Are Electric Toothbrushes Better Than Manual Toothbrushes?

December 17, 2021

Even if you brush twice every day (as you should), the type of toothbrush you use and your technique has a big impact on how clean your teeth get. Improper brushing technique or choosing the wrong type of toothbrush can even damage your gums, potentially leading to gingivitis. So what kind of toothbrush should you use? And do electric toothbrushes work better than their manual counterparts? The team at American Dental has the scoop on the electric toothbrush vs. manual toothbrush debate; here’s our take:

Manual Toothbrushes

Most people clean their teeth using an old-fashioned, manual toothbrush. There’s nothing wrong with using a manual toothbrush, as long as you choose one with soft bristles and use the proper technique. For best results, gently hold your manual toothbrush at the end of the handle. This will prevent you from applying too much force and potentially hurting your gums. Gently brush each tooth multiple times using short strokes, and be sure you brush every surface, front, and back. The whole process should take about two minutes, so don’t rush it! Once you’re done, floss and mouthwash will help clean the areas in between your teeth and below the gumline. 

Electric Toothbrushes

If you want to get the maximum number of strokes in with the least effort, an electric toothbrush is perfect for you! Using a soft-bristled, rotating, round head electric toothbrush will allow you to accomplish all the same goals as manual brushing, and numerous studies suggest it may even do a better job. An 11-year study by the UK’s Oral Health Foundation concluded in 2019 confirmed earlier research, showing that electric toothbrushes, especially those with oscillating heads, are very effective at removing plaque. Study participants who used an electric toothbrush had 22% less gum recession and 18% less tooth decay over 11 years than their counterparts who used manual toothbrushes.

Electric Toothbrush vs. Manual Toothbrush: Which Should You Choose?

While the Oral Health Foundation’s study confirmed that electric toothbrushes do clean teeth better than manual ones, the difference is relatively minor. If you are still using a manual toothbrush, or you are worried about the cost of switching to electric, don’t worry; you can achieve similar results by brushing your teeth the old-fashioned way. As long as you brush your teeth twice every day using the technique outlined above, floss once every day, use mouthwash and visit the dentist twice every year, you can remove plaque buildup and prevent a whole host of oral health issues.

If you have questions about what type of toothbrush you should be using, it’s a good idea to speak with your dentist. If you live in the Chicagoland area, the dentists and hygienists at American Dental would be happy to address your concerns and give you advice about how to get your teeth as clean as possible. Get in touch with us if you are looking for dentists in Lincoln Park or anywhere else in Chicago. Click “Make an Appointment” at the top of this page or call (773) 897-3218 to find the American Dental location closest to you and schedule your next checkup today!

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