Peruse the oral care aisle of any department or drug store, and you’ll find a plethora of options for toothbrushes — both manual and electric. Does it really make a difference which you use? Are electric toothbrushes better?
Regardless of the type of toothbrush you choose, you must use it regularly. Brushing form matters, as well. Hold the brush at a 45-degree angle to hit the maximum surface area on your gums and teeth. It’s also recommended that you use a soft-bristled brush.
Electric Toothbrush vs Manual Toothbrush
We’ve included a list of the pros and cons of electric toothbrushes vs. manual ones to help you make the best decision for taking care of your oral health.
Electric toothbrushes are built to be user-friendly. However, there are still advantages and disadvantages to this type of toothbrush.
Pros of Electric Toothbrushes
Electric toothbrushes are exceptionally easy to use and are very effective at cleaning teeth— as long as you hold it at the proper 45-degree angle. They clean your teeth so well, some experts believe they remove more plaque than manual brushes. If you wear braces, an electric toothbrush is a godsend. Some people believe that nothing beats the vibrating motion of an electric toothbrush to remove particles hiding among wires and brackets.
Most electric toothbrushes today have built-in timers to ensure you are brushing your teeth for two full minutes. Some brushes even beep every 30 seconds so you can devote sufficient time to each quadrant of your mouth. If you find yourself rushing through your oral health routine, an electric toothbrush with a timer can help slow you down.
Cons of Electric Toothbrushes
The costs of using an electric toothbrush can add up. Once you buy a brush initially, you’ll have to purchase new brush heads every few months. Electric toothbrush heads cost more than manual toothbrushes. So, you should take that into consideration.
Like most electronics, electric toothbrushes have a limited shelf life. Your electric toothbrush will last a few years, in most cases, but you’ll have to replace it eventually.
Electric toothbrushes take up more space on your counter, and many will need to be plugged in or have the batteries changed regularly. Traveling with your electric toothbrush can also be a hassle because you’ll have to lug all the components with you.
There is no doubt that manual toothbrushes can get the job done. However, there are pluses and minuses to this type of toothbrush.
Pros of Manual Toothbrushes
Manual toothbrushes are both affordable and accessible. You can pick them up anywhere for just a couple of dollars. If you go to your dentist regularly for checkups and examinations, chances are you will get a new toothbrush for free. Manual toothbrushes also don’t take up much counter space, and you can take them with you anywhere.
As long as you use the brushing recommendations by the American Dental Association (ADA), there doesn’t appear to be a difference in effective cleaning between a manual toothbrush and an electric one.
Cons of Manual Toothbrushes
Unlike an electric toothbrush which does a lot of the work of brushing for you, you’ll be in charge of making sure you are using proper motions to clean your teeth and gums thoroughly. It can also be easier to brush your teeth too hard when you use a manual brush. You don’t need to scrub your teeth and gums with a lot of force. Be gentle and let the brush do its work.
There are so many different options of manual toothbrushes that it could be a bit overwhelming to make a decision. They come in a variety of different head sizes, bristles, handles and colors.
The main drawback of manual toothbrushes is that they do not have built-in timers. Experts recommend that you brush your teeth for a full two minutes. So, you might want to keep a timer handy to ensure you are brushing for the proper amount of time.
So, Which is Better?
There are several factors to consider when it comes to choosing the right kind of toothbrush including affordability and effectiveness. Electric toothbrushes are more effective at cleaning your teeth than manual toothbrushes, but they are more expensive. Manual toothbrushes are cheaper and do a decent job of cleaning teeth, but they still fall short of electric toothbrushes.
Replacing Your Toothbrush
Whatever type of toothbrush you decide to use, you should make sure to replace it regularly. Most dental professionals recommend swapping out your old toothbrush or brush head for a new one every three to four months. If you get sick, you should replace your toothbrush once you are feeling better to avoid the possibility of re-contaminating yourself with those sick germs.
There are other things you should note to keep your toothbrush clean. These tips will also help maintain your oral health.
Don’t Flush Near Where You Brush
Store your toothbrush away from the toilet. Every time you flush the toilet — especially if you don’t close the lid — there is the potential for germ droplets to fly all over your bathroom. These droplets can get on your toothbrush.
Don’t Share Your Toothbrush
This should be a no-brainer, but it’s a good reminder to keep germs from spreading. You shouldn’t even share your toothbrush with family members.
Store Your Toothbrush in the Upright Position
Storing your toothbrush upright rather than laying on the counter will help air circulate so it dries properly. Don’t store your toothbrush near other toothbrushes to avoid cross-contamination.
Let West Coast Dental Help You Decide
If you’re still weighing the pros and cons of an electric toothbrush vs. a manual one, the best person to talk to about it is your dental professional like West Coast Dental. When you come in for your next examination, we can go over your options to determine which is best for you.
Mouth healthy – Brushing Your Teeth
Healthline – 5 Toothbrushing FAQs
Oral Health Foundation – Electric toothbrushes win the head-to-head against manual in record breaking new study
Healthline – How Long Does a Toothbrush Last and When Should I Replace It?Consumer Reports – Should You Use an Electric Toothbrush or a Manual?