The electric toothbrush has been around since the 1950’s, and the technology has developed greatly in the last few decades. In 2005, an extensive case review investigated the effectiveness of manual and electric toothbrushes. Since that time, we’ve seen an explosion of different electric toothbrushes reach the market. But still, the manual toothbrush stays on both store and medicine cabinet shelves. Is one really better than the other?
The Pros and Cons
The electric toothbrush does offer benefits over using a manual toothbrush. Essentially, the electric toothbrush provides a more thorough cleaning of your teeth and gums. It does so primarily because of two factors.
Longer duration and extent of cleaning — When using a manual toothbrush, people often cut short on the amount of recommended time (two minutes), which can average up to 300 lost strokes. With an electric toothbrush, it does the strokes for you (and more of them) with an oscillating brush head. Also, many electric toothbrushes come with a two-minute timer built in, so you can get the full duration without counting seconds while you brush. This leads to a strong reduction of plaque buildup as compared to results with a manual toothbrush.
Quality of cleaning — The best results come from an electric toothbrush using rotating oscillation. With rotating oscillation, the bristles spin in a circle, sometimes with additional actions. When plaque is broken up, the rotating action sweeps it away from the teeth and gums, so it doesn’t get lodged again in another location. This technique is very difficult to accomplish with a manual toothbrush, yet multiple studies show it to be the most effective.
There are other benefits that might come into play. If you are likely to apply too much force when brushing, some electric toothbrushes have a pressure sensor to warn you if you are pressing too hard. Some electric models not only have two-minute timers, but thirty-second alerts so you don’t keep brushing too long in the any one quadrant of your mouth. Many models come with other benefits that a manual toothbrush simply cannot offer, like different modes for sensitivity, tongue cleaning, teeth whitening, or sonic options.
However, with all these benefits, the electric toothbrush is much more expensive than a manual brush. It has more bulk than a manual one, is less convenient to pack, and will need periodic recharging, battery replacements or a handy wall socket.
Which Will You Choose?
The best brush is the one you will actually use regularly. The most important thing is to brush your teeth twice a day, every day. Brushing your teeth is the primary defense against tooth decay and gum disease. Any manual or electric toothbrush helps to accomplish that.
With all the models and options out there, you likely have questions as to what would be the best toothbrush for you. The dentists at the Yuba City Dentistry Group are happy to go over those options with you and make sure you are using just the right toothbrush, and technique, to maintain a healthy smile.