Which one is more effective at removing plaque: a manual or an electric toothbrush?
You have probably heard this famous sentence that your mouth is a window to your overall health; therefore, any oral health problems can have an impact on your other parts of the body and put your health at risk. Taking care of your teeth and gums and keeping your mouth clean by maintaining good oral hygiene is definitely worth the investment.
We all know regular brushing and flossing are vital to remove plaque and increase your oral health. However, the question that many of our patients ask is, "Which one is more effective at removing plaque: a manual or an electric toothbrush?"
In this article, we have elaborated on the issue for our patients who care about their good oral health.
Electric Toothbrushes or Manual Toothbrushes
While the American Dental Association says electric and manual toothbrushes can both clean your teeth effectively, an electric brush has been reported to remove more plaque relative to manual brushes based on a review of studies.
One of the main concerns about a manual toothbrush is whether the person applies the correct brushing technique and whether they keep brushing their teeth for the recommended amount of time which is two minutes.
Using an electric toothbrush can make the job easy because there is not much you need to do to improve your oral health; the electric brush will do that for you. Among electric toothbrushes, oscillating-rotating toothbrushes seem to be better for plaque reduction.
Electric Toothbrush vs Manual Toothbrush Cons and Pros
What Is an Electric Toothbrush?
An electric toothbrush, also known as a powered toothbrush, is a toothbrush with bristles that vibrate or rotate to remove plaque from your tooth surfaces.
Read on to learn the advantages and disadvantages of using manual and electric toothbrushes.
Benefits of Electric Toothbrushes
Ease of use, especially for those with a limited mobility
-Electric toothbrushes are good options for people with limited dexterity, like those with arthritis, because the rotating brush head will do the cleaning.
Better plaque removal
-The power rotation of the electric toothbrush head help loosen plaque more efficiently with less effort.
Having a built-in timer
-Many electric toothbrushes provide you with a built-in timer that ensures you brush your teeth for two minutes to clean your mouth perfectly.
Having a pressure sensor
-Some people equal harsh brushing with proper brushing and apply too much pressure while brushing their teeth, which is a mistake and can hurt the teeth and gums in the long term. Pressure sensors in electric toothbrushes will warn you if you apply too much pressure while brushing your teeth. Brushing teeth too vigorously can do more harm than good, especially in people with sensitive teeth and gums; most electric toothbrushes have a pressure sensor to ensure your gum health and overall oral health.
Multiple brush head compatibility
-Electric toothbrushes come with a variety of brush heads so that you can choose your suitable type of bristle design.
Great for braces
-Not everyone enjoys their brushing sessions while having orthodontic appliances on and have difficulty cleaning those hard to reach areas. If you have braces and are having trouble cleaning your teeth with a manual brush, you may want to consider switching to electric toothbrushes and let these battery-powered toothbrushes take care of the job for you.
Some electric brushes feature the latest technology and come with Bluetooth connectivity.
Drawbacks of Electric Toothbrushes
- While using an electric toothbrush vs a manual brush head can be so beneficial to keep your teeth sparkly and make the brushing easier, it also has some drawbacks which you need to know.
- A rechargeable electric toothbrush will cost more than a manual toothbrush, and replacing the brush head may not be that easy.
- Electric toothbrushes are less eco-friendly compared to manual toothbrushes.
People who travel a lot, especially internationally, may not find plug-in electric toothbrushes convenient.
Manual Toothbrushes: Benefits
- Manual toothbrushes are easily accessible to anyone.
- Unlike a rechargeable electric toothbrush, you can use a manual toothbrush without the need for a battery or electricity.
- Manual toothbrushes are not as expensive as electric toothbrushes.
- Manual toothbrushes come with various head sizes and bristles softness and styles.
Manual Toothbrushes: Drawbacks
- With a manual toothbrush, you may not continue brushing long enough to remove plaque and prevent tooth decay and gum disease.
- You need to apply the correct technique when brushing your teeth with manual brushes;it may not be easy for some people.
Can You Clean Your Tongue with An Electric Toothbrush?
Yes, you can brush your tongue using electric brushes. If your toothbrush features a massage mode, you can use it and clean your tongue.
Can an Electric Toothbrush Cause Gum Recession?
What Is Gum Recession?
Gum recession occurs when your gums pull back or recede from your teeth surfaces, causing the roots to be exposed. Proper brushing is vital whether you use a manual or an electric toothbrush. If you are not gentle enough when you are brushing your teeth, then yes, you may hurt your gums.
Toothbrushes with hard bristles can cause damage to your gums and should be avoided.
How Often Should You Change Your Toothbrush?
Change the toothbrush every three months for proper teeth cleaning.
Replace the toothbrush head every three months of use.
Can Kids Use Electric Toothbrushes?
Plaque Reduction Efficacy of Electric Toothbrushes in A Paediatric Population (age 3 to 9)
Parents will usually face several challenges to establishing good oral hygiene habits in their kids.
Most kids do not have that strong sense of responsibility to stick to an oral care routine. Moreover, most children are less cooperative and patient than adults and lack the manual dexterity required to achieve proper dental hygiene. Parents will also face many hardships when they decide to get the job done themselves and brush their kids' teeth for them.
Insufficient knowledge about correct brushing technique, the child's unwillingness to collaborate with the parent, and having trouble moving a manual toothbrush in a child's mouth are all examples of the challenges a parent faces to keep their kids' teeth and gums plaque-free.
Electric toothbrushes have been reported to be of great help for parents and their children to overcome the above challenges and difficulties. To date, there is a limited body of research about the efficacy of an electric toothbrush at removing plaque in young children. However, according to clinical studies, an electric toothbrush for kids, especially an oscillating-rotating electric toothbrush, seems more effective at removing dental plaque than manual ones.
While electric brushes, especially those with oscillating heads, maybe better to clean your teeth properly, still, the best toothbrush to improve oral health is the one you or your children feel more comfortable using. If you cannot use an electric toothbrush, you can stick to your regular manual toothbrush and improve your dental health. What matters the most is how effectively you brush your teeth to remove more plaque, not the type of toothbrush.
Our paediatric dentists in Brisbane recommend brushing your teeth twice a day using fluoride toothpaste and a toothbrush with soft bristles.
Please call us today if you need professional consultation or dental treatments for you or your little ones.