Electric vs. Manual Toothbrushes

Electric Toothbrushes vs. Manual Toothbrushes

In Oral Health by Rother DentalLeave a Comment

Should I use a manual or electric toothbrush?

Brushing is the gold standard of good oral homecare.  Most of us brush daily without much thought to it because it has become a habit.  But are we doing it right?  Are we doing all that we can to remove the harmful plaque bacteria that cause tooth decay and gum disease?

But with so many brushing options, you may wonder if it is best to use a manual toothbrush or an electric toothbrush.  So, let’s talk about toothbrushes…

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According to the American Dental Association (ADA), both manual and power toothbrushes are effective when used correctly.  The most important part about brushing is the time that you spend doing it.  The ADA and your dental professionals at Rother Dental recommend brushing for two minutes.  

While choosing the right toothbrush is a personal decision, here is some information and tips that may help you make good brushing choices:

Brushing Tips & Methods

Whether choosing a manual or power toothbrush, brushing method and routine is the most important factor.  

  • Two + Two – Brushing twice a day for at least two minutes has been proven to be the minimum for effective plaque removal.  
  • Safe Technique – Several safe brushing methods exist such as angling the bristles of the brush at a 45-degree angle toward the gumline while applying gentle sweeps up & down or in a small circular motion.  Avoid back and forth scrubbing or using heavy brushing pressure because it can cause gum damage.  
  • Soft Bristles – Choosing a soft-bristled brush is the only choice safe for your teeth and gums.  Never use medium or firm toothbrushes!
  • Change Your Brush Regularly – You should change your toothbrush every 3 months or less if visible wear is noticeable.  Studies show that a worn toothbrush is less effective at removing plaque bacteria.
  • Never Share a Toothbrush – Sharing a toothbrush can also mean sharing microorganisms that cause tooth decay.

Manual Toothbrushes

Because manual toothbrushes are the most popular, many brush choices are available.  If choosing a manual toothbrush, consider some of the pros and cons of your choice:

Manual Toothbrush Pros

  • Cost: Manual toothbrushes usually cost only a few dollars.
  • Availability: Manual toothbrushes can be found in most grocery stores and pharmacies.
  • Convenience: Manual toothbrushes can travel easily because they are small and need no power source.

Manual Toothbrush Cons

  • Hard Brushing: Research shows that patients use heavier brush forces with a manual brush.
  • No Time: Manual brushes do not offer a two-minute timer to ensure patients are brushing long enough.  Unfortunately, people only brush an average of 45 seconds.

Electric Toothbrushes

Electric toothbrushes are becoming more popular, which means that more styles are available.  If choosing a power brush, consider some of the pros and cons:

Electric Toothbrush Pros:

  • Better Plaque Removal: Research has shown that after 3 months of use of a electric toothbrush, plaque reduction was 21% and gingivitis reduction was 11% compared to manual brushing.  Power brushes may be best for patients with orthodontics or periodontal disease.
  • Easier to Brush: Electric brushes can aid patients with manual dexterity issues.
  • Brushing Timer: Many power brushes have built-in timers to encourage more thorough brushing.
  • Safe for Gums: Used as directed, quality power brushes recommended by your dental professional are safe for teeth and gums.

Electric Toothbrush Cons

  • Cost: electric toothbrushes can range in price but are typically more expensive than manual brushes.
  • Less Convenient for Travel: Because power brushes require a charging source, they are often larger than manual brushes, making them more difficult for travel.

Which should you choose?

The bottom line in the debate between toothbrushes is patient need and preference.  Because power toothbrushes have a growing number of benefits, they are being recommended more often by dental professionals.

If you are considering a power toothbrush, discuss brand and type options with your dentist in mechanicsburg during your next visit. They’ll be able to help recommend the toothbrush that can benefit you the best.

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