages over regular toothbrushes:

  • For one, they don’t require as much muscle power to move bristles over the surfaces of your teeth. Electric toothbrushes use spinning and vibrating bristles that move in very short but effective arcs,  scraping away plaque more evenly and efficiently than the manual motions produced by a regular toothbrush.
  • Electric toothbrushes, since they vibrate or rotate evenly, don’t miss spots the way regular toothbrushes are susceptible to.
  • It’s easier for people to use an electric toothbrush for the recommended amount of time each session since their arms won’t get tired.
  • Some electric toothbrushes are designed with certain timers to help people brush their teeth for the recommended amount of time.

Even with all of these advantages, using an electric toothbrush essentially requires the same process as brushing with a regular toothbrush. You still need to use toothpaste ( a fluoride-free paste is better for most) and you should still brush multiple times per day to ensure excellent dental health.

Let's take a deeper look at some great brushing techniques to follow when using an electric toothbrush.

Step One: Make Sure the Toothbrush is Charged

There is one thing you need to pay attention to when using an electric toothbrush as opposed to a manual one: charge time. All electric toothbrushes use electrical power to spin their bristles. Some must be docked at a charging station to recharge, while others may use disposable batteries.

It’s important to look at how your toothbrush operates before using it every night. For instance,  Dr. Brite’s Sonic Toothbrush uses electrical power and sonic emanations to effectively get rid of plaque. It uses a charging station where the brush can be set upright to dry and recharge at the same time. This means you don’t have to plug the toothbrush directly into a wall outlet.

Most electric toothbrushes will use LED lights or other indicators to tell you when they are properly charged or low on power. A good rule of thumb is to recharge your toothbrush every night so that you never run out of power. Even better --  after each use!

Step Two: Brush the “Front” of Your Teeth

If your toothbrush is charged, you can move on to applying toothpaste to the bristles and brushing the outside of your teeth. You don't need to wet your brush's bristles beforehand (although some people appreciate it since it makes the bristles a little less rigid).

As you brush the outer surfaces of your teeth, move your electric toothbrush's head slowly and evenly. To make sure you get every tooth evenly, start at one corner of your mouth, and work your way over to the other side before switching from top to bottom or vice versa.

When using an electric toothbrush, you don’t need to press down very hard with the bristles. Most toothbrushes' rotations or vibrations are powerful enough to break up plaque without any added pressure from your hand. This also saves your bristles over time and helps them to last just a little longer.

Step Three: Brush “Behind” Your Teeth

After brushing the outside of your teeth, move to the back of each row. As you do this, run your electric toothbrush over the tops of your teeth to get the pits and small valleys that distinguish the different teeth from one another. Food often gets caught in these pits, and it’s important to clear it away every day so bacteria doesn’t grow and cavities aren’t given a chance to settle.

The backs of your teeth is easy to neglect, but this is also a spot where cavities are liable to crop up over time. Be sure to follow the same routine and pattern as you did with the outside of your teeth. This will ensure that you don’t skip over a tooth or go too fast on one row.

Step Four: Brush Your Gums

You can’t neglect your gums either! In fact, cleaning your gumline is super important if you want to  avoid gum disease, have white teeth, and maintain overall dental health.

Again, don’t use your electric toothbrush by pressing too hard. Not only can this irritate your gums, but it’s also no more effective than lightly running your brush over the place where your gums meet your teeth.

As you brush your gums, be sure to also brush the gums behind your teeth. Many people only focus on the gums they can see, which can lead to gum disease or other issues hiding in the back. 

Step Five: Brush Your Tongue

You should also consider brushing your tongue every session. Your tongue collects a lot of bacteria over time and that contributes to bad breath. Brushing your tongue can help freshen your breath over the long term as well as make your mouth a generally cleaner place.

General Tips

When brushing, it’s a good idea to tilt your brush at a slight angle, rather than orient the head so that it’s flat with the surfaces of your teeth. This helps the bristles dig into the small pits and divots on your teeth, which means the brush will do a better job at breaking down plaque and hardened food.

