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Monday April 15, 2024

Savvy Living

Savvy Senior

User-Friendly Dental Care Products

I have arthritis and experience hand tremors that make brushing my teeth difficult. I have read that electric toothbrushes can help. What should I consider before buying one?

An electric toothbrush can be a practical choice to maintain oral hygiene for individuals who suffer from arthritis or have other hand weaknesses or tremors. At the push of a button, an electric toothbrush takes care of the cleaning for you. Most electric toothbrushes come with a wide, slightly weighted handle and rubberized grip that make them easier and more comfortable to hold.

How to Choose


With dozens of different electric toothbrushes on the market today, here are some points to consider before making a choice:

Cost: The cost of electric toothbrushes range from approximately $10 for a basic model with replaceable AA batteries to more than $200 for models with numerous features including rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, multiple brushing modes, smartphone integrations and more.

Brushing action: Brush heads tend to be either "oscillating" or "sonic." Oscillating brushes are commonly a circle that rotate back and forth. Bristles may also pulsate in and out. Sonic means the brush heads vibrate side to side or rotate but at much faster speeds. Both methods are effective and a matter of personal preference.

Electric versus battery: A brush with a built-in rechargeable battery and an electric charging station may be preferable since they are more convenient and cost effective than toothbrushes with replaceable batteries. For toothbrushes with replaceable batteries, rechargeable options may be a helpful long-term swap for disposable batteries.

Brushing timer: Since most dentists recommend brushing for two minutes (most adults average about 45 to 70 seconds), consider opting for an electric toothbrush with a built-in timer, a feature found in most models. Some brushes will even split the two minutes into four 30-second intervals and will notify you when it is time to switch to a different quadrant of your mouth.

Extra features: Higher-priced electric brushes come with extra features like cleaning modes, pressure sensors, a charge-level display and more. There are even "smart" toothbrushes that connect to a smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth to track brushing habits.

Easier Flossing Tools


If traditional flossing has become a challenge, floss picks serve as a convenient alternative. Floss picks are disposable plastic-handle tools that have floss threaded onto them, which makes them easier to hold and use. Several brands offer packs of floss picks at an affordable price, and many come with the option of toothbrush-like handle for better reach.

Another flossing product that is user-friendly is the water flosser, which uses high-pressured pulsating water to remove food particles and plaque and will stimulate your gums in the process. There are a variety of water flossing products at prices ranging between $50 and $300. These dental care products can be found at your local pharmacy or retailer that sells personal care items or online.

Savvy Living is written by Jim Miller, a regular contributor to the NBC Today Show and author of "The Savvy Living" book. Any links in this article are offered as a service and there is no endorsement of any product. These articles are offered as a helpful and informative service to our friends and may not always reflect this organization's official position on some topics. Jim invites you to send your senior questions to: Savvy Living, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070.

Published February 2, 2024
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