Is a manual or electric toothbrush better?

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As dentists this is one of the top questions we get asked on a regular basis, so we thought it might be useful to dedicate a post to our readers so you can make a better decision yourself.

In short as dental professionals we generally advise people that electric toothbrushes are better than manual but one of the most important things to remember is not what you use but:

How you clean your teeth and

How often you clean your teeth

Suffice to say, that cleaning your teeth ‘properly’ at least twice a day with a manual toothbrush won’t necessarily put you at a great disadvantage from those who use electric toothbrushes.


Reasons why using an electric toothbrush may be preferred

1) Electric toothbrushes are generally very good at removing plaque because of the speed they work at and the oscillating mechanism associated with their movement. Some studies have shown that plaque can go down by as much as a fifth after 3 months use and gum disease risk can drop by as much as 10%.


2) Electric toothbrushes may be better for older people or those who struggle with mobility issues. Generally electric toothbrushes ‘do the work for you’ and there is little if any force that needs to be applied to brushing.


3) Modern electric toothbrushes have timer facilities. One of the problems we notice as dentist through talking to people is that they tend to either over or under estimate the time they are cleaning their teeth. This can mean that the teeth are not cleaned enough or over-cleaning can lead to enamel wearing more quickly. With timers on electric toothbrushes both of these scenarios are avoided.


4) Brushing technique can be improved with electric toothbrushes. Some research has shown that people tend to take more of an interest in cleaning their teeth when an electric toothbrush is used.



Reasons why using an manual toothbrush may be preferred

1) Manual toothbrushes are highly accessible and can be picked up almost anywhere. That said so can electric toothbrushes these days.


2) Manual toothbrushes do not need to be charged and so can be used anywhere, anytime. There is nothing worse than having the power run out in your electric toothbrush especially if you have forgotten the charger.


3) Manual toothbrushes are very affordable and can be purchased for a low cost. Electric toothbrushes tend to be more expensive. Those that offer many functions tend to be the dearest.


Whether you prefer to use a manual or electric toothbrush please remember to change your toothbrush regularly to ensure it stays fresh and is fit for the purpose of effectively cleaning your teeth. As dentists we recommend that this is once every three months. For manual brushes you will need to purchase a new one, whereas electric ones need a change of brush head which can be picked up many stores or online merchants.


If you are thinking of becoming a patient, why not check out our membership plan to make the cost of dental care more affordable.

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