Electric or manual toothbrush?
SUMMARY: Is the electric toothbrush better than the ordinary one? Find out the advantages of each.
Posted: November 12, 2013
The battle over bristles.
After a check-up, dentists often hand out manual toothbrushes, yet at the same time, they advertise pictures of electric brushes on the walls. So, which one is right for you? Some dental experts find that electric toothbrushes are more effective, but how do they compare to old school brushing? Here are some advantages of both types:
Pros of manual toothbrush
You can't deny that there are many benefits to the good old-fashioned toothbrush. After all, we've been using it for decades and it's got a solid track record.
The biggest selling point? It's cost-effective. For only a couple of bucks, regular toothbrushes can fight off dental plaque and clean your smile. You can find them on the shelves of grocery stores, pharmacies and you might keep an extra one at your significant other's house. If your dentist gives it to you, it's can't be bad for your gums and teeth. Frankly, battery-powered brushes can range in cost from $5 to $105, and those who just want a simple cleaning don't think they're worth it.
Unlike some bulky plug-in toothbrushes, manual brushes are thin and easy to take with you on the go. Dr. John Ictech-Cassis, a clinical associate professor at Boston University's Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine explained that you'll be less likely to skimp on your dental habits during vacation if you have a toothbrush you can easily travel with.
You don't have to wait for charging
The good thing about keeping things plain and simple is you never have to wait for a charge. A handful of people will use any excuse to bail on dental habits, and having an electric brush go dead on you strikes us as too easy. Manual toothbrushes never die, they just get worn out.
Easier control over pressure
"You can feel [how much pressure you're using] as you grasp the toothbrush," Ictech-Cassis told Everyday Health. "This helps you to avoid putting too much pressure on your teeth. With an electrical model you can't feel that as well."
Good for kids
For youngsters still learning how to properly clean their teeth, ordinary toothbrushes may be better. The bristles are gentle on teeth and gums, plus, you know exactly how much pressure you're applying. Vibrating or rotating bristles can irritate sensitive teeth, providing unnecessary discomfort.
Pros of electric toothbrush
However, in other cases, electronic brushes may be your best bet.
Better plaque removal that's clinically proven
According to study conducted by Peter Robinson of Sheffield University in England, mechanical brushing is more effective at eliminating dental plaque and gum disease. During the course of one to three months with 3,855 participants, the rotating brushes reduced plaque by 11 percent over manual toothbrushes and diminished signs of gingivitis, or gum inflammation, by 6 percent over regular brushing.
A key difference of the electric toothbrush is the self-timer, which can strongly impact the risk of cavities. On average, people brush for less than a minute, whereas mechanical brushes feature a built-in timer that goes off after two minutes, the recommended amount of time for brushing.
Good for seniors and those with minimal dexterity
For seniors who can't grip the handle as well because of arthritis or people with less dexterity, powered toothbrushes offer a good option for cleaning. With minimal effort, you can angle the brush in all areas of your mouth, reaching spots you might not have gotten to otherwise. According to the American Dental Association, people with limited ability who have difficulty moving their shoulders, arms, hands or fingers may be better off with the larger handle and the automatic power of an electric version.
Manual or electric, you should throw out your old toothbrush or swap heads after two to three months. At that point, the bristles become mangled and trap bacteria, which nobody has time for. Either way, both toothbrush models will clean your mouth and reduce the risk of gum disease and cavities!