Are Electric Toothbrushes Better?

Electric toothbrushes—you’ve seen commercials for them and walked past them in the aisle. You wonder, “Are they really worth the money?” When some models cost as much as $180, it’s best to do your research before upgrading.

Let’s find out more about manual vs. electric toothbrush traits:

Advantages of Manual Toothbrushes

  • Less expensive
  • No need to charge or replace batteries
  • Easier to travel with
  • Easier to replace

Advantages of Electric Toothbrushes

  • Generally equipped with toothbrush timers
  • Can be more comfortable for people who have arthritis or problems holding a toothbrush
  • Rotating and oscillating bristle heads can effectively reach and clean trouble spots

What Current Research Says About Manual Vs. Electric Toothbrushes

The American Dental Association says both kinds of toothbrushes are effective if you brush for two minutes twice a day. But, a Cochrane Oral Health Group review found that electric brushes have a slight edge. The study saw:

  • an 11% reduction in plaque after 1-3 months of use
  • a 21% reduction in plaque after 3 months of use
  • a 6% reduction in gingivitis after 1-3 months of use
  • and an 11% reduction in gingivitis after 3 months of use

The long-term oral health benefits of electric toothbrushes are still unclear, however, this information allows us to see that electric brushes do have a slight advantage over manual brushes.

Benefits Dependent on Usage

No matter which option you choose, a clean mouth is dependent on proper brush use. Some electric brushes move side-to-side, while others move in a circular motion. Some manual toothbrushes have larger heads and layered bristles. Regardless of style, you need to brush twice a day for two minutes to see any benefits.

You should also use a brush with soft bristles to prevent gum damage. Too much pressure from a toothbrush can wear enamel and cause tooth sensitivity. Brushing should include all surfaces—top of your mouth, sides, your tongue, cheeks. The ADA even recommends chewing while brushing.

Wondering which powered brush is best for your mouth? Use this guide from the ADA to check for electric brushes with the ADA Seal of Acceptance. These electric toothbrushes have to meet specific standards set by the ADA.

Still not convinced an electric toothbrush is right for you? That’s ok! You can use this guide from the ADA to check for manual brushes with the ADA Seal of Acceptance, too.

Talk to your dentist before making any changes. Ensure you’re choosing the best toothbrush for your smile, and keeping a clean toothbrush routine.

Owen Qin
Owen Qin


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