Electric Vs. Manual Toothbrush

Electric Vs. Manual Toothbrush

It may come as no surprise, but regularly brushing your teeth twice a day removes plaque and can prevent future oral health problems. Despite this obvious knowledge, many people don’t practice consistent teeth brushing. With so many toothbrushes available, knowing which option is the best for you can be challenging. 

Should you use an electric or manual toothbrush? 

Both kinds of toothbrushes have perks. Below, we’ll review the pros and cons of electric and manual toothbrushes to determine which one might be your best option:

Electric Toothbrush 

An electric toothbrush (or powered toothbrush) is a battery-operated device that vibrates and rotates while cleaning your teeth. WebMD states electric toothbrushes can cover a larger area faster than a manual toothbrush. While manual toothbrushes can get the job done, it can take longer to clean each tooth, which may deter users from brushing for the recommended time. 

There are three types of electric toothbrushes: 

  • Oscillating Rotary Toothbrushes: These brushes come with a small, circular, oscillating head that rotates back and forth while cleaning each tooth. Some oscillating models feature vibrating and pulsing to help remove plaque and food debris between teeth.
  • Sonic Toothbrushes: A sonic toothbrush has a vibrating head that moves bristles side-to-side at high speed. The vibrations of a sonic toothbrush are fast enough to produce a low hum and offer up to 50,000 movements per minute.  
  • Ultrasonic Toothbrushes: Ultrasonic brushes use a high-frequency vibration called “ultrasound” to remove plaque and food buildup. They can provide over 1.2 billion movements per minute. 

Electric Toothbrush Benefits 

The vibrating and oscillating head on an electric toothbrush works exceptionally well at covering all areas of your teeth and gums, and the benefits don’t stop there:

Removing Plaque

Electric toothbrushes are more effective for removing plaque and bacteria from your mouth. Regularly brushing your teeth with an electric brush can help improve your oral health, retain your teeth for longer, and remove stains, making them look whiter and cleaner. According to Colgate, an 11-year study showed that using an electric toothbrush can result in 22% less pocket depth and gum recession and 18% less tooth decay. 

Built-In Timers

Many electric toothbrushes come with built-in timers. Why? To alert you after you’ve brushed for the recommended 2-minute time. These alerts ensure you don’t brush for too long but long enough to achieve better oral hygiene and health. 

Better for Limited Mobility

Compared to a regular manual toothbrush, electric toothbrushes do most of the work for you. This addition is a benefit for people with limited mobility issues, like carpal tunnel, arthritis, and more. 

Beneficial for Orthodontic Appliances 

People with orthodontic appliances, such as braces, may find that electric toothbrushes make brushing much easier. An electric toothbrush can help those with braces remove plaque, food debris, and stains while undergoing orthodontic therapy. 

Less Waste

According to OralB, you should typically replace your manual toothbrush or electric toothbrush head every 3 to 4 months. That’s a lot of waste when considering how many brushes you go through in a year. But with an electric toothbrush, the waste is minimized as you don’t need to throw out a full brush. 

However, when using a single-use electric toothbrush, you will have to replace it once the bristles wear out. 


While an electric toothbrush may seem like an unnecessary expense, it’ll save you some money in the long run. Not only does it come with long battery life, but it also requires less maintenance and yields positive brushing results. Instead of discarding and replacing a manual brush, you only have to worry about replacing the electric toothbrush head. 

Brushing Potential 

Numerous electric toothbrushes come with different settings, which make for effective brushing techniques. If you have sensitive teeth, you can use a gentler mode or take advantage of the pulsing and vibrating features to get into those hard-to-reach areas.

Fun for Kids

Every parent knows how hard it is to keep their kids on a regular oral hygiene routine. No child is interested in brushing their teeth with a manual toothbrush, but a powered toothbrush is a whole other level of fun. Electric brushes can help kids become more engaged while brushing and keep them interested in practicing healthy habits. 

Electric Toothbrush Cons

While an electric toothbrush has several benefits, it has some drawbacks: 

High Cost

Since electric toothbrushes require batteries, they’ll be generally more expensive than traditional, manual brushes. They also require a head replacement, which can be pricey, depending on the model. 

Risk of Damage

A battery-powered electric toothbrush requires charging, and you must be careful not to overcharge the brush as it can put the device at risk of damaging the battery. 

Manual Toothbrush 

A manual toothbrush is a hand-held brush that’s typically made out of hard plastic. This type of toothbrush has soft bristles for cleaning gums and areas between the teeth. A person must manually manipulate the brush to gently massage the gums and brush gums to remove plaque and food debris. 

Manual Toothbrush Benefits 

Manual toothbrushes have been around for decades, which means they’re a classic for a reason. While manual brushes may not have as many benefits as their electric-powered counterparts, they still provide an array of advantages:


Manual brushes are considerably less expensive than electric toothbrushes. These toothbrushes are also available at many stores with various features and prices. 

Easy to Maintain

Just rinse it, and it’s ready for the next time you need it—no charging is necessary.

Speed Control

Most electric toothbrushes come with a consistent speed depending on the model. Manual toothbrushes rely on you to control the speed. You can decide what pace and how much pressure to apply when brushing specific areas in your mouth, making for greater control. 

Easier to Travel With 

A manual toothbrush can easily fit in a suitcase or travel bag, which makes it more convenient to pack. They’re lightweight and easy to travel with, and you don’t have to worry about damaging them as you would with an electric toothbrush. 

Manual Toothbrush Cons 

Manual brushes can provide many benefits, but there will always be significant drawbacks when compared to going electric:

Rough Brushing

A study found that many people who use manual toothbrushes tend to brush their teeth harder than with electric brushes. Applying too much pressure can cause gum abrasion and other oral health issues. 

No Timer

Without a 2-minute timer, most manual toothbrush users brush for less than 45 seconds. This is one advantage powered toothbrushes have over manual, as it indicates how long users should brush. 

Harder to Use

For people with arthritis, disabilities, or issues with dexterity, manual brushing may cause some discomfort. These brushes aren’t as user-friendly as the electric models. 

Which Toothbrush Is Right for You?

Both manual and electric toothbrushes are effective at cleaning your teeth, but if we had to choose which method works best, we would say that electric toothbrushes are the go-to. An electric toothbrush can make brushing a lot easier and serve as a better plaque-removal option. 

Talk to your dentist if you’re unsure which toothbrush is best for you. 

Don’t let the threat of cavities and gum disease get the best of you. Stay on top of brushing your teeth twice daily and make regular appointments with your reliable dental clinic. When you book an appointment with us at Fresh Dental, we ensure you get the best treatment possible, whether for routine cleanings, fillings, and more. Contact us today!