Brushing our teeth is a daily routine that we have kept for the majority of our lives. It’s so commonplace and necessary that most people don’t even give it a second thought.
We all have our particular brand of toothpaste, type of toothbrush and floss flavour (for those who are really good!) and every morning and evening we simply do what needs to be done.
Our oral hygiene routine is one of the most steadfast things in our lives; but are the tools that you are using good enough?
Take a closer look at the pros and cons of both electric and manual toothbrushes to determine whether or not you need to upgrade your toothbrush game.
Electric toothbrush pros:
Before we can compare manual to electric toothbrushes, it’s vital to note that there are two types with different features.
Oscillating; this is where the small round toothbrush head spins quickly in one direction and then the other giving you between 2,500 – 7,000 strokes per minute, just depending on the type of brush.
Sonic; using sonic technology, the brush vibrates between 30,000 – 40,000 strokes per minute. Dental specialists believe that sonic technology allows for toothpaste to be pushed into areas that it wouldn’t normally reach, thus giving a more thorough clean. Some professionals do say that sonic is not as effective as oscillating though.
· Sessions are usually timed meaning that you know exactly how long to brush for to help you clean effectively
· They are easy to use and are especially ideal for those with mobility problems such as carpal tunnel, arthritis and even developmental disabilities
· More efficient at thorough cleaning and reaching more difficult places
· Remove more plaque and prevent periodontal (gum) disease due to oscillating or sonic technology
· Can create less waste – only the head needs to be replaced (until it is time to replace the entire device)
· Ideal for those with braces and other orthodontic appliances as it makes brushing easier and can improve oral health
· Fun for kids – helps establish good oral hygiene habits
· Safer for gums and teeth if used properly as it won’t damage your enamel
Electric toothbrush cons:
· The initial investment can be quite costly, especially if you are buying individual devices for each family member
· Replacement heads can also be expensive and the correct ones can be difficult to find
· Needs to be charged frequently
· Not as easy to travel with (especially if you forget your charger) and if you travel internationally, their plug points may not match
· Breakable if dropped
· Style, colour and shape options are limited
· Some people may not enjoy the feeling of vibrations
Manual toothbrushes are old-school. They are what we all grew up with and the majority of people still own and prefer theirs.
Manual toothbrush pros:
· Various colour and shape options are available
· Readily accessible – manual toothbrushes can be purchased anywhere from the grocery store or pharmacy to even the gas station
· Easy to travel with and they never need to be charged
· Cost effective and easy to buy for the whole family
· Not easily breakable
· They are FREE when you visit the dentist!
Manual toothbrush cons:
· Not as effective as electric toothbrushes in that less plaque is reached
· They have no timer making it difficult to know if you’ve brushed for long enough
· Not as fun or enjoyable as electric toothbrushes
· More difficult to use for those with limited mobility
· More likely to push too hard and hurt your gums and teeth
Overall, there are benefits to both manual and electric toothbrushes. Whatever you choose should suit your lifestyle and pocket. Both are effective at removing plaque and keeping teeth clean and healthy if you use the proper techniques and brush for long enough, though the electric option may make brushing easier.
If you are considering switching your toothbrush type or have any questions, be sure to speak to your dentist so that they can help you select the toothbrush option that is right for you.
Is an electric toothbrush better than a manual one?
There have been many studies on the effectiveness of electric versus manual toothbrushes. An electric toothbrush is more likely to efficiently remove plaque and prevent gum disease and is far easier to use however; the investment in going electric can be extremely costly. A manual toothbrush does require a bit more work but if used correctly, can be just as effective at maintaining your oral health at a much lower cost and with more variety in styles. Speak to your dentist to get expert advice on which oral hygiene tools will be the most suitable for you.
What is the difference between an oscillating and a sonic electric toothbrush?
Electric toothbrushes come in two varieties. Oscillating which usually has a small, round brush head that rotates back and forth over your teeth as you guide the device in your mouth. Oscillating brushes usually have a range of between 2,500 – 7,000 brushes per minute compared to the roughly 300 per minute that a manual brush offers.
Sonic brushes also have rotating and oscillating features which move much faster. They have an estimated 30,000 brushes per minute which in theory means more plaque removal. Sonic brushes also employ ‘fluid dynamics’ wherein the high frequency and vibration speed agitate the fluids in your mouth, causing it to reach beyond where a brush can.
Can my child use an electric toothbrush?
If you are thinking of purchasing an electric toothbrush for your child, consider waiting until they are at least three years old. If your child is younger than three then instead opt of a brush with softly vibrating bristles designed specifically for toddlers.
We’ve all experienced the crying and temper tantrums that can come with tooth brushing which is where electric toothbrushes come in handy. They make the oral hygiene routine far more enjoyable and are more effective at maintaining your child’s oral health. If you are thinking about an electric toothbrush option for your child, speak to your dentist to help select the best option.