Electric or Manual: A Dentist Weighs in on the Great Toothbrush Debate in Schaumburg, IL

Electric or Manual: A Dentist Weighs in on the Great Toothbrush Debate

January 6, 2016

Electric or Manual: A Dentist Weighs in on the Great Toothbrush Debate

As everyone learns in their first dental appointment as a young child, brushing is the #1 thing you can do to keep your teeth healthy at home. Brushing twice a day (or after meals) rids your teeth of bits of food that cause harmful bacteria to grow; removes acid that can coat your teeth and damage enamel; and even sheaths your teeth in strengthening fluoride.

In most cases, brushing is only as effective as your technique. Improper brushing technique and other bad habits can lead to gum irritation and periodontal disease while also failing to protect teeth from the dangers that abound in modern society. Spokespeople for electric toothbrushes like to claim that manual brushes leave too much room for error in brushing technique and that only

electric toothbrushes can provide the consistent cleaning power that is required to keep your pearly whites gleaming. Let’s see how they stack up:


Electric toothbrushes can cost up to three times as much as their manual counterparts—are they worth the price? Actually, since electric toothbrushes don’t need to be replaced as regularly, the cost difference is almost negligible. The only component you need to buy regularly is the bristle-head (and your toothpaste, of course), which typically costs the same as a standard dentist-recommended toothbrush.

Effective Cleaning

Conventional wisdom maintains that anything you can do with an electric toothbrush, you with a manual one. So what’s the point? For the average toothbrush user (read: everyone), electric toothbrushes don’t offer a huge tangible advantage. Some people like the feeling of vibrations; other prefer the response and control of a manual brush. Where they diverge is in special cases: kids and other people with poor or underdeveloped brushing habits; patients with arthritis or other mobility issues; and even those who are very busy. The truth is that an electric toothbrush can definitely get your teeth clean faster, so if that’s important to you, get one with a timer and you can reduce your brushing routine to as little as thirty seconds.

And The Winner Is…?

It’s hard to take sides in a debate like this. If you go out and buy an electric toothbrush—or even just read this article in the first place—it means you care about your oral hygiene more than 99% of people on the planet. That’s the most important step. And if you can afford it, an electric toothbrush won’t hurt, but it doesn’t solve any real problems in my professional opinion. Here’s some real advice: try flossing. Every day. It helps, we promise.professional

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