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June 8, 2016

Electric vs. Manual Toothbrushes-- which is better?

by Dr. Adam Koplon

In our office we often get asked: “is an electric toothbrush better than a manual one?” This is an interesting question because at the end of the day, there are benefits to both types of toothbrushes, but the biggest factor comes down to using the proper brushing technique. Part of choosing the right toothbrush involves evaluating the differences between an electric toothbrush and a manual one that also make sense with your budget and lifestyle. Let’s learn more about different types of toothbrushes, what makes electric toothbrushes different than normal ones and why using an electric toothbrush often yields a better brushing experience.

Manual Toothbrushes
The standard toothbrush you have always used, these are tried and true. Controlled and maneuvered by your own wrist/hand strength and guidance, the general framework of the toothbrush has hardly changed in decades, even centuries. They are certainly sufficient and have stood the test of time, but really, the impact you make on your oral health is equal to what you put into it in terms of time and energy. As you can guess, you yourself dictate how many strokes per minute you complete using a standard toothbrush.

Electric & Sonic Toothbrushes

Electric toothbrushes are often recommended by dentists for a number of reasons. Compared to traditional toothbrushes, electric toothbrushes reduce dental plaque on average 21% more than regular ones, and decreases the chance for gingivitis by 11% (Cochrane). Because electric toothbrushes often have several modes for vibration, movement, circulation and all you really have to do is hold the toothbrush to your teeth with very little extra movement, many think they get a more detailed and deep cleaning experience. Because of the sheer speed of electric toothbrushes, its nearly impossible for us to mimic that speed and coverage using a manual toothbrush.

Electric toothbrushes are also great if you have dental implants, implant dentures or veneers/lumineers. Electric toothbrushes clean around the surface and your gums more effectively, warding off bacteria and plaque.

The difference between sonic and electric lies in the amount of strokes the specific brushes complete: sonic toothbrushes (state of the art) on average complete 30 to 40 thousand strokes per minute, while electric toothbrushes create about 3,000 to 7,500 brushing motions per minute. Sonic toothbrushes typically are the most technologically advanced but be forewarned, the price tag runs you $100+ versus a standard toothbrush that is usually $4 or so.

Our verdict and recommendation
Electric toothbrushes are better in that the amount of energy exerted can clean and reach areas that a conventional brush can’t. If you have sensitive gums, are elderly and have trouble properly brushing, or are looking to up your brushing game and oral hygiene, electric toothbrushes are definitely for you.

That said, standard toothbrushes or electric, the only results you will see are the ones that you impact yourself. If you aren’t brushing for at least 2 minutes 2 times a day, flossing regularly and using proper, ADA approved toothpaste, you won’t see results regardless. The electric toothbrush doesn’t replace tasks like flossing and brushing for at least 2 minutes— it only enhances.

Dr. Koplon and his team recommend using an electric toothbrush if your lifestyle permits, however, either option is OK for you to use so long as you are brushing properly! If you are interested in purchasing an electric toothbrush, Dr. Koplon and his team sell them in the office.

For more information about your teeth and brushing, call our office at 205-699-2551. We see patients from all over, including Leeds, Moody, Trussville, Chelsea, Pell City, Springville, Odenville, Sylacauga, Anniston, and beyond. Give us a call today! 205-699-2551.

Photo Credit MileA:iStock:Getty Images

About Adam Koplon, D.M.D.

Dr. Adam is a certified member of the American Dental Association (ADA), the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) and the American Institute of Implant Dentistry (AIID).
Read Dr. Koplon's Full Bio
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