Manual vs. Electric Toothbrush

Posted on Sep 13 2017 - 6:10pm by Samantha Clark
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A good dental routine isn’t just about clearing the fuzzy film of food from the day, it’s about your health. Not only does brushing regularly make your teeth squeaky clean but it can help prevent gum disease and tooth decay ensuring your teeth stay reliable for longer. We could go into this in lots of detail but let’s just start with the actual brush. We share 4 differences between a manual and electric toothbrush:

Cost

One of the first considerations in buying a toothbrush is cost. When you have to change your toothbrush/toothbrush head every 3 months, an electric one can seem to be more expensive. But once you’ve bought the device, which starts from £20, it is only the heads you need to change, and if you wait for an offer, you can usually get them for around £2 per head and the more you buy the cheaper they get. For a decent manual toothbrush you’re usually looking at £1.50 upwards, if you can find a special offer; so with a marginal difference of 17p a month, this should be one of the lesser considerations.

Reach and Clean

As an electric toothbrush is in constant motion working with you as you move around your mouth, it is able to clear more plaque and debris than a standard toothbrush. In addition, because they generally have a much smaller head than manual brushes they’re able to tackle those hard to reach places.

Comfort

Manual vs. electric is just as much about preference as anything else. Some people simply find electric toothbrushes more difficult to manoeuvre and don’t find them as flexible. Others find the bristles are harder on a manual toothbrush and some of the heads available on the electric ones, with plastic bits, are to hard and uncomfortable. Thankfully there is a variety of heads available with both. Generally speaking, manual toothbrushes will have large heads that sweep over the teeth whilst electric ones have smaller ones that work with the motion of the brush- both have different height bristles in an attempt to reach deep between the teeth.

Expert Opinion

Most dentists do recommend an electric toothbrush because of the multi actions they offer and because they do a lot of the work for you. A leading cause of gum disease is poor oral health, so a good routine is essential in keeping you healthy (and it isn’t just about your gums or keeping your teeth) and a brush that can do it for you, takes some of that pressure off of you.

British Dental Association’s scientific adviser, Professor Damien Walmsley adds.

“Studies comparing the two types indicate that brushing with an electric toothbrush is slightly more likely to help you achieve good oral health in the long-term, compared with manual brushes. As people tend to underbrush – at least two minutes is recommended with a fluoride toothpaste – an electric brush with a timer makes this easier.

“Whatever your preference, it’s the way your brush that is more important than what you brush with.

“If you prefer to use a manual toothbrush, choose one with a comfortable handle, soft bristles and a small head– because toothbrushes with hard bristles can damage soft oral tissue, and a small head will make it easier to clean those hard to reach areas at the back of the mouth.

“It’s important to brush teeth with a fluoride toothpaste last thing at night and on one other occasion.

What about battery?

Battery operated brushes will offer a deep level clean than a manual because of the motorised action which tries to mimic an electric toothbrush. But ultimately isn’t as powerful.

Our preference?

From first hand experience, I’ve found a basic electric toothbrush offers a better clean, better oral health and more comfort than using a manual toothbrush. When travelling, for convenience, I’ll often opt for a manual brush but within a few short days, despite no real discomfort from actual brushing, I inevitably end up with bleeding gums (which if it’s persistent, can lead to gum disease). I also find that overall, the electric toothbrush is able to reach my awkward wisdom teeth that sit at a funny angle and despite concern about the depth of clean, my dentist assures me that they’re looking good.

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