There has been a long and widespread debate about whether or not electric toothbrushes are better than manual ones, or whether they both achieve the same results. However, there are still some pros and cons to each that should be considered before making your decision. Here are the benefits and disadvantages of both, together with details on how often you should replace your toothbrush and how to achieve an effective clean. 

Electric toothbrushes: advantages & disadvantages

Electric toothbrushes have become all the more popular in recent years. According to Baker Street Dental, 12 million people have replaced their manual toothbrush with an electric one over the last 5 years. This means that, as of last year, 34 million of us are using electric toothbrushes, states the same source. But why have they become so popular and what are some of the things you should consider before making the switch? 

What are the benefits of electric toothbrushes?

There are many benefits of switching to an electric toothbrush. Whether you are  looking for a built-in timer or prefer your toothbrush head to oscillate rather than remain static, electric toothbrushes take centre stage. In summary, the benefits of an electric toothbrush include:

  • They are effective at removing plaque, according to Cochrane
  • They are easy to use for those with limited mobility
  • They come with built-in timers
  • They improve focus while brushing, claims the NIH
  • They produce less single-use waste
  • They improve the health of those with orthodontic problems, states the NIH
  • They are fun for children to use
  • They are safe for use on gums and on the tongue 
What are the cons of electric toothbrushes?

The main disadvantage of using electric toothbrushes is that they are generally far more expensive than manual alternatives. Where prices for an electric toothbrush can start from as little as £7, prices can rise considerably to £800 for a state-of-the-art model. 

Depending on your budget, you will be able to purchase an electric toothbrush that is basic, with one speed and no timer. However, there are models that have built-in timers, flash when you are brushing too hard and can remain fully-charged for weeks on end. These days, electric toothbrushes are considered to be an investment, preventing oral issues such as tooth decay and gum disease.

Manual toothbrushes: advantages & disadvantages

Manual toothbrushes have been a staple in everyone’s bathroom for centuries. Before electric toothbrushes became more commonplace, manual toothbrushes were the go-to for those looking to maintain their oral health. They did a fantastic job before the arrival of their electric counterpart. But what can you gain from a manual toothbrush and why should you consider the electric alternative? Let’s go through the pros and cons:

What are the benefits of manual toothbrushes?

There are some advantages of using manual toothbrushes, hence why there are still around 12 million Britons who use them today, according to the Oral Health Foundation. For one, they are incredibly easy to get hold of, being available in supermarkets and pharmacies almost everywhere across the country. 

Secondly, they are very affordable. It allows everyone to take care of their teeth, without spending considerable amounts on electric toothbrushes. In fact, manual toothbrushes can be bought from your local supermarket for as little as 25p. They are an effective tool for ensuring oral health without breaking the bank financially.

What are the cons of manual toothbrushes?

There is a study which found that those who use manual toothbrushes were more likely to brush much harder as a result. Brushing too hard can have a detrimental effect on the health of your teeth and gums, making it a major disadvantage for manual toothbrushes. 

In addition, a manual toothbrush does not have the ability to tell you how long you have been brushing for. This therefore means you could be either brushing for too long or not long enough. If you are going to keep using a manual toothbrush, then put a timer in the bathroom with you to keep track of the time.

How often should I replace my toothbrush?

Toothbrushes and toothbrush heads need to be replaced, on average, once every three or four months. You also need to replace them if the bristles have worn down before that deadline approaches. Another scenario in which a toothbrush needs to be replaced is if you have been poorly. 

Bacteria can sit within the bristles, therefore making you poorly more frequently with continued use. Swap it out for a fresh toothbrush or toothbrush head if you have recently had a cold, for example. If you use a manual toothbrush, you will need a whole new tool. However, with an electric toothbrush, you will only need to apply a new head.

How to clean your teeth effectively

You might be wondering what is involved when it comes to brushing your teeth. It seems like quite a straightforward task that everyone does twice a day, so what could possibly be so difficult about it? Where it is not a challenging everyday task, it is something that needs to be done effectively and efficiently so as to prevent damage but to ensure optimum cleanliness. With that in mind, here are some tips on how to clean your teeth properly:

Brush well for 2 minutes

You need to ensure you are brushing your teeth for, no less than, two minutes. When it comes to brushing the teeth of small children, this might seem like an impossible task. However, play them a two-minute video on a streaming platform while you brush their teeth as a distraction. 

If this is not a possibility, then try and brush your child’s teeth for, around, two minutes, or as close to that time as possible. Timing it can be difficult if you are using a manual toothbrush, so set up a timer on your phone. Electric toothbrushes, on the other hand, come with built-in timers for your convenience. 

Be as gentle as possible while brushing

You might think that the harder you brush the better it is for removing food debris and plaque, but you would actually be mistaken. The more gentle you are when you are brushing your teeth the better it is for the integrity of the teeth themselves and for the health of your tongue and gums. Brushing too hard can cause irreversible damage to tooth enamel, and it can also cause receding gums, which is also something that cannot be rectified. Brush gently, but firmly, for the best results when it comes to brushing your teeth as effectively as possible.

Use a good technique

There are several techniques that people can use to ensure you are brushing your teeth effectively. However, the most common technique to brush the teeth is something that dentists call ‘Modified Bass Technique’. It means moving the brush in a circular motion across the tooth surface, and on top, at a 45-degree angle. 

This is a more effective way of removing plaque and food debris. You should also massage the gums gently as you go. Where this is a simple technique to use, it is far easier to achieve with an electric toothbrush as they come with built-in oscillating heads.

Ensure you are getting to every area of the mouth, including gums & tongue

Not only should you be focusing on brushing every single tooth, including the stubborn wisdom teeth at the back, but people often forget about other aspects of the mouth – the gums and tongue. It is imperative that you are also brushing the flesh of your mouth to prevent bacteria buildup. 

Bacteria will always find a safe haven between your teeth and your gums, but bacteria can also settle, without much disturbance, on the tongue. Make sure you are brushing those, gently, as well as your teeth. This makes for an all round clean mouth. For good measure, you should also floss and use mouthwash. 

Quorn Dental Practice and Implant Clinic is pleased to offer specialist dental treatments, including orthodontics, periodontics and endodontics. We can also provide cosmetic dentistry, including veneers and implants, among other treatments. If you would like further information about the dental treatments we are able to perform, get in touch with a member of our friendly, knowledgeable team today – we are always happy to hear from you.