Always be sure to floss in conjunction with brushing your teeth. Although electric toothbrushes are powerful and effective, they can't quite reach between your teeth or get deep enough into your gum line to get rid of all plaque and bacteria. Only flossing and brushing are enough to do a full job .

It’s also a great idea to use mouthwash if you can’t get rid of bad breath. In many cases, bad breath is a symptom of gastrointestinal issues, not just lots of plaque on your teeth. If this is the case, mouthwash can help to cover that up.

Use a fluoride-free toothpaste.Most commercial toothpastes are chock-full of fluoride, but most of us already get enough of this in our drinking water. Indeed,  too much fluoride can lead to tooth decay and accidentally wear down your teeth’s enamel.  We offer lots of fluoride-free toothpaste options, including some toothpastes that are designed to help individuals with sensitive teeth.

How Long Should You Brush Your Teeth?

Dentists typically say that every toothbrushing session should last two minutes in total. The majority of popular and effective electric toothbrushes now have timers split into 30-second quadrants. These allow you to keep track of your progress and brush one-quarter of your mouth (or, as with the technique described above, the outside or inside of one row of teeth) per quadrant.

Brushing longer than this doesn’t usually provide any dental benefits and may even cause you to wear down your  teeth’s enamel over time, as well as irritate your gums. 

How Often Should You Brush Your Teeth?

Dentists also recommend that you brush your teeth twice daily, once in the morning and once in the evening. Specifically, it's a good idea to brush your teeth after breakfast, cleaning away food from your first meal plus any plaque that may have built up from the morning and overnight as you slept.

Then you should brush your teeth after dinner in the evening. This means that much of your day is spent with clean teeth, minimizing the impact that bacteria can have on your dental health.

However, you can brush more frequently than this if you prefer. Just be sure not to overdo it, as it’s easy to over-brush using an electric toothbrush. If you do decide to brush the third time, do so after lunch and avoid doing it for the full two minutes. This will help you clean away extra food and ensure a clean smile without wearing down enamel. However, if there was a time when your brushing was less than stellar or your teeth got stained you can get a nice restart with a shining white smile with our extreme whitening kit.


As you can see, using an electric toothbrush is effective and relatively easy. Most modern electric toothbrushes have helpful tools or timers to make sure that we brush our teeth for the right amount of time, plus easy charging setups so you never run out of power.

Use an electric toothbrush correctly and you’ll no doubt benefit from a brighter smile and better dental health over the long-term. Try our Sonic Toothbrush to enjoy the benefits of electric and sonic cleaning technology in the same brush!


1. Do you brush back and forth with an electric toothbrush?

Make sure the brush is perpendicular to the tooth and engages the gumline. Place the brush on the outside of each tooth for a few seconds at a time. There is no need to scrub vigorously or repeatedly. An electric toothbrush will take care of that for you. In some cases, you may even hear a beep if you apply too much pressure.

2. Do you need to brush in circles with an electric toothbrush?

Due to the sheer variety of electric toothbrushes available, the answer to this question varies considerably. You can, however, rotate your toothbrush in little circles to remove the most dirt from your teeth, whether it goes up and down or side to side.

3. Do electric toothbrushes damage teeth?

While using an electric toothbrush won't harm your teeth, improper use may result in tooth damage, discomfort, and gum recession. Find out how to safely clean your teeth with an electric toothbrush if you are considering purchasing one.

4. Do you use toothpaste with electric toothbrush?

Put toothpaste on the brush head and hold the brush at a 45-degree angle, just like you would with a manual toothbrush. It takes around two minutes to brush each tooth thoroughly, even with a rechargeable electric toothbrush.

5. Do electric toothbrushes make your teeth whiter?

Basically, no. If you use an electric toothbrush, you will be able to remove stains from your teeth. Professional teeth whitening is more effective than using an electric toothbrush.