Electric vs Manual Toothbrushes

electric vs manual toothbrush

There are a myriad of toothbrushes available today, which helps the user pick the best one for them. However, toothbrushes fall into two main varieties, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. The two major choices in toothbrushes are electric toothbrushes vs manual toothbrushes, and which one is best for you depends greatly on your personal situation. We’ll go over the pros and cons of each to help you reach your decision.

Before we begin, we should note toothbrushes are classed as medical devices, and you should consult a dentist before adopting a new oral health routine. 

Pros and Cons

As with so many choices in life, the decision to use an electric vs manual toothbrush involves balancing the attributes each brings to the table. Let’s take a look at those here!

Electric Toothbrush Pros:

  • More effective at removing plaque, tartar, and other debris from teeth and gums
  • More features, including variable speed and strength, and built-in timers to help you brush long enough.
  • Easier for people with limited dexterity or mobility, including older people, disabled folks, or people dealing with arthritis or joint pain.
  • Easier and safer for gums–may cause less irritation.
  • Electric toothbrushes can be more fun for kids to use, which encourages good brushing habits.

Electric Toothbrush Cons:

  • Price–they are more expensive than their manual counterparts, sometimes by a lot.
  • Replacement brush heads can be inconvenient to find, as not all stores carry them and many stores may not carry your brand.
  • Plug-in versions can be inconvenient during international travel, as different countries use different plugs and voltages.
  • Not everyone likes the feeling of a vibrating electric toothbrush. Some folks find it unpleasant or off-putting.

Manual Toothbrush Pros:

  • Affordability–they’re far cheaper than electric toothbrushes, and there are manual toothbrushes in virtually every price range.
  • Accessibility–most stores around the world carry manual toothbrushes, so no matter where you are you can get a replacement.
  • Familiarity–most of us grew up brushing our teeth with manual toothbrushes and in theory, we know how to use them.

Manual Toothbrush Cons:

  • May be more difficult for folks with limited mobility or manual dexterity.
  • Can be more difficult for children to use or get accustomed to.
  • Manual toothbrushes may encourage brushing too hard, which can damage the gums and cause further problems.
  • May make it difficult to know if you’re brushing long enough; electric toothbrushes with built-in timers can help with this.

Talk to Your Dentist

While for many people the choice between an electric vs manual toothbrush comes down to personal preference, your unique oral health situation may benefit from one over the other. Your dentist can help you make this decision by taking your personal situation into account and making the right suggestions for you. Whichever you choose, a toothbrush is only good if you use it, so maintaining a regular brushing and flossing regimen needs to be a daily practice in your life.

The right tools and the right care can make sure your teeth last a lifetime, so make sure you choose the right toothbrush for you and use it regularly!