Is an Electric Toothbrush More Effective Than a Manual Toothbrush?

father and daughter brushing their teeth with manual toothbrushes father and daughter brushing their teeth with manual toothbrushes

Several years ago electric toothbrushes appeared on the market as an alternative to manual toothbrushes. How do they compare in terms of effectiveness, though?

The Pros and Cons of Manual Toothbrushes

Manual toothbrushes have been around for ages and are the default method for cleaning our teeth. They are quite effective, so long as the correct method is used. The correct way to brush your teeth with a manual toothbrush is to hold the brush at a 45-degree angle and brush all the surfaces of the teeth (front, back, and chewing edges) in slow and gentle, circular motions. Be sure to brush for 2 minutes.

Manual toothbrushes are readily available at grocery stores, pharmacies, dollar stores, and even gas stations. Because of this, they are very inexpensive, easy to shop for, and easy to replace at the last minute. As for drawbacks, manual toothbrushes may be a bit tricky for younger children to use, so our pediatric dentists advise parents to help their kids each time they brush. When using manual brushes it is very easy to start brushing a little too hard, which can lead to pain and sensitivity in the gums.

The Pros and Cons of Electric Toothbrushes

Electric toothbrushes, although more expensive, may be the better option for some, including for patients who wear braces. The biggest benefit of electric toothbrushes is that they do all the work. They move the brush-head bristles in circular motions at the right pace with the right amount of pressure. You just have to hold the brush.

Many electric options come with a built-in timer that goes off every 30 seconds to remind the user to move to the next area of their mouths. They also feature a timer that goes off at two minutes to let the user know when they can stop brushing. Some models even offer different modes and speeds for daily cleaning, tongue cleaning, and deep cleaning.

Interestingly enough, our South Houston dentists have found that electric toothbrushes may keep children more engaged, which will encourage healthy habits early on. At our patient's dental cleanings, we have found that those who used an electric toothbrush while wearing braces were getting a better clean with less effort. As for patients who didn't know how to properly brush their teeth at first, we noticed they had experienced a reduced amount of plaque after regularly using an electric brush. On the other hand, patients who were already brushing correctly with a manual toothbrush and switched to an electric one did not experience a major difference.

Which Toothbrush do Our South Houston Dentists Recommend?

Our general dentists and pediatric dentists at Centra Dental recommend both types of toothbrushes. At the end of the day, it is up to the individual to decide which method they are most comfortable with, as both are highly effective. Pairing regular teeth cleanings (twice a year) with proper hygiene will help in achieving pristine oral health.