Electric Toothbrush vs Manual Toothbrush: Which is Best?

So what kind of toothbrush do you use? An electric one or a manual brush? I confess, I have always used a manual toothbrush but all my friends and family use electric ones and I have often wondered what the benefits are.

I tried using an electric toothbrush years ago but I could not stand that feeling of the bristles vibrating against my teeth, it literally set them on edge, so I cannot use one. My chums swear to the ‘just stepped out of the dentists chair’ fresh feeling when they use an electric brush so am I missing out? I’ve done some research and this is what I have found out.


Electric toothbrushes come in two different types; one that oscillates, in which the bristles rotate in one direction and then the other, and then there is the Sonicare, where the bristles vibrate at an extremely very fast pace. Manual toothbrushes typically will have the same looking head of bristles, which will come in hard, medium or soft.

So which is best? Well, when we use a manual toothbrush our hands can only move at a certain speed when we brush but an electric toothbrush can move the bristles at an extremely fast rate, much faster than our hands and as such, this allows the teeth to be cleaned more efficiently and with less effort.

Moreover, as the bristles are moving at a faster speed than our hands would be able to, they are able to remove more plaque and food debris in a shorter amount of time. Therefore, if you have some kind of disability in which the movement in your hands is restricted, you may find using an electric toothbrush particularly beneficial.

Manual toothbrush heads tend to be long in length so that they can reach the back of our mouths. Electric toothbrush heads are smaller, more circular in shape and fit directly over the tooth to make sure that the whole tooth and the surrounding area is thoroughly cleaned all at the same time, not just one surface at a time.

Electric toothbrushes therefore, are able to remove plaque and bacteria quickly and more efficiently and from hard to get to places that a manual toothbrush would struggle to reach. Plaque that remains in the mouth is a cause of bad breath, so by removing more the electric toothbrush helps to stop the problem of halitosis.

Electric toothbrushes provide a rapid movement of bristles which gives a deeper cleaning that a manual brush cannot deliver. If you suffer from heavy staining on your teeth such as tea, coffee and tobacco, a deep cleansing from an electric toothbrush is ideal to remove them.

Brushing your teeth on a regular basis helps reduce gingivitis, in fact, British researcher, Miranda Hitti on WebMD Health News, stated that “Certain types of electric toothbrushes may be better at fighting plaque and gum disease than manual toothbrushes…

When used for three months, those electric toothbrushes removed plaque 11% more effectively than manual toothbrushes, a review of toothbrush studies shows. They also reduced gingivitis by 6% over manual toothbrushes. This represented a 17% reduction in bleeding of the gums.”

Electric toothbrushes are harder to clean and cost a lot more than manual toothbrushes which can be replaced easily when the bristles start to soften. I would counter however that overall it appears that for many reasons it is far better to use an electric toothbrush than a manual one but so long as you brush your teeth twice a day thoroughly, visit your dentist once every six months you should be fine.

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