Which Is Better? Electric or Manual Toothbrush

A patient at Tri-City Dental considers a manual toothbrush and an electric toothbrush

Your dental care regimen should include brushing your pearly whites twice daily (with an ADA-approved, fluoride toothpaste).

But do you have the right toothbrush?

Today, we’re sharing all of the details about electric toothbrushes vs. manual toothbrushes to help you figure out if you have the best toothbrush for your needs or if it’s time to try something new.

We hope this helps you feel a little more confident in your toothbrush choice and makes it that much easier to stick to good dental habits, keep the cavities at bay, and help your teeth stay shiny and bright. Let’s begin.

Is an electric toothbrush better than a manual toothbrush?

According to the American Dental Association (ADA), electric toothbrushes and manual toothbrushes are both beneficial for teeth. You can use either choice, as long as it has the ADA Seal of Acceptance and meets your basic needs.

Below are some pros and cons of the two types of toothbrushes, along with some recommendations straight from the ADA:

Pros and Cons of an Electric Toothbrush

Electric toothbrushes (or powered toothbrushes) are proven to get rid of plaque on the teeth, which can decrease the chance of cavities.

Some research has shown that electric toothbrush users tend to experience “healthier gums, less tooth decay, and also keep their teeth for longer, compared with those who use a manual toothbrush,” according to the Oral Health Foundation.

Electric Toothbrush Pros:

  • Efficient: Like manual toothbrushes, electric toothbrushes can clean the surface, nooks, and crannies all around your teeth. However, they make your job even easier, as you don’t have to make circular motions with the toothbrush. Electric toothbrushes make the brushing motion you need. All you have to do is maneuver it through the mouth so that all your teeth are covered. The electric toothbrush will handle all the work.
  • Convenient for Individuals With Disabilities and Issues With Tasks That Require Hand Coordination: If you have any problems operating a regular toothbrush due to age, disabilities, or dental appliances (e.g., metal braces), you might find that an electric toothbrush is simpler to operate than a standard manual toothbrush.
  • Timer: Worried that you don’t brush your teeth for long enough but never have your phone or a stopwatch handy? Most electric toothbrushes have a timer included. That means that once you’ve brushed for the recommended time, the toothbrush will let you know, so you’re never left wondering if you should have brushed for “just a little longer.”

Electric Toothbrush Cons:

  • Cost More Than Manual Toothbrushes: Depending on the brand, you could be looking at anywhere from $6 to $150+ to purchase an electric toothbrush. Consider the pros vs. cons to determine if the price is worth it to you.
  • Can Break: As with any electronics, electric toothbrushes can break, which can get in the way of their effectiveness. That may cause you to need to make a trip to the store to get a new toothbrush if your toothbrush randomly won’t turn on the morning of a big meeting or on your way to the office.
  • Need to Switch Out Toothbrush Heads Regularly: You will need to get a toothbrush head every three months or if the bristles wear down. That means that you’ll need to go to the store for new toothbrush heads more frequently than you’d need to get a new manual toothbrush (which you can wait for three to four months to swap out).

Pros and Cons of a Manual Toothbrush

Manual toothbrushes are trusted toothbrushes that, when used correctly, help you fight off cavities, gingivitis, and more.

Manual Toothbrush Pros:

  • Budget-Friendly: You can buy a soft-bristled, ADA-approved manual toothbrush for as little as a dollar or two at your local grocery store. That makes them a simple, cost-effective choice for large families and those looking to minimize costs.
  • Great for Taking on the Go: Have braces or Invisalign and need to brush your teeth often? Travel a lot and want a simple-to-use toothbrush that you can throw in your bag and go? A manual toothbrush is a fantastic choice. It provides convenience and ease of use, doesn’t take up a lot of room, and works great for a variety of dental conditions.
  • Easy to Use: We start using manual toothbrushes before age 1, and many of us use them for a lifetime. They’re user-friendly, simple to operate, and great for all ages, ensuring that everyone in the family has a reliable toothbrush that keeps their teeth clean.

Manual Toothbrush Cons:

  • Can be Tricky to Clean Teeth Effectively: Since electric toothbrushes do the brushing for you, you’ll have the peace of mind that your teeth will be as clean as can be. However, manual toothbrushes are user-run, which means that you could miss a spot or not brush for long enough, which can affect your dental health.
  • No Support: You’re on your own with manual toothbrushes for the most part. You can ask your local dentist about proper brushing techniques, but you’re responsible for the cleaning. That means that it’s vital to establish a good brushing regimen from a young age, particularly when you use a manual toothbrush, to make sure that you’re brushing correctly.
  • Can Be Hard on Your Teeth and Gums: When you use a manual toothbrush, you have full control. It’s easy to put a little too much pressure into brushing, which can hurt your teeth and gums.

Our Recommendation

Electric toothbrushes and manual toothbrushes are both wonderful options to clean your teeth. The key is to use the proper brushing technique and select the right brush for your needs.

Do you want something low cost that’s simple to use? If so, a manual toothbrush might be right for you. However, if you prefer a thorough cleaning that effectively reduces plaque and gingivitis with timers and other features, electric toothbrushes might be the better choice.

Whatever you choose, opt for an ADA-approved toothbrush to ensure that you have the best, highest-quality product. Your teeth will thank you later!

When you need the best dental care, Tri-City Dental Care is here for you. Our dental practice offers a family-friendly, spa-like experience and the highest-quality dental care. Schedule an appointment today.

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