Ultrasonic toothbrush

How Does An Ultrasonic Toothbrush Work?

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How Does An Ultrasonic Toothbrush Work?

Also known as an ultrasound toothbrush, an ultrasonic toothbrush refers to an electric toothbrush made for everyday home use. Ultrasound generation is what powers this toothbrush and helps it get rid of plaque.

According a source, the frequency at which it operates is about 1.6 MHz which is the same thing as 96 million pulses and is equal to 192 million movements every single minute.

For many decades, electric toothbrushes have continued to make waves. In modern times, they have undergone continuous evolution in terms of how fast they vibrate. The speed of the vibration means that they are grouped into 3 different categories which are –

  • Electric
  • Sonic
  • Ultrasonic

The vibration of an electric toothbrush occurs in upward and downward movements. Sometimes, the vibration occurs in a circular manner. But you will also see electric toothbrushes that combine both methods of vibration. Vibration speed measurement for an electric toothbrush is done in movements/minute. A common electric toothbrush only has a vibration speed of about 10000-12000 times every minute according to estimations.

In the case of a sonic toothbrush, the vibration frequency or speed is the reason for its name. The vibration frequency for sonic toothbrushes is somewhere around what humans used to communicate. An adult male’s voice speech has a frequency of around 85-180 Hz which translates into 10,200-21,000 movements every minute. On the other hand, an adult female’s speech has a frequency of around 165-255 Hz which translates into 19,800-30,600 movements every minute.

But how does an ultrasonic toothbrush work?

The generation of ultrasonic waves is what helps an ultrasonic toothbrush to work. A piezo crystal implanted in the device is responsible for generating the ultrasonic wave. 

An ultrasonic brush comes with a tiny head equipped with custom-designed bristles. With the ability to move in two different ways, an ultrasonic toothbrush can move upward and downward or from side-to-side. An ultrasonic toothbrush also has the ability to move in a rotational manner, causing the head to rotate in repeat half arcs.

The fact that this toothbrush works at a 1.6 MHz frequency implies that it will complete 1.6 million cycles in both directions each second. So, what you get is 192 million movements every minute which consists of 96 million movements forward that alternate with 96 million movements backward every minute. This is in the case of an ultrasonic toothbrush that makes use of vibration motions.

But when it comes to an ultrasonic toothbrush that operates on rotation oscillation movements, it requires the same 1.6 MHz frequency. However, this translates into half rotations of 96 million in anti-clockwise and clockwise directions. This gives a total of 192 million movements every minute. You may not hear the speed or frequency but you will feel the movement on your teeth.

Many ultrasonic toothbrushes also differ slightly in another way. Some of these toothbrushes combine ultrasonic movement with ultrasonic sound. Examples of such brushes include Smilex, as well as Emmi-dent Club. But it is not known whether this slight difference makes one better than the other.

As earlier mentioned, the high frequencies produced by ultrasonic toothbrushes are possible because of the piezo crystal. This device can function even at very low frequencies which makes it possible to see ultrasonic toothbrushes that have only 20,000 Hz frequencies.

Using an ultrasonic toothbrush

Ultrasonic toothbrush

How you use the toothbrush when cleaning your teeth will determine what motion is employed. You can use the ultrasonic toothbrush in two different ways –

  1. Ultrasonic toothbrushes that work using vibration motion are similar to the regular toothbrush. When using this type of brush, you’ll have to make upward/downward, to and fro movements the same way you would use your regular toothbrush.
  1. In the case of an ultrasonic toothbrush that makes use of rotational oscillation motion, all you have to do is move your toothbrush from one tooth to the other. There’s no need to make up/down, to and fro movements. 

The optional features on ultrasonic toothbrushes

Of course, you would expect an ultrasonic toothbrush to come with an on/off button. But you might also notice additional features on your ultrasonic toothbrush. Some of these features are as follows:

  • An LCD display to give me information like frequency settings and how much battery life you’ve got left.
  • An ultrasound indicator to notify you when and when not the ultrasound is being used.
  • A timer to tell you how much time you use up when brushing your teeth.
  • A pressure sensor to determine how much pressure you exert on your teeth and keep you from pressure over-application.

Benefits of using an ultrasonic toothbrush

There are lots of advantages that come from using an ultrasonic toothbrush in contrast with regular toothbrushes. Some of these amazing benefits are as follows –

  1. Ultrasonic toothbrushes are effective at keeping your entire mouth cleaner and healthier. The presence of specially designed bristles means you have a brush that has a deeper reach and that can operate in different motions. An ultrasonic toothbrush also gives you equal pressure which is safe for your teeth.
  1. You can brush more thoroughly and for longer with an ultrasonic toothbrush. This is because they have a timer for every quadrant to guarantee you longer brushing that delivers a cleaner and fresher feeling.
  1. You don’t have to do the manual work. Leave it to the ultrasonic brush to handle the task of cleaning your mouth. Manual brushing puts your teeth and gums at a disadvantage when done too hard. With an ultrasonic toothbrush, you no longer have to do guesswork when cleaning your dentition.
  1. If you are looking to fight gingivitis, as well as gum disease, use an electronic toothbrush. Ultrasonic toothbrushes can get into spaces that would be difficult for a regular toothbrush.

In conclusion…

Using an ultrasonic toothbrush has lots of benefits for your health. Combining this with regular flossing can help you to get rid of plaque and tackle a lot of mouth conditions. Consider getting one for yourself today and you’ll be happy you did.

Kelly Hancock, RDH

Kelly is a registered dental hygienist and oral health care provider. She is passionate about oral hygiene and encourages people to achieve optimal oral health. She has been working in the dental profession for 16 years and worked in many different roles in the dental industry. Kelly is currently a pediatric dental hygienist specializing in children’s dentistry. She is committed to helping others with their oral health care issues and helping others achieve a smile they love.

This article and all advice on this website, Toothbrush Life, is intended to help people gain knowledge about general oral health topics. No articles or advice on this website are intended to replace professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or qualified healthcare provider to help you with any questions you have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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