Conventional vs. Electric Toothbrushes
Having healthy teeth and gums mostly depends on your personal oral hygiene. Your personal hygiene depends on regular and correct brushing. That is why picking up the best toothbrush is important for keeping your teeth and gums healthy. To achieve this result, the U.S. American Dental Association (ADA) strongly recommends daily brushing and flossing, at least, twice. Surely, the toothpaste, floss, and rinses make a huge impact on thorough teeth cleaning. But, without a good soft toothbrush and the correct brushing methods, these factors can’t protect and clean your teeth completely.
When choosing a toothbrush in a store, you will have two options – electric or manual toothbrush. Both types of toothbrushes are aimed at fulfilling such functions:
- Remove dental plaque;
- Clean food debris;
- Get rid of tooth stains;
- Massage and stimulate the gingival tissues to reduce the risk of inflammation.
The following expert tips and comparison can help you understand the differences between these two choices.
Electric vs. Manual Toothbrush: pros and cons
According to Healthline, most of Americans associate the word “toothbrush” with the manual brush that was invented in the late 1930s (the design that we know). The original concept of a manual toothbrush mainly has not been changed since those times. Certainly, some upgrades and updates have been added, but still, a manual toothbrush remains pretty much the same that we had during our childhood years. However, in the mid-1990s a new electronic or battery operated toothbrush design came to be a popular alternative to conventional brushes. There are disputes about what is the better design of toothbrush – electric or manual. To solve this debate once and for all, the WebMD experts compared these two popular designs of toothbrushes.
Being available in many sizes and shapes (including double- or triple-headed designs), manual toothbrushes are usually made of plastic handles with nylon bristles. For a more convenient use, most manual toothbrushes have different handles of straight, curved, angled shapes with rubber or contoured grips. There are different brush head sizes – for little kids and adults – and various brush head shapes, like oval, round, oblong, or rectangular.
Manual toothbrush: pros
- You can choose your brushing technique. The recommended method requires cleaning the teeth, at least, for 2 minutes;
- Many toothbrush styles, designs, bristles, and colors. You can easily find a manual soft bristle toothbrush of pink or black color in any convenience store;
- Special designs for children;
- Easy to travel with – you just need a toothbrush case;
- No need to worry about charging outlets or batteries;
- This is not an expensive toothbrush type, and you can even get one for free when visiting a dentist.
Manual toothbrush: cons
- You need to make an effort to brush your teeth;
- No timing options – use a watch or guess how long the brushing session lasts.
A toothbrush that makes quick, automatic motions with the back-and-forth or rotation oscillation (clockwise or counterclockwise rotation) to clean teeth can be classified as an electric brush. The motions of electric toothbrushes are powered by a motor charged from an outlet or batteries. If you choose ultrasonic automatic toothbrushes, their motions are produced the specific piezoelectric crystals. The most common design nowadays is a rechargeable toothbrush with a battery that can be charged through inductive charging between the uses.
Electric toothbrush: pros
- The simplicity of use. You just need to place an electric brush at a 45o angle and let it do its “magic”. That is why many parents choose an electric toothbrush for kids who have never used a brush for teeth;
- Minimum effort for the great results. Some recent studies claims that electric brushes can do a better job of cleaning the mouth and preventing gingivitis;
- There is a built-in timer that can stop the brush’ work after two minutes, so forget about guessing.
Electric toothbrush: cons
- Regular charging or replacing the batteries;
- Price. Automatic brushes will cost you more than manual ones;
- Not very convenient for traveling because they are quite bulky and you also need to pack a charger (that may not be “friendly” with the hotel room’s outlets);
- It is easy to break. Especially, when used by a little kid. A simple dropping can break the brush’s motor.
Is an automatic toothbrush better than a manual toothbrush?
If you read any electronic toothbrush reviews, the main advantage that is most frequently mentioned by unbiased users is its simplicity of use. Especially, modern electric toothbrushes can be useful for kids because children don’t even need to remember a special brushing technique. It is enough to move an electric toothbrush from one side to another inside the mouth and over the teeth.
However, it is possible to use a manual toothbrush for getting the healthy teeth and gums. The choice mostly depends on your preferences and peculiarities of the teeth structure and sensitivity. Many people tend to choose electric brushes because they have the adjustable power levels, a built-in timer, and rechargeable batteries. But such brushes are more expensive and less convenient for traveling.
Expert tips for choosing a manual toothbrush
The team at Mayo Clinic gathered a few expert guidelines for picking up a manual toothbrush. Here is how you can choose it:
- Most dentists recommend buying a manual toothbrush with the soft bristles for better cleaning. Also, such designs are safer for teeth;
- Pay attention to the size. A manual toothbrush for an adult can’t be good for a kid. Adults should steer clear of overly large toothbrush heads, as these can make cleaning hard-to-reach areas difficult;
- Opt for the brushes labeled with the seal of approval from the ADA;
- Check the individual features. Some manual brushes have the bristles shaped in a specific way for cleaning the surface stains. If this is your common problem, such brush can be preferable for you;
- The bristles with rounded tips may protect your teeth from the overzealous brushing;
- Check the handle; it should be be easy-to-grip and flexible.
The expert tips for choosing an electric toothbrush
If you are wondering what the best electric toothbrush is, you may use these expert tips given by WebMD:
- Before buying, compare electric toothbrushes to choose the one with a variety of different modes and options. For example, some models are equipped with the special pressure sensors that may indicate when you are brushing too hard;
- Some studies claim that electric brushes with the bristles rotating together in one direction, and then switching to rotate in the opposite one (the rotating-oscillating type) can be more effective than manual toothbrushes and electric brushes spinning in only one direction.
Also, you may use the guidelines for choosing a manual toothbrush when it comes to picking up the electric toothbrush’ size, bristles, handle, features, etc.
How often should you buy a new toothbrush?
No matter if you use a manual or electric toothbrush, you need to change it every 3 months. Some electric brushes allow changing the bristles when they become worn down. When the bristles are no longer firm and straight, don’t hesitate to buy a new toothbrush. In such condition, the bristles can’t clean your teeth properly and may even harm your gums.
If you have doubts about picking up a toothbrush for the health of your teeth, consider consulting your dentist. In some cases, electric toothbrushes can be too harmful to your gums or teeth and otherwise.