As each year goes by more and more advancements are made in the technology we use to look after our teeth. Over the past 30 years, the toothbrushes that people use have changed significantly and the shift to electric toothbrushes has become more common. More people than ever now have a fancy electric toothbrush with lots of technology designed to make brushing your teeth more effective and easier.
A great example of this is the pressure sensor on an electric toothbrush.
This technology has been available for many years now, with Oral-B leading the with this advancement having it across most of their models. Other toothbrush brands are following suit and adding pressure sensors to their brushes from well-renowned brand Phillips Sonicare, to smaller brands that can be found selling on Amazon.
What is a Pressure Sensor?
A pressure sensor, is a device built into a toothbrush that is designed to give help the user brush with the correct amount of pressure on the teeth. Over-brushing is a common oral care problem and bad habit – it can damage gums and be abrasive to teeth. A pressure sensor in a brush is there to correct this habit by having some sort of action when too much pressure is applied, this could be a noise it gives to alert the user, a light that comes on or even reducing the power output to the brush head (stopping it from brushing your teeth), this will vary depending upon the toothbrush.
How much pressure should I brush with?
The bristles of your toothbrush should lightly go over your teeth. Enough pressure to feel the bristles against the gums, but if the bristles are being squashed, you are brushing too hard. Another piece of advise that is used, is to brush with 150 grams of pressure, approximately the weight an orange. To a lot of people, this amount of force may feel too light, but it’s important to remember the pressure is being applied to a more concentrated area.
What happens when I brush excessively hard?
Extremely cases of over-brushing or applying too much pressure can cause instant consequences of damage to the gums. But most of the time the negative effects of applying too much pressure aren’t immediately noticeable.
You should be concerned about using too much force for two main reasons:
It causes damage to your teeth:
When brushing too hard against your tooth, rather than the recommended skimming over the tooth, it can wear away your enamel and leave your teeth vulnerable.
It causes damage to your gums:
Your gums could become irritated, bleed and damaged. Over-brushing is often known to wear away at the gum line, leading to receding gums.
Basic versions of oscillating electric toothbrushes don’t have a pressure sensor and if you are using one of these and are brushing excessively hard, you could be doing harm. If you are using a manual brush, be sure to use short strokes in a brushing motion – don’t saw back and forth across your teeth with the brush.
What does a pressure sensor do when you brush too hard?
Different models and brands of electric toothbrush with pressure sensors vary in how they work. We have included a breakdown of different methods used below:
- Reducing the power from the motor. When more pressure is applied the toothbrush will reduce the power output to the brush head. The lower output is designed to alert the user and reduce the damage to teeth and gums. Once the pressure is reduce the power returns as normal.
- A warning light. Some brushes may have a light on it (often red) that turns on when too brush pressure is applied. This remains on whilst pressure is too great and switches off when it returns to an acceptable level.
- A warning sound or change in sound. A brush may have a noise designed to alert the user that too much pressure is being applied, this noise stops when pressure is reduced. You should also be able to notice a change in sound on brushes where the power output is reduced (without a specific audible alert built-in).
- Via an app. Some top of the range electric toothbrushes come with Bluetooth connectivity and an app that can run on your phone. The brush sends a message when you are brushing too hard to alert you to reduce the force and logs information such as the amount of time too much pressure was applied.
Do I need a pressure sensor on my toothbrush?
A pressure sensor is no doubt a useful tool to have on a toothbrush. Whilst you can achieve the exact same clean and have just as good oral care without one, it does make it a lot easier to brush correctly with a sensor. If you know you brush too hard, suffer from receding gum lines or are unsure of how much pressure you should be using; a pressure sensor would be a good choice for you. A great thing about pressure sensors is they get you into a good habit of brushing correctly and can help you get rid of bad habits you may of developed.
Overall, if you are brushing correctly without one it is unlikely to improve your oral hygiene. But it makes brushing correctly easier, which will lead better oral hygiene by improving your technique.
What toothbrushes have a pressure sensor?
Oral-B and Phillips Sonicare are the two biggest brands when it comes to electric toothbrushes, both of these brands have models that have pressure sensors. Be sure to check on the description of the product before purchasing.