Electric or Manual Toothbrush? The Pros and Cons of Each

Brushing your teeth is the most basic, and possibly most essential, form of oral hygiene as it helps to remove any residual food and plaque. The plaque contains bacteria that attack tooth enamel. Without brushing, you become more susceptible to developing gum disease and cavities, so it is important to get into the habit of brushing twice daily for two minutes each time. That means you also need a toothbrush, but should you choose a manual or electric toothbrush? Which one provides the best care for your teeth? Both will get your teeth clean, and there are pros and cons to each.


Electric Toothbrushes


There are a variety of electric toothbrushes to choose from, each with different functions and features. At a minimum, an electric toothbrush makes some sort of automatic bristle motion to aid in cleaning teeth. They require battery power of some sort — either through being recharged or by changing out batteries as they die.


Pros of Electric Toothbrushes

Here are some of the advantages of electric toothbrushes:

  • When they are used correctly, they can increase the effectiveness of cleaning.
  • They work well for those with mobility impairments.
  • They can make brushing easier since less hand motion is required — the brush does the work for you.
  • Built-in timers let you know how long to brush. This is a big plus for children learning proper brushing techniques!
  • Some have smart functions that can provide the user with feedback on how well they are brushing (too soft, too hard, etc.).
  • They can be enticing to kids, which encourages better oral hygiene habits.
  • They provide more of a positive environmental impact since less waste is created by replacing the heads only, instead of the whole brush. 

Cons of Electric Toothbrushes

toothbrushesSome of the cons of electric toothbrushes include:

  • Higher cost — the cost of electricity to charge them and the cost of replacement heads
  • Must be charged, which can be inconvenient during travel
  • Require replacement heads
  • Bulkier than manual brushes

Manual Toothbrushes

While manual toothbrushes are less flashy and have fewer functions than their electronic counterparts, they are still an effective tool for cleaning your teeth and helping to prevent gum disease.


Pros of Manual Toothbrushes

Some of the advantages of manual toothbrushes are:

  • Low cost
  • Widely available and easy to find
  • Work without batteries
  • No inner electric components that could break

Cons of Manual Toothbrushes

Cons of manual toothbrushes include:

  • Lack of a timer
  • Possibly less effective, depending on how well a person brushes
  • Fewer features than electric toothbrushes

Some studies have found electric toothbrushes to be more effective than manual toothbrushes, but others have found manual to be just as effective, so the choice is ultimately up to the user’s preference. The most important takeaway is that brushing your teeth is the best way to help prevent tooth decay and gum disease. While electric toothbrushes have more functions and may be more effective in some cases, they aren’t a necessity over manual toothbrushes.


At Lans Family Dentistry, we can answer your questions about which toothbrush is right for you while we provide you with high-quality care. We are accepting new patients in the Ashburn, Virginia area. Contact us today to set up an appointment. We look forward to serving you and your family with all your dental needs!


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