Are Electric Toothbrushes Better Than My Old Fashioned Toothbrush?

Have you ever wondered if it’s worth it to buy an electric toothbrush? Is it actually better for your teeth and gums, or is it just a fancy gadget?

The overall purpose of using an electric or manual toothbrush is the same — to maintain oral health, and prevent tooth decay and gum disease. 

When it comes to protecting your teeth and gums, it’s important to understand your options and find out what’s best for you.

Electric powered toothbrushes have increased in popularity, leading to nearly half of the US population owning one. Thanks to this surge in electric toothbrush users, they’re also becoming more accessible and affordable. 

Electric and manual toothbrushes each have their own pros and cons. If you’re considering purchasing an electric toothbrush or if you’ve already got one and are curious about the benefits, we’ve gathered all the information you need to know about the advantages of electric vs. manual toothbrushes.

Electric Toothbrush vs. Manual

The difference between an electric and a manual toothbrush is that electric toothbrushes do the moving for you. Your teeth are cleaned through the vibration and rotating movements of the bristles.

The bristles on electric toothbrushes are generally smaller than those of manual toothbrushes. This allows them to reach more areas of your mouth and clean one tooth at a time, similar to how your dentist cleans your teeth.

While both types of toothbrushes are helpful, studies show that electric toothbrushes are more effective at removing plaque and gingivitis than manual toothbrushes.

Types of Electric Toothbrushes

There are two main types of electric powered toothbrushes — rechargeable and battery-powered. Some toothbrushes are re-chargeable through a USB or by plugging the device directly into the wall, while others require a change of batteries. 

Other than the method for re-charging, the differences between each brand comes down to your own preferences and comfort. Electric toothbrushes have different brushing methods, such as vibration, oscillation, rotation, or ultrasonic motions.

Dentists weigh in on the top brands, but the most important thing to check when searching for your electric toothbrush is the Seal of Acceptance from the American Dental Association. This verifies that the toothbrush is effective and safe for use.

Electric Toothbrush Benefits

Dr. Nigel Carter OBE, Chief Executive of the Oral Health Foundation, believes the result of an 11 year study proves that electric toothbrushes are more effective.

Here are several more advantages of electric toothbrushes:

They’re Easier to Brush With

Because of the rotation of the toothbrush bristles on an electric toothbrush, it can clean your teeth easier and make you less likely to brush too hard. 

The automatic movements make brushing easier for those with limited mobility, too. Like those with arthritis or carpal tunnel issues, or anyone with orthodontic appliances. 

They Can Improve Overall Oral Health

In a long-term study, electric powered toothbrushes resulted in improved overall oral health, including reduced disease and tooth loss. 

They Have Built-in Timers

Some electric toothbrushes have built-in timers, which is a great reminder to brush for the entire 2 minutes recommended by the American Dental Association.

They’re Great for Children

Electric toothbrushes are a great option for children since they’re easy to use and can help them brush effectively. The timer can be helpful in making sure they’re brushing long enough, and it might even be fun for them.

It’s Better for the Environment

Apart from the health benefits and convenience, electric toothbrushes can reduce waste. You can replace the head of the brush on many models instead of the whole device. 

The Cons of Electric Toothbrushes 

Electric toothbrushes are substantially more expensive than manual toothbrushes, and can cost up to $200 or more depending on the brand.

But with increased demand, you can find a wide range of prices as low as $11. While this drug-store priced electric toothbrush may not be the fanciest, you can still see the benefits in comparison to a manual toothbrush. 

Some electric toothbrushes also require batteries, which may be less eco-friendly. And since electric toothbrushes need to be re-charged, they could be harder to travel with than manual toothbrushes.

Electric Toothbrush Memberships

Electric toothbrush companies have memberships and subscriptions, similar to auto-renewal services you use frequently. These companies have risen in popularity, making it even more convenient to use an electric toothbrush and make sure it’s always in great condition.

Quip and Brüush send electric toothbrushes and replacement heads at the frequency of your choice, often with free shipping. The toothbrushes from these companies are also smaller than traditional electric toothbrushes, and with an extra-long battery life of 3 to 4 months.

Are Electric Toothbrushes Worth It?

Taking care of your oral health is important to prevent tooth decay and gum disease.   Whether you choose a manual or electric toothbrush, remember to brush your teeth in the morning and at night for the appropriate time to maintain a healthy smile.

Both types of toothbrushes need to be replaced regularly and treated with care to assure you’re receiving the maximum benefits while brushing your teeth.

It’s always a good idea to speak with your dentist to find out if an electric toothbrush could be the right option for you and your family. You can ask for toothbrush recommendations according to your needs. 

Whether you use an old-fashioned manual toothbrush or a modern electric toothbrush, it’s important to be aware of how to take care of your toothbrush to stay healthy.

Learn more about how to take care of your toothbrush >