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Should I Use a Manual or Electric Toothbrush When Cleaning My Teeth?

At The Gap Dental Practice, our patients often ask us about the best type of toothbrush for cleaning their teeth. In this guide, we’ll review the pros and cons of manual and electric toothbrushes, so you can decide which is best for you.



Manual Toothbrushes

The manual toothbrush has been a family staple for generations, with the first evidence of a tooth-brushing implement found as early as 3500 B.C. Although a manual toothbrush may not provide you with all the same technology as an electric toothbrush, it still offers a number of the benefits.


For a fraction of the price, many manual toothbrushes contain advanced technology in their bristles, handle designs and brush heads, such as cupped-bristles for whitening benefits, gum stimulators and tongue cleaner pads.


However, with manual brushes, you’re required to provide the cleaning action, moving the brush across your teeth and gums using the correct technique. As a result, this can prove to be more arduous than using an electronic toothbrush. But, as long as you’re using the correct brushing technique, this really isn’t an issue.


On the other hand, there are certain areas where using a manual toothbrush can provide a challenge when compared to an electric toothbrush. Many people do not brush for the full two minutes recommended, or spend more time cleaning one side of their mouth than the other, meaning they do not get the best possible clean.


As a result, using a manual toothbrush remains a great option, but you do need to be wary of using the correct technique, applying the right amount of pressure, and ensuring that you brush your teeth evenly.


Electric Toothbrushes

In these modern times, it’s no wonder that household objects such as toothbrushes have become equipped with advanced technology. From built-in timers to pressure sensors and speed settings, electric toothbrushes can make brushing your teeth simple. This is especially true for young children who are yet to learn the proper brushing technique and the elderly who may have lost some of their dexterity.


The provision of additional features when compared with a manual toothbrush often mean that you can get a superior clean. For example, some electric toothbrushes include pressure sensors to inform you of when you’re brushing too vigorously and causing damage to your gums or enamel, while some include timers to tell you when to move onto a different part of your mouth. Some premium options even include both features, among others.


Additionally, scientific studies have shown that electric toothbrushes can improve the cleanliness of your teeth, while also improving gum health. One study showed that using an electric toothbrush rather than a manual one led to:

  • A 21% reduction in plaque after 3 months of use

  • An 11% reduction in Gingivitis after 3 months of use

For some, the main negative associated with electric toothbrushes is the up-front cost and the price of replacement heads. However, cost-saving options are available, such as battery powered options rather than rechargeable ones.


Likewise, a short battery life and a need to charge is not ideal if you’re travelling and are unable to recharge it.


To conclude, a manual toothbrush does work very well when it is used correctly. However, an electric toothbrush works automatically. Although both toothbrushes work well for everyone, electric toothbrushes are especially useful for children who are learning to clean their teeth and elderly people who may have lost some dexterity. Plus, scientific studies show that electric toothbrushes may provide you with a superior clean.


If you’re looking for further advice on your oral hygiene routine, or would like to schedule a check-up with one of our specialists, then please contact our practice on 07 3300 1277.

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