Can an Electric Toothbrush Fix One-Sided Brushing?

You may brush your teeth religiously twice a day and make sure that you spend the right amount of time on each brushing session. However, this doesn't mean that you are cleaning all of your teeth to the same standard.

If your dentist has commented that some of your teeth are in worse shape than others because you are focusing on brushing one side of your mouth, then you need to remedy the situation. Why have you got into a one-sided brushing habit? Will switching to an electric toothbrush make you more even-handed?

What Is One-Sided Brushing?

It's not uncommon for people to focus on brushing one side of their teeth over the other. This is often linked to your dominant hand and how you use it most comfortably.

For example, if you are left-handed, then you may naturally brush your teeth on the right-hand side of your mouth more thoroughly and for longer than those on the left. It's more comfortable for you to clean to the right; cleaning to the left feels less easy. Same goes if you're right-handed. Here, you're likely to have cleaner teeth on the left-hand side of your mouth. This may not seem like a big deal. After all, it's not as if you don't clean the teeth on your dominant side at all.

However, the teeth that you spend less time on or that you clean less thoroughly have a higher risk of developing problems that will need dental treatment. Plus, you may be too hard on the teeth you naturally clean better. You may overbrush them, which could, in itself, cause some damage to tooth enamel.

Does an Electric Toothbrush Make You Brush More Evenly?

If you buy an electric toothbrush with a timer, then your toothbrush will tell you how long to brush your teeth for optimum results. A basic timer that only alerts you when your total recommended time is up may not be the best bet here — you need a timer that splits brushing times up.

So, for example, a brush with a quad timer gives you four alerts within an overall brushing time. This tells you how long to clean the four key areas on your upper and lower teeth. During each quad period, you clean a certain area of your teeth; when the alert sounds, you move on to the next.

If you time how long you clean each side of your teeth, then you may start to learn how to brush more evenly on both sides. For advice on good electric toothbrushes or to learn more about dealing with one-sided brushing, ask your dentist for advice.