Electric or manual Toothbrush? Which is better?

The effectiveness of cleaning your teeth with a manual toothbrush compared to an electric toothbrush is a common question that we get at iDental. There’s an assumption that the modern day electric replacement is far superior to the good old-fashioned manual toothbrush. But the reality is that there are benefits to both styles of brushing.

It is essential to brush your teeth – and whether you are using a manual toothbrush or an electric option, the important factor is completing a thorough, two minute brush at least once every day. So whatever brush you choose to use, is not as important as the quality of the brushing itself. Here are some tips!

  1. Manual tooth brushes will thoroughly clean your tongue and inside your cheeks when you are doing your two minute routine brush. However you need to actually spend 2 minutes doing it. Time yourself. You will be surprised at how long you actually take. On average, most people only take 30 seconds, which is not enough time to get the job done well. Most manual brushes have a rubber pad on the back of the toothbrush head which helps to brush the cheeks and tongue. Electric toothbrushes do not do so well in cleaning the tongue and cheeks because the head of the brush is too small – although as you read through, you will see that being small has it’s advantages too.
  2. Manual toothbrushes can be more flexible. Unlike electric toothbrushes with tightly compacted bristles, manual toothbrushes are so easy to manoeuvre around your mouth. Their flexible bristles can bend back far enough to reach the back of the back teeth, where food, plaque (bacteria clumps) are often hiding. Electric toothbrushes win this though, as their small rotating head can reach these areas even better and it doesn’t take a lot of effort from you, as the brush does all the rotation and motion for you. You just need to aim.
  3. Manual toothbrushes are easier to travel with, especially if you are going overseas where power outlets might be different.
  4. Most electric toothbrushes include an automated timer in their design, which makes it easier for users to know when their two minutes is complete. This ensures a proper clean is achieved to maintain hygiene.
  5. You get what you pay for. Oral B electric toothbrushes that are the model 500 and above supersede the supermarket ones that don’t offer the same benefits. The supermarket ones are built cheaply, and don’t have all the timers, brush options and sonic vibrations that the higher end models have.
  6. An electric toothbrush is very ideal for people who suffer from arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome and any other movement-restricting conditions. Since the electric toothbrush’s rotating head does all the work, the user doesn’t have to try and do all the movements that a manual toothbrush requires. So this can be a real advantage, and provide a better clean

So what do I use? Both! I usually use my electric toothbrush every night, but in the morning and at lunchtime, I use a manual tooth brush. I do this to achieve the best possible clean at night time. At night, our saliva flow is really low so any plaque or food stuck around our teeth has a really big impact. Whereas during the day, as we speak, eat and breathe more rapidly, our saliva rate is higher and the levels of plaque change. So the impact of food stuck are less. This does not mean I don’t care about cleaning during the day. It just means that when I am awake, the level of cleaning can be less intense than that of a night time.

Happy brushing. Leave me your comments.

Thanks for reading!

Written by Giulia D’Anna

BDSc (Melb), MRACDS, Honorary FIADFE (NY), Graduate Diploma Dermal Therapies (AACDS), Cert. Practice Man (UNE), Editor APJ (APAN) + | + 3 Belmore Road, Balwyn North, Victoria, Australia 3104 + | + Founder of iDental and Dermal Distinction

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