Maintaining good oral hygiene is crucial for overall health, and it all begins with selecting the appropriate toothbrush. The choice between manual and electric toothbrushes is a key factor in achieving gleaming, sanitized, and strong teeth. Evaluating the advantages and disadvantages of both types will help you make an informed decision that suits your needs and household.

The Importance of Brushing Teeth

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Maintaining good dental hygiene is crucial for overall health. Unfortunately, a significant number of individuals fail to recognize this, resulting in up to 25% of adults not brushing their teeth twice daily and one-third of Americans neglecting to floss. Insufficient dental care and hygiene significantly increase the risk of the following conditions:

  • Periodontal Disease
  • Gum Disease
  • Heart Disease
  • Cognition Issues, i.e., Alzheimer’s
  • Diabetes

Determining the correct brushing procedure and identifying the most suitable brush for your needs will contribute to your overall well-being.

The Importance of Brushing Teeth

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Proper and adequate teeth cleaning involves several factors beyond simple brushing. Here are some of those factors:

1. Use a soft-bristled brush.

Without a soft-bristled brush, you are at risk of receding gums and possibly damaging the enamel and surrounding tissue.

2. Brush your teeth at a 45-degree angle.

This ensures that the gum line is being cleaned effectively, and if not, you are at risk of infection or gum disease.

3. Brush your teeth for a full 2 minutes.

It is important to brush your teeth for two minutes in order to properly clean every area and take care of your teeth.

4. Brush your teeth twice daily.

Regularly brushing your teeth twice a day prevents the accumulation of tartar due to plaque. If plaque is promptly addressed, it can be eliminated by brushing and flossing. However, once plaque hardens, the sole solution is professional teeth cleaning to scrape it off.

5. Brush gently.

Brushing too aggressively or with excessive force can result in receding gums that become damaged.

6. Replace your toothbrush every 3 months.

Electric toothbrush users should replace the brush head every three months, while manual toothbrush users should replace the entire brush every three months.

7. Don’t just brush.

Maintaining oral health requires more than just brushing your teeth. In addition to regular brushing, it is crucial to incorporate flossing into your routine, as it reaches areas that brushing alone cannot. Furthermore, using mouthwash is essential for ensuring the cleanliness of the entire mouth.

8. Choose the right toothpaste.

Most toothpaste brands available in stores are effective, but it’s important to choose fluoride toothpaste as it aids in fortifying tooth enamel.

Electric Toothbrush vs. Manual Toothbrush

Properly performing tooth brushing is crucial for its effectiveness. Familiarity with recommended techniques aids in preventing undesirable dental problems. When this information is coupled with selecting the appropriate toothbrush, it can prevent a lifetime of health complications.

Electric Toothbrush Pros

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Gentle and user-friendlyBecause the bristles on an electric toothbrush move on their own, there is no reason for the user to push too hard and risk damage to the enamel or gums. They do more of the work than a manual toothbrush which helps the user get a more effective clean.
Oscillating and vibrating headOscillating (rotating) brush heads and vibrating ones help remove plaque and prevent periodontal disease. These micro-movements from rotating and vibrating give your teeth a better clean, which helps in removing stains and giving you a whiter and brighter smile.
Plaque and gingivitisA study in 2015 showed that electric toothbrushes remove 21% more plaque than manual brushes and help reduce the risk of gingivitis by 11%. While both appliances remove plaque and help with gingivitis, electric brushes remove more due to their sonic technology.
Built-in timerIt is essential to brush your teeth for 2 minutes each time you go to brush. An electric brush has a built-in timer to turn off when the 2 minutes are up. This way, you don’t have to set a timer on your phone or keep track by staring at a clock.
Clean more surface areaMost electric toothbrushes come with a very small head. Because it is so small, it is better for reaching the back molars and cleaning around orthodontic fixtures.
Less wasteIf you use an electric toothbrush with a charging port, you will seldom need to get a new brush handle. You will need to switch out the heads every three months, but you won’t have to throw everything away like a manual.
Excellent user experiencePeople are often more focused when using an electric toothbrush, and the experience is understood to be more enjoyable. This is because of the little work that goes into using an electric toothbrush. Kids also find it rather fun to use these brushes.
Best for those with disabilities or handicapsPeople with arthritis, carpal tunnel, developmental disabilities, or other movement conditions should always use an electric toothbrush. They are more user-friendly and accessible for those who cannot use a lot of hand or arm motions which makes them the better choice.
Suitable for those with bracesBecause of the oscillating movement and small brush head, the electric toothbrush is terrific for those who have braces or other orthodontic appliances to get a better clean.

Electric Toothbrush Cons

PriceyThe entire brush can range from $15 to $250 dollars, and replacement heads can range from $10 to $45 dollars depending on the type and the amount in a pack. Single-use electric toothbrushes can be anywhere from $5 to $8 dollars.
Requires more equipmentYou will need to ensure you have extra batteries or a charging port in your bathroom to keep the toothbrush running. If you are going to be traveling a lot, you will need to consistently pack the charger, heads, brush handle, and batteries if necessary.
Vibrating baseBecause an electric toothbrush rotates and vibrates, some people may find the base vibrating off-putting since they need to hold it in their hand for so long.

Manual Toothbrush Pros

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Affordable and convenientManual brushes can be found anywhere for purchase or are given to you by your dentist at your 6-month checkups. They also usually cost no more than $1-3 dollars, which is less expensive than an electric brush.
Takes up minimal spaceA manual toothbrush can fit into a drawer or toothbrush holder with ease which means it can be out of your way as much as need be. Without a charging port or extra batteries, your manual toothbrush is less invasive in your space.
There are lots of optionsThere are many manual brushes to choose from: colors, sizes, cheap, pricey, etc. Just like the Nuduko Bamboo Toothbrush pictured above.

It is crucial to find one that fits your mouth perfectly.

Just make sure you select only soft-bristled brushes. Never choose medium or hard bristles.

Manual Toothbrush Cons

Requires more effortBecause there is no built-in movement, you have to put more effort when brushing to get those circular and back-and-forth movements you automatically get from an electric toothbrush.
Difficult to maintain proper pressureWhen using a manual toothbrush, it is difficult to tell how hard to press, and it often results in causing issues to the teeth and gums. 
No built-in timerYou will need to track how long you are brushing your teeth to hit the 2-minute mark. You can do this by using your phone alarm or staring at the clock because a manual toothbrush will not be able to tell you when it’s time to stop.
More difficult to reach tougher areas Unlike an electric toothbrush, the head of a manual is much bigger, which makes it more difficult to reach the back areas of the teeth like the molars. The larger head and lack of internal movement make getting a deeper clean on orthodontic fixtures like braces challenging.
Requires you to remember how to brushIf you are not brushing at a 45-degree angle, brushing gently, or using a soft-bristled brush, you won’t receive the proper clean. An electric toothbrush eliminates the need to think about these things, but a manual does not. To get the best clean, you will need to be conscious of these aspects of brushing.

It is essential to brush your teeth twice a day and floss once, regardless of the option of toothbrush you choose. This habit will have a direct impact on your oral and overall health.