Electric Toothbrush vs. Manual Toothbrush: Which One Should You Choose?

Electric Toothbrush vs. Manual Toothbrush​​​​​​​
  • By Courthouse Art of Dentistry
  • August 29, 2019

    We all know that the best way to enjoy great oral health and hygiene is to make sure that we brush our teeth in accordance with the guidelines set out by our dentist. In fact, most of us are taught to brush our teeth for the recommended two minutes twice a day from a very early age, and hopefully, this is now a well-versed habit.


    The reason that we need to brush our teeth is simple. We need to remove the bacteria and food debris that turns into plaque – a clear, sticky substance that sticks to our teeth and, if not removed, is responsible for the development of decay and disease. There is no more effective way of doing this than by brushing our teeth with fluoride toothpaste after meals. However, when it comes to brushing, we now have two choices as to which type of toothbrush we can use – electric or manual. But which is best?


    Electric Toothbrushes


    An electric toothbrush is a toothbrush that uses battery power to make rapid automatic bristle motions. Depending on the type of electric toothbrush that you choose, these are back-and-forth or rotating oscillations, or in the case of the most advanced versions, both. The speed at which an electric toothbrush works also varies depending on the model that you choose.


    Reasons to choose an electric toothbrush

    • Consistent power delivery

    • Rapid cleaning that can remove up to 100% more plaque than a manual brush

    • Built-in timers to ensure that you clean for the recommended two minutes

    • Vibrations allow for more micro-movements that help remove stubborn plaque and tartar

    • Useful for patients with limited mobility in their hands such as those with carpal tunnel or arthritis

    • Rechargeable battery with long battery life

    • Safe for gums

    • Fun and encouraging for kids

    • Available with different brush heads enabling you to choose the variety that most meets your needs

    • Various cleaning modes

    • Less wastage since only the heads require replacement, not the entire toothbrush

    Whilst an electric toothbrush requires a greater upfront investment, they offer a relatively low lifetime cost.


    Manual Toothbrushes


    Manual toothbrushes have a very long history and remain a very effective method for removing plaque and bacteria from the teeth, helping patients enjoy great oral health and keeping gum disease at bay. There are many different varieties available, with different shape and size heads and varying firmness of bristles. Many people mistakenly believe that the firmer the bristles are, the better the brush will clean your teeth. However, this isn’t accurate and in fact, hard bristles can damage the enamel of teeth and cause irritation and damage to the gum tissue.


    There are primarily two key advantages to choosing a manual toothbrush. Accessibility and affordability. Manual toothbrushes can be picked up virtually anywhere, from gas stations and dollar stores to pharmacies, and they rarely cost more than a few dollars. This makes them extremely convenient, particularly if you usually use an electric toothbrush, but are away and have forgotten to take it with you.


    If you choose a manual toothbrush, experts recommend that you stick to a small-headed, soft-bristled variety. This is because this type will give you maximum maneuverability and will prevent damage to your teeth or gums. Use a timer to ensure that you brush for the recommended two minutes each time and aren’t inadvertently putting your cleaning session short.


    Which Is Better – Electric Or Manual?


    Both electric and manual toothbrushes are effective at cleaning teeth provided you use the proper technique and ensure that you brush for long enough each time. However, independent research has shown that people who choose an electric toothbrush do experience cleaner teeth. One study found that 3 months of using an electric toothbrush can mean a further 21% reduction in the number of plaque patients experienced when compared to a manual toothbrush. Furthermore, dentists everywhere advocate using an electric toothbrush where possible. As the experts – they know best!



    For more advice on choosing between an electric or manual toothbrush, or for expert guidance on brushing techniques and achieving great oral health, get in touch with our experienced dental care team att Courthouse Art of Dentistry in Arlington, VA today  703-260-9600.