There are two types of toothbrushes. The first one is a manual toothbrush that was discovered in 1930s. The other one is an electric toothbrush that started to become popular in 1990s. These two toothbrushes are used across the world but the electric power brush is more popular in civilized nations. In addition, few studies have proven that the electric toothbrush removes more plaque than the manual toothbrush, and it is better at removing harmful gum bacteria. Most adults have used the manual brush at a given point and to be honest it leaves plaque between the teeth gaps and below the gumline. Without flossing you can’t trust the manual toothbrush to remove all plaque.

Manual toothbrush

Manual toothbrushes come in much wider range than the electric toothbrushes. Their bristles can be soft, moderately soft or hard, and can be attached to a small, standard or larger head. A manual brush uses your own ability to maneuver around the mouth and this is easy. Unlike their electric toothbrushes that have compacted bristles, the manual bristles are much more flexible.

Our top 3 pick:

1. RADIUS Totz Toothbrush
2. Colgate Extra Clean Toothbrush
3. Nimbus Microfine Toothbrush


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  • The manual toothbrush is available in many designs in terms of the texture of bristles, head sizes, and decorative aspects.
  • If your gums are sensitive, the soft-bristled manual toothbrush can be picked and those who have small mouths can choose a tinier head.
  • A manual toothbrush comes with a storage case that makes traveling easier.
  • A manual toothbrush is cheaper, needs no battery charge and is easier to maintain.


  • Manual toothbrushes require use of physical energy and brushing carefully to remove all plaque and protect gums. Most people, especially kids, get bored before the teeth and gums are clean.
  • They lack timers and so most people just ignore the doctor’s two-minute brushing time as they dislike setting a timer two to three times a day.

Electric toothbrush

An electric toothbrush comes in two forms: a rechargeable toothbrush and power/battery toothbrush. These are the newest types of toothbrushes and most doctors are recommending them. Rechargeable toothbrushes are plugged into a power outlet while the power brushes use AA batteries and do not generate very strong vibrations.

Battery powered electric toothbrush
This form of toothbrush is designed for people who want to shift from using their manual toothbrush to using an electric toothbrush but are afraid of strong oscillations and vibrations produced by the rechargeable toothbrush. Power toothbrushes use AA batteries and produce just sufficient power to add extra cleaning action to what the manual toothbrushes are able to deliver.

Our top 3 pick:

1. Oral-B Pro-Health Precision Clean Battery Toothbrush
2. Philips Sonicare HX3631/06 Powerup Battery Toothbrush
3. Spinbrush Prowhitening Battery Powered Toothbrush

Rechargeable electric toothbrush
This sort of toothbrush must be connected to a power socket first. It is stronger than either the manual or the battery toothbrush. It uses detachable heads and so one handle unit can be shared. These toothbrushes use different forms of technology, including 3D Cleaning Action (oscillating-rotating), sonic or ultrasonic technology.

Our top 3 pick:

1. Philips Sonicare DiamondClean
2. Oral -B black precision 7000
3. Waterpik Complete Care Water Flosser and Sonic Toothbrush (WP-900)

Features that make an Electric toothbrush better than a Manual toothbrush

There is no doubt that the electric toothbrush is better than the manual toothbrush. Although the latter is now very improved, including features such as textured bristles, gum stimulators, tongue cleaner pads, polished bristles, ergonomic handles and tapered brush heads, the electric still carries the day. But what features make the electric much favored?

LogoBrushing movement
When using an electric toothbrush, pressing or scrubbing hard is unnecessary. The brush just needs to be guided to produce the brushing action it was made for. Guide the item’s head gently and slowly from one tooth to another, holding it against each tooth for a few seconds. Focus on the shape of your teeth and the contours of your gums when cleaning.

LogoBrushing modes
Unlike manual toothbrushes, the electric ones offer precise brushing modes. For instance, you might find a brush offering the Daily Clean, Sensitive, Deep Clean, Whitening, Massage and Tongue Cleaner. Each of these modes provides a certain advantage to the user and they have the freedom to keep switching from mode to mode.

LogoChoice in brush head
How effectively an electric toothbrush will clean your teeth will depend mainly on the design of the brush head. When it comes to choice, we would recommend reading as many online reviews as possible. Heads can be small, medium or big and mainly have a round shape but you can expect to see other shapes as well.

LogoEffective plaque control
Plaque buildup leads to gingivitis and cavities among other dental issues. To control plaque, you can use disclosing agents (after brushing teeth) that color your plaque to make it more detectable for easier removal. Dental floss and interdental cleaning aids are valuable if used properly or according to dentist’s advice. Mouth rinses and gels that contain chlorhexidine are also useful.

LogoGum care
If you neglect cleaning your gums they could develop inflammation that could eat away even the gum tissue and bone that supports your teeth. The best way to care for your gum is to brush with the right toothbrush to remove plaque and bacteria. Common gum diseases include gingivitis, advanced periodontitis and periodontisis. Gingivitis is the earliest disease and it causes bleeding when brushing or flossing and swelling of gums.

LogoClean and polish
Dental cleaning entails removal of plaque and tarter deposits. Dentists use an ultrasonic instrument that utilizes tickling vibrations to disintegrate the larger pieces of tarter and then sprays a cooling mist of water. Dental polishing is done after the teeth are cleaned. A special handheld device with a spinning, soft rubber cup is used along with and prophylaxis.

LogoBuild in timer
Most rechargeable toothbrushes have a timer that stops them automatically after brushing for two-minutes. Some offer a quadpacer timer that alerts when it is time to move to the next quadrant of your mouth. This quadpacer alerts every thirty seconds, allowing you to brush only for two minutes.

LogoEasier for kids and physically disabled
The electric toothbrush is now the best toothbrush for kids and physically challenged people. But you need to select the recommended toothbrush for each group as you want to protect their gums and teeth from diseases. Be careful with little kids though, as strong oscillations and vibrations could bruise their sensitive gums.

Dental professionals point of view

The unanimous advice from all dentists is to get your teeth and gums checked by a professional on a regular basis. The reason why they offer this advice is because they know how easily tarter and plaque could hide and accumulate between your teeth and beneath your gumline. They do agree that the electric toothbrush does a better job of dislodging the bacteria-rich film (plaque) and the deposits that coat your teeth (tarter). Nevertheless, they do not permit total dependency on this brush and doing away with dental visits. Dentists also recommend that you brush at least twice a day with a soft-bristled brush, replace your brush every three or four months and use dentist-recommended ADA toothpastes.

Do you get what you pay for?

The answer to the above question depends on whether you are using the electric toothbrush or the manual. The former are upgraded manuals that remove plaque automatically without the need to use your physical effort. The latter are just plain toothbrushes that are mostly bought because of their bristles and heads variations. With the electric style, you have the advantage of unclogging the gaps between your teeth and gums with its rapid and safe vibrations. It is more expensive than the manual toothbrush but it offers this advantage and reduces your dental visits and bills. But you may not get the value for your money if you end up buying the wrong electric toothbrush.

Wrap up

In my opinion, the rechargeable electric toothbrush is the best I have used. The battery/power toothbrush did generate vibrations but they just were not strong enough to clean my gums and teeth. The manual toothbrushes are what I used previously and after test-driving many electric styles I just won’t go back to them. I am now firmly using my rechargeable toothbrush.

Bottom line

Manuals are not completely effective and most doctors are asking their patients to upgrade to the modern oscillating electric toothbrushes.

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