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Electric Toothbrush vs. Manual


Most of us know that the best way to retain great oral health and a fantastic smile is to brush our teeth in accordance with the guidelines set out by the American Dental Association. This recommends brushing our teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste for two minutes each time.


Why we need to brush our teeth is fairly simple. It’s to remove the bacteria and food debris that turns into plaque – a clear, sticky substance that sticks to our teeth. If plaque isn’t removed in a timely fashion, it enables tooth decay and gum disease to develop. There is no more effective way of removing plaque from our teeth than by brushing regularly. But with a choice between electric and manual toothbrushes, which one should you choose and which will be best for keeping your teeth and your oral health in tip-top condition.


Electric Toothbrushes


An electric toothbrush uses battery power to make the toothbrush vibrate at a rapid rate, causing the bristles to move against your teeth. There are various types of electric toothbrush including those that create back-and-forth motions or rotating oscillations. The most advanced types do both. The speed at which an electric toothbrush works also varies depending on the model that you choose.


Advantages of an Electric Toothbrush

  • Rapid cleaning that is proven to remove up to 100% more plaque than a manual toothbrush

  • Many have built-in timers to ensure that you clean for the recommended two minutes

  • The vibrations create more micro-movements that boost the removal of stubborn plaque and tartar

  • Electric toothbrushes are valuable to patients with limited mobility in their hands, such as those with carpal tunnel or arthritis

  • Most have a rechargeable battery with long battery life

  • Electric toothbrushes tend to be more fun for kids, encouraging them to spend more time caring for their teeth

  • Most are available with different brush heads, enabling you to choose the variety that most meets your needs

  • Less wastage since only the heads require replacement, not the entire toothbrush


Many people are put off of an electric toothbrush because of the initial investment involved. However, they are proven to give a more effective and efficiently clean, and over the course of the life of your electric toothbrush, experts agree that it represents an excellent investment in your oral health.  


Manual Toothbrushes


Manual toothbrushes have long been the only way to clean teeth and remain a very popular and effective method for removing plaque and bacteria and keeping decay and gum disease at bay. There are countless varieties available, some with different shaped and sized heads, and available with varying firmness of bristles. One of the biggest misconceptions is that firmer bristles are most effective for removing plaque, but this isn’t the case. In fact, firmer bristles can damage tooth enamel and gum tissue. Softer bristles are just as effective if the technique is right, and they won’t hurt your gums or teeth.


Manual toothbrushes are available cheaply virtually everywhere. However, it is recommended that you choose to change your toothbrush for a new one at least every 4-6 months to ensure that you are using one that is clean and in good condition.


If you opt for a manual toothbrush, choose one with a small, round head if possible. This style is more easily manipulated and maneuvered around your mouth. Use a timer to ensure that you brush for the recommended two minutes each time and be sure to rinse your brush thoroughly after you are done to remove any lingering bacteria.


Both electric and manual toothbrushes are very effective at keeping your teeth clean provided you use the right techniques. That said, studies have shown time and time again that electric toothbrushes do remove more plaque than manually operated varieties.


If you’d like more advice on choosing between an electric or manual toothbrush, our expert team would be happy to help. Contact our dental offices in Lake Charles, LA today to speak to us or to schedule an appointment.