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Manual vs. Electric Toothbrushes: Which is Better?

When it comes to what type of toothbrush you should use, dentists often fall into two different camps.  One says, “Electric toothbrushes are definitely better at cleaning teeth.”  The other says, “We don’t care what kind of toothbrush you use.  Just use one!”  While that may sound a little funny, it actually makes an important point.  The truth is that you should be able to achieve the same results with both a manual and an electric toothbrush.  That is, if you are a perfect brusher.  Are you?

Electric is Better!

Since we know that no one is a perfect brusher, reaching every possible tooth surface at the correct angle with the correct brush stroke, we can confidently make the arElectric and manual toothbrushgument that electric toothbrushes are, in fact, better than manual toothbrushes.  An electric toothbrush uses technology that compensates for what most people miss in their techniques with manual toothbrushes.

Multiple scientific research studies show that electric toothbrushes consistently remove more dental plaque from the teeth than manual toothbrushes do.  The whole point of brushing your teeth is remove plaque because it contains the dangerous bacteria that cause both cavities and gum disease.  So anything that improves your ability to remove plaque is worth the investment.  An investment in an electric toothbrush could save you money on dental treatment in the future!

Electric toothbrushes simply have fewer requirements of the user to ensure good plaque removal.  Because the electric brush provides the bristle motion, your job is simply to make sure the bristles touch all of the exposed teeth surfaces.

Which Electric Toothbrush is Better?

Now this is a much tougher question to answer.  There are countless models of electric toothbrushes available on the market today.  We don’t even know all the different electric toothbrushes made these days, much less which one is more effective at plaque removal.  We can say that trusted brands like Oral B and Phillips Sonicare make consistently high-quality electric toothbrushes.  If you’re looking for the best, we suggest you start there.

However, if you’re not sure about this yet and aren’t comfortable starting with a $100 toothbrush, start small.  There are many less expensive options to help you ease the transition from manual to electric brush.  The brand quip makes a very compact, travel-friendly electric toothbrush, which are available online.  Mainstream oral hygiene brands also have electric toothbrush options at a lower price point.

Who Needs to Use an Electric Toothbrush?

Child with electric toothbrushElectric toothbrushes can improve anyone’s oral hygiene game.  However, there are certain people who will benefit the most from electric toothbrushes.  Remember how we said it’s actually the technique of brushing that is most important, and that electric toothbrushes automatically provide a higher level of technique?

That means that electric toothbrushes are especially beneficial for those who struggle with the physical motions of brushing the teeth.  This includes:

  • Children who haven’t yet developed the hand skills necessary for good brushing technique
  • People with special needs, both physical and mental
  • Those who suffer from arthritis in their hands, making small detailed movements difficult or impossible
  • Patients with Parkinson’s disease or other disorders that affect their motor skills
  • Elderly people with impaired hand skills

Other Advantage of Electric ToothbrushesBrushing Teeth with Electric Toothbrush

In addition to better plaque removal, which lowers your risk for both cavities and gum disease, electric toothbrushes have the advantage of producing better stain removal.  For those of us to love our two cups of coffee in the morning (and maybe another one after lunch . . .), that almost puts electric toothbrushes into the cosmetic dentistry category.

By producing a better polishing away of surface stains, using an electric toothbrush will actually make your teeth look whiter!

More Questions about Electric Toothbrushes?

Call today to schedule a consultation with one of our dentists, who can answer any other questions you have about which type of toothbrush you and your loved ones should use.

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