Guide: Should You Choose a Manual or Electric Toothbrush?
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Manual Vs Electric Toothbrushes – Which Is Best for Your Teeth?

Is a manual or electric toothbrush more effective? This issue is commonly debated, but the reality is that electric and manual toothbrushes both offer pros and cons.

Here, we’ll look at the key differences between manual and electric toothbrushes to help you determine which type may be the best fit for keeping your teeth and mouth healthy.

electric toothbrush and changing heads

What Is A Manual Toothbrush?

A manual toothbrush is a hand-held brush with soft plastic bristles. Manual toothbrushes are manipulated by moving the brush up, down, and over teeth to remove debris, food, and plaque.

Benefits of Manual Toothbrushes

Advantages of manual toothbrushes include:

  • Easy to pack and convenient to travel with
  • Cheaper
  • You do not have to worry about it dying if it isn’t charged
  • They come in a larger variety (soft, medium, hard bristles and a variety of head sizes)
  • They are more flexible and can be easier to manoeuvre around the mouth
  • They can be easily used to clean your tongue 
  • Easier to replace

What Is An Electric Toothbrush?

An electric toothbrush is a brush that uses a motor to generate rapid, automated motions and rotations to clean teeth.

Benefits of Electric Toothbrushes

Advantages of electric toothbrushes include:

  • They often come with an automatic timer to help ensure you brush for the recommended two minutes
  • They are ideal for individuals who suffer from arthritis or limited mobility as the toothbrush’s rotating head does the majority of the work
  • The power rotation helps effectively loosen and remove plaque
  • Kids may find them more fun to use, increasing their chances of brushing on a consistent basis
  • Their variable speeds can be helpful for individuals with sensitive gums or teeth (some models even have a warning light to alert users if too much pressure is being applied)

tooth brushing guide

How Often Should You Change Your Toothbrush?

With both electric and manual toothbrushes, you should consider getting a new brush or changing the head at least every three months. In some cases, you will need to change your toothbrush sooner.

For a thorough look at how to care for your toothbrush, check out our blog outlining exactly how often you should change your toothbrush.

Is A Manual or Electric Toothbrush Better for Braces?

With their thorough cleaning ability, many dental professionals recommend electric toothbrushes for individuals with braces. However, it is best to consult with your dental professional about which type of toothbrush would be best for you.

Can You Use an Electric Toothbrush to Clean Your Tongue?

Yes, an electric toothbrush can be used to clean your tongue, similar to how you would use a manual one. Many electric toothbrushes have a massage mode or gum care mode that can be used for tongue cleaning.

Can Electric Toothbrushes Cause Gum Recession?

If you do not use your electric toothbrush properly, you may harm your gums. Overbrushing or being too rough with the toothbrush can lead to gum recession.

If you find yourself replacing your brush sooner than every three months due to rough or damaged bristles, it may be a sign of overbrushing.

Whether you choose an electric or manual toothbrush, always be gentle and do not overbrush.

Can Children Use Electric Toothbrushes?

When kids are first learning to care for their teeth, a manual toothbrush may be the best option as they are lighter and easier to control. However, older children can use an electric toothbrush as long as it is specifically designed for use by kids.

Along with being easier to handle and manoeuvre, electric toothbrushes often feature built-in timers that can help children establish good oral hygiene habits. Additionally, some children find it fun and exciting to use an electric toothbrush, increasing the likelihood they will stick with an oral hygiene routine.

manual toothbrushes in bathroom

Are Cheap Electric Toothbrushes Any Good?

As with almost everything, you get what you pay for when it comes to electric toothbrushes. Be sure to check reviews on the model you are researching, ask your dental professional for a recommendation, and spend money to ensure a quality product.

Final Thoughts?

When it comes down to it, both manual and electric toothbrushes can be used effectively to keep your teeth and mouth clean and healthy. 

What matters most is that you are brushing your teeth thoroughly for two minutes at least twice a day. So whether you choose an electric or manual toothbrush comes down to preference and what works best for you — it is the brushing itself that is most important.

Should you have concerns about overbrushing, get in touch with our team. Our Dentists can assess your dental health and offer the best advice.

Dr. Jack Brazel

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