Electric vs Manual Toothbrush: Which is Best for Complete Oral Health?

Brushing the teeth is one thing that we all do on a regular basis. It is no secret that regular brushing of your teeth is the key to healthy teeth and gums by stopping the buildup of plaque.

Brushing teeth mainly involves two elements, toothpaste and toothbrush. Both of these two elements are equally important and unable to function properly without one another. While you can get various options for both toothpaste, but when it comes to toothbrