Electric or Manual Toothbrush?

For the common oral care routine, toothbrushes are a basic necessity that assists us in maintaining our oral health. However, with so many styles and brands out there, choosing the right toothbrush besides one that gives a clean, fresh mouth can be a headache.

Traditional manual toothbrushes have been used for centuries and now, there is the existence of electric toothbrushes which claim to further improve oral hygiene.

So how is an electric/ power toothbrush better?

Scientists have found that people who use an electric toothbrush have healthier gums, less tooth decay and also keep their teeth for longer, compared with those who use a manual toothbrush. Further findings from the Journal of Clinical Periodontology found that electric toothbrushes resulted in 22% less gum recession and 18% less tooth decay over an 11-year period.

The Differences between Electric vs. Manual (sub-title)

For manual toothbrushes, you might be doing all the work, but electric toothbrushes do the cleaning for you. For that reason, many people find using power toothbrushes easier than using regular manual ones.

With that said, let us weigh out the pros and cons for the different toothbrushes to assist in your decision-making.

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Pros of the Electric Toothbrush

The world of electric toothbrushes can be complicated but they have been popular over recent years. The simplest reason is that electric toothbrushes (or “power” toothbrushes) provide superior plaque (a sticky film containing bacteria) removal and more effectively prevent gingivitis (gum inflammation) compared to regular manual toothbrushes. This helps keep tooth decay and gum disease at bay.

a) Less work and easy to use: For people with limited manual dexterity, that can be from age (young or old), disease or disability, electric toothbrushes may be easier to use than a manual toothbrush.

b) Fun for children: Electric toothbrushes can add some fun to some may consider a boring and irritable activity. Some options have a fun song or blinking lights for the timer that make it easier to get kids to brush their teeth.

c) Interesting technological features: The convenient features that some electric toothbrushes offer may enable you to improve your brushing habits. Some of these features can include:

· Oscillating/rotating technology;

· Timers to help you complete the two-minute recommended and optimum brushing duration;

· Pressure sensors to signal when and if you’re brushing too hard;

· Numerous brushing modes specialized for sensitive teeth, whitening benefits or gum-massaging action;

· Digital reminders to replace your brush head; etc.

d) More thorough tooth cleaning: The bristles on electric toothbrushes can sometimes be thinner and pointier, they can provide targeted cleaning that can aid someone with braces or dental restorations.

Cons of the Electric Toothbrush

With the common benefits, there might also be a few drawbacks for electric toothbrushes.

a) Higher in Cost: Electric toothbrushes may be consider a lavish expenditure and is still a larger investment than the manual version. Adding to that, it can be difficult to find replacement heads for the electric toothbrushes.

b) Requires charging: Most models require charging if the electric toothbrush isn’t battery-operated. However, you have to be cautious to not overcharge it. At the same time, to remember to put the toothbrush to charge can also be a difficult habit.

c) Higher Risk of Damage: The fragility of an electric toothbrush is as good as if it is not dropped on a hard surface as that can cause significant damage to the toothbrush or otherwise damage the battery. You would be spending more on replacements if that happens.

d) Bulky in size and not travel-friendly: Some models of electric toothbrushes generally have bigger handles and that makes them very heavy and not ideal if you want to minimise your carry-on space. There is also the issue of packing along additional batteries and chargers for emergency.

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Pros of the Manual Toothbrush

We are mostly equipped with a manual toothbrush most of the time, so here are some common pros that we can relate to.

a) Does not require charging or batteries: Unlike electric toothbrushes, manual brushes can be used immediately.

b) Easily Available and Affordable: It is conveniently available in any medical or sundry store. The excitement is you can choose the color, style, and type of bristles that work best for you.

c) Travel-Friendly/ easy to bring on-the-go: Its compact and slim design allows you to stuff it together with your toiletries.

d) Effective at removing plaque: Still able to thoroughly clean your teeth with proper technique.

Cons of Manual Toothbrushes

The cons of manual toothbrushes include the various features that can be found in electric toothbrushes and their cleaning ability in comparison to their electric counterpart. However, there are a few different reasons that sometimes a manual toothbrush may not be ideal for users.

a) Improper technique can lead to ineffective cleaning: While manual toothbrushes are still able to clean your teeth, however with the wrong technique, it may bring more harm than good. Some people tend to brush too hard with manual toothbrushes which can damage the teeth and gums. Some studies also show that they remove less plaque than electric toothbrushes.

b) Tooth-brushing time must be tracked: There is no built-in timer, and therefore the two-minute optimum brushing might or might not be achieved accordingly.

c) Problematic for people with limited mobility: As manual work is required to use the toothbrush, it might be difficult for those who have limited manual dexterity.

The Deciding Point: Which one should I be getting?

Finding the right toothbrush will help you further understand the benefits of maintaining your personal oral health. It is definitely possible to brush your teeth effectively with a manual toothbrush with the correct technique and you are not obligated to get an electric toothbrush to ensure great oral health.

However, it may help in certain situations and used as a great alternative especially if you have arthritis or other conditions that make it difficult to brush well.

Whether you choose to use an electric toothbrush or a manual toothbrush, it is more important to conduct daily brushing, flossing and practise good overall oral hygiene. 

For more dental advice and helpful tips about your oral health, you can schedule regular cleanings and dental checks with WhatsDoc on the app!


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