Brushing your teeth twice daily is one of the most robust and least argued recommended personal care routines on earth, but that’s just about the only thing about dental hygiene that isn’t separated into camps of favorites. One of the biggest of these is the debate between manual and electric toothbrushes which can often get quite heated, with many people having a firm preference between the two. The American Dental Association doesn’t lean towards a specific type and instead lends its seal of approval to any effective toothbrush, be it manual or electric. Let’s have a quick look at the two different types and see if there is any clear better option.
Electric toothbrushes are objectively better at removing plaque according to a number of different studies. The actual percentage of improvement varies somewhere between 10 and 20 percent depending on the study, but any improvement is a point for camp electric. They’re also great for those people with limited mobility, like those suffering from severe carpal tunnel syndrome or arthritis, where not having to vigorously brush would hold the benefit. Some models have a vibration or audible timer which sounds after the recommended brushing time has passed, meaning you’re likely spending the correct amount of time brushing your teeth – potentially more accurately than if you’re using a manual brush. They’re also purported to cause less waste as you use them for longer and the replacement part is smaller which means less plastic into the environment, and they might encourage your kids to get brushing more often because they can be more fun.
They are, however, far more expensive to buy and own than their manual counterparts and if the manufacturer discontinues your model, you might begin to find it more difficult to find new heads for your model.
On the other side of the fence, manual toothbrushes offer their own set of advantages. They’re cheap and you can buy them almost anywhere – from your local supermarket or pharmacy to the local gas station. They cost a few bucks and you’re spoilt for choice on design, type, bristle hardness, and many other design choices. With advances in manufacturing by companies like Team Technologies and their moulding and bristling services, toothbrushes are affordable and effective no matter the cost.
Considering the negatives, inversely of the electric, studies found people using manual toothbrushes often didn’t brush long enough without the prompt offered by the electric toothbrush. It was also found that people may be brushing too vigorously, causing some damage to gums.
Is There a Better Option?
In general, most dentists don’t offer a firm answer to this, concluding that provided you’re brushing your teeth often enough and correctly, it doesn’t matter what type of toothbrush you’re using, and it comes down to personal choice.
If you can afford the cost of electric toothbrush ownership, you might benefit from the many positives, but the same result can be achieved from a manual toothbrush. Using the correct toothbrush is often more important than whether it is electric or manual.