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Which Toothbrush Is Best- Electric Or Manual?

Which Toothbrush Is Best- Electric Or Manual?

Regular and correct brushing is one of the most important ways to maintain the health of your teeth and gums. The American Dental Association recommends flossing once and brushing twice every day. While the toothpaste, mouthwash, and floss used will affect cleaning, the type of toothbrush and the way you brush are the most important part. A common question is which type of toothbrush is best- electric or manual?

Effectiveness of manual vs. electric toothbrushes

Once you switch it on, an electric toothbrush works by rotating, oscillating, or vibrating, whereas a manual toothbrush is dependent entirely on your movement. Since it’s not possible for your hand to match the movements of even a slow electric toothbrush, many people thing the electric toothbrush will remove plaque more effectively. The truth is, both the ADA and American Dental Hygienists Association say both can effectively clean your teeth and gums, if used properly.

Benefits of each

Since both types of toothbrushes are effective, the choice really comes down to personal preference. Most electric toothbrushes will have additional features, like timers and pressure sensors to help you use the right pressure and brush for the correct amount of time. Electric toothbrushes are also beneficial to people who experience arm and shoulder conditions like arthritis, which make the use of a manual toothbrush more difficult.

One obvious benefit of a manual toothbrush is its low cost- electric toothbrushes can sell for well over $100, and the replacement heads aren’t cheap either. You’ll also find there are many more different designs of manual toothbrushes, varying in length and bristle type. Some even have flexible handles to make it easier to use in those harder to reach areas of the mouth.


Just because you use an electric toothbrush doesn’t mean your teeth and gums will be healthy. How often you brush, and brushing the right way to get rid of plaque from your teeth is important. If you have a tendency to brush too hard, an electric toothbrush can damage your gums, or eventually cause the tooth enamel to wear down.

The biggest risk to using a manual toothbrush comes in not brushing long enough. Manual brushing can become tiresome and lead to shortened brushing time. A solution to this is to use a kitchen or egg timer set to the recommended two to three minutes.

Generally the biggest risk you face when using a manual toothbrush is not brushing long enough, as many people rush, and this can lead to a shorter brushing time. One solution is to use a timer to keep you brushing for the recommended 2-3 minutes each time.

Regardless of whether you choose a manual or electric toothbrush, the ADA recommends selecting one with the ADA Seal, as they have tested these products for safety and reliability.

Photos by Hans and Jonas

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