Patient Education

Electric VS Manual ToothBrushes

Electric toothbrushes have become very popular in our society, but many wonder if they really make that much of a difference in one’s oral health.

Recent studies show that yes, they are indeed worth the cost, but only if used properly. Research studies have shown that sonic brushes provide better removal of bacterial plaque and prevent gingivitis more effectively than a manual toothbrush.1,2,3 This is believed to be the case for a few reasons.

First, brushing effectively with a manual toothbrush requires a certain technique and requires that the patient brush for two minutes. Unfortunately, many patients don't angle the manual brush bristles properly and typically don't bother to set a timer to make sure that they brush for a solid two minutes. The motion of the bristles on electric toothbrushes makes up for improper angling of the brush by the patient. Also, these electric brushes usually have built in timers, so that the average person doesn't have to think about how long they've been brushing.

Also, the nice brushes, like Oral B and Sonicare, are made with the latest and greatest sonic technology. This technology is thought to break up the sticky film of bacteria on the teeth better than brushes without it. In other words, the expensive brushes are worth it.

However, if you use an electric toothbrush, be sure to use it the right way. Don't scrub it back and forth on your teeth like you are washing your car. Instead, move the brush slowly around your teeth while keeping the brush in contact with the enamel. You paid a lot for that brush; let it do the work! Also, if you have metal braces on your teeth, be sure to brush above and below each metal bracket.