Manual Toothbrushes vs. Electric Toothbrushes

on November 20, 2013

This week we will tackle the question of manual toothbrush versus electric toothbrush. Next week we will address the differences between power toothbrushes, and the week after we will discuss soft bristles versus hard bristles.

Electric Toothbrushes: The Pros

One of the major pros of electric toothbrushes is that they make it easier to ensure proper brushing techniques. As electric toothbrushes generate more brush strokes than manual brushes, they are able to remove more plaque than manual toothbrushes. All electric toothbrushes offer an orthodontic specific brush head which cleans around braces better than manual brushes. Most, if not all, electric toothbrushes have timers built in that help you brush for the recommended two minutes. Some also have features that alert you if you are brushing too hard. These features are all designed to optimize a

patient’s brushing habits. In addition, larger brush handles are easier to use for people with medical conditions that limit manual dexterity.

Electric Toothbrushes: The Cons

One of the largest arguments people have against electric toothbrushes is the cost. They do cost more than manual toothbrushes, but for the better care they provide there is added value. Many times Oral-B or Sonicare will offer rebates on their toothbrushes to help bring the cost down. Traveling with electric toothbrushes is also more difficult as they are bulkier and harder to replace if forgotten. Some people report that electric toothbrushes create a tickling sensation that they don’t enjoy. This sensation is often temporary and is a sign that they weren’t previously brushing correctly. The more the electric toothbrush is used the healthier the teeth and gums become and this reduces the tickling sensation.


Manual Toothbrushes: The Pros

A manual toothbrush, when used properly will keep your teeth clean and stimulate your gums. With the wide variety of manual toothbrushes on the market, they are easy to find and inexpensive. They are easy to travel with and can be replaced quickly if forgotten. Also, manual toothbrushes are easier for teaching children how to brush their teeth.

Manual Toothbrushes: The Cons

With the wide variety of manual toothbrushes available, there is often confusion over which one to choose. Many people just use the toothbrush given to them by their dental professional at their biannual hygiene appointment and don’t change their toothbrush as often as they should. Other common problems with manual toothbrushes include not brushing long enough and applying too much pressure when brushing.


In the grand scheme of oral hygiene, using either a manual or an electric toothbrush is better than using no toothbrush at all. Any toothbrush, when used incorrectly can cause damage to enamel and gum tissue, by using an electric toothbrush it is more likely that correct brushing habits will be achieved. At our Evanston dental office we recommend electric toothbrushes for all of our patients. We keep abreast of the rebate offers available to our patients and make sure to get them the best value for their electric toothbrush purchase.

SDManageManual Toothbrushes vs. Electric Toothbrushes