Should you get an electric or manual toothbrush?

Should you get an electric or manual toothbrush

Everyone’s good oral health starts with tooth brushings. According to some dental associations, both a manual and electric toothbrush is effective in removing oral plaque which is the main reason of tooth decay and dental problems.

Now, even though both types of toothbrushes are good in doing what they do, there are certain advantages to each one of them. Every toothbrush proven that it’s safe and reliable gets a Seal of Acceptance from the American Dental Association or ADA.

But let’s see why one type of toothbrush is better than the other and vice versa.

Why is the electric toothbrush better than the manual one?

Bristles on electric toothbrush either vibrate or rotate (or both at the same time) in order to remove plaque from your teeth and gums. When you move the toothbrush over your teeth, the vibration/rotation allows for micro-movements. The electric toothbrush is especially useful for
People that have limited mobility – since you don’t really have to scrub your teeth while brushing (you simply move the toothbrush over your teeth), having an electric toothbrush can be very useful to people that have reduce mobility due to arthritis, developmental disorder, carpel tunnel syndrome etc.

Now according to some study and research, electric toothbrushes are actually more effective in removing plaque from teeth and thus preventing dental problems like gum disease or gingivitis. The date suggests that electric toothbrushes removed 21% more plaque than manual ones, and reduced the risk of developing gingivitis by 11% after only three months. Furthermore, the research also suggests that vibrating toothbrushes do a much better job than rotating toothbrushes. But thanks to the development of technology, you can now find electric toothbrushes on the market that do both (rotate and vibrate).

Some electric toothbrushes are also called “smart” because they have a built-in timer that lets you know when you’ve brushed enough to remove the plaque form your teeth and gums. There are also brands and types that you can connect to your smartphone via application.

Furthermore, electric toothbrushes are also good for kids, especially if they just started brushing and their teeth and gums are not used to it. Bristles are gentle enough so that it won’t irritate their gums, but they are also effective in removing plaque.


Of course, electric toothbrushes aren’t perfect and without flaws. Here are some of the cons or drawbacks in case of electric toothbrushes

  • They cost more than manual toothbrushes and you also have to buy replacement heads for them and batteries (if it doesn’t have an internal one already)
  • Replacement heads can sometimes be difficult to find because not all brands and models are the same. One replacement head won’t fit onto another brush.
  • Even though some studies suggest that electric toothbrushes are more efficient in remove plaque than manual, but there’s still not enough evidence that would support and justify the extra expense.
  • Electric toothbrushes might not be a good option if you travel a lot. Who knows if the power outlet will fit the charging dock for the toothbrush?

Advantages of manual toothbrush

Manual brushes have been around way before electric toothbrushes and we’re pretty sure they are here to stay. They might not have all the fancy times, smartphone connectivity and other techy applications, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t good for cleaning your teeth and preserving your good oral health. But what makes manual toothbrushes better than electric?

Well, first of all, manual toothbrushes are more affordable and cheaper than electric. And you can buy them almost everyone e.g. pharmacy, gas station, convenience store, grocery store etc.

Also, they don’t require any form of electricity in order to works, which means you can use them wherever and whenever you can. Plus, they are more eco-friendly since they don’t use electricity.


According to some studies, people that use manual toothbrushes rather than electric ones, tend to brusher harder than they should. Because of this, they might cause damage to their gums which can then bleed and become too sensitive.

Also, with manual toothbrushes, you don’t have built-in times and you don’t know whether you’ve brushed enough and removed all the plaque from your teeth and gums. As an alternative, you can always use a kitchen timer to time yourself.

When should you replace it?

Dentists recommend that toothbrushes should be checked and (if necessary) replaced every three to four months. And if your toothbrush is frayed or you used it when you were ill, then you can replace it sooner.

As you can see, there are certain benefits and disadvantages to both types. We recommend that you try out each and see which one suits you better. Of course, good oral hygiene cannot be achieved only with regular brushing (twice a day). You also need to have your teeth checked and thoroughly cleaned at least twice a year. So make sure that you schedule a visit every six months.


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Dr. Nguyen
Dr. Nguyen

Dr. Nguyen is committed to providing high-quality dentistry using state-of-the-art equipment to help you achieve improved oral health and the beautiful smile you deserve.

Dr. Nguyen has served on the Virginia Board of Dentistry and has many achievements such as: Invisalign Premier and Teen Provider, Pre-Fellow with Academy of General Dentistry, Graduate of Aesthetic Continuum, Engel Institute for Dental Implant Training, WaveOne Endodontic Training, HD President’s Club.

Dr. Nguyen enjoys spending time with his wife and three daughters, staying active in the gym, and trying out new restaurants.  When he isn’t at work, you can find him playing basketball, tennis, football, or hiking.

“I want to make you feel right at home, exceed your expectations, and provide an amazing experience!”