Manual vs. Electric: Which Toothbrush is Better? Learn With Portland, OR General & Family Dentist
Updated: Sep 3
Do you use an electric toothbrush or a regular one? Does one type seem like it cleans your teeth better than the other? The truth is that both manual and electric toothbrushes are great at cleaning your teeth effectively, as long as they are used properly! That said, there are several pros and cons that may make one type a better choice for you over the other. Let’s take a look!
Affordable and easy to replace - Standard toothbrushes are widely available and range in price from just $1-$5. Most dentists also provide patients with a free toothbrush after a regular checkup!
Portable and travel-friendly - Manual toothbrushes are more compact than electric toothbrushes and can be taken and used virtually anywhere, since they do not need to be charged like electric toothbrushes.
Better control compared to electric toothbrushes, and easier to reduce the pressure applied to sensitive teeth and gums.
No built-in timer may make it more difficult to know if you are brushing for long enough. But a simple fix is to keep a kitchen timer in your bathroom, or set your phone timer to 2 minutes.
May be easier to brush too hard - One study found that people may be more likely to brush too hard with manual toothbrushes, which could damage teeth and gums.
Easier to use for people with limited mobility, such as people with arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, or developmental disabilities.
Most have built-in timers, which are fantastic for ensuring you are brushing long enough to effectively clean teeth and remove plaque.
May be better at removing plaque - Some studies found that electric toothbrushes with oscillating (rotating) heads were more effective at removing plaque compared to manual toothbrushes. However, it should be noted that other studies found that both manual and electric toothbrushes were just as effective at removing plaque as long as people brushed properly and for 2 minutes each, twice a day.
May be better for people with braces or crowded/crooked teeth - Plaque can build up in hard to reach places, such as between crowded teeth and around the metal brackets of braces. Electric toothbrushes with oscillating and vibrating features may reach and clean those areas more easily.
More expensive - Electric toothbrushes range in price from $15 to $250. Replacement brush heads usually come in packs and range from $10 to $50.
Obtaining replacement heads might not be easy or convenient, since not all stores carry all brands and model types.
Not as portable or travel-friendly - Electric toothbrushes take up more space than manual toothbrushes. They also are not as convenient to travel with since they require recharging.
Breakable - Like all electronic devices, electric toothbrushes have a shelf life and will eventually need to be replaced or upgraded.
There are definite advantages and disadvantages to both standard and electric toothbrushes. But what is the most important choice to make when it comes to you and your toothbrush? Choosing to brush properly and thoroughly - twice a day, every day!
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