Ask a Dentist

Electric Toothbrush vs. Manual Brushing

Q: Is using an electric toothbrush more effective than manual brushing?

A: Electric toothbrushes have been shown to be slightly better at cleaning teeth than manual ones. Capable of providing thousands of strokes per minute in a variety of motions, they have been shown to reduce 21% of plaque and 11% of gingivitis after three months of consistent use compared to a manual toothbrush.

Either way, we recommend replacing your toothbrush or electric toothbrush head every three months.

Electric toothbrushes are easy to use, making them a good option for people with dexterity issues. Some of the newer models even come equipped with sensors that alert you if you’re applying too much pressure on your teeth (which can lead to gum recession and tooth sensitivity) and timers that ensure you brush for the full two minutes as recommended by dentists.

However, electric toothbrushes have their downsides. They are significantly more expensive than manual toothbrushes upon initial purchase, and replacing the heads can add to the overall cost. The rapid movements can also be painful for people with gum issues, sensitivity or loose teeth. They may also be annoying to travel with due to their bulk and necessary charging station.

Overall, the difference in efficacy is minimal. Whether it’s with an electric toothbrush or a manual one, brushing your teeth twice a day is what’s important. Our dentists recommend using the type of toothbrush that is the most comfortable and efficient for you. Follow a daily dental regimen and see your dentist regularly to maintain a beautiful smile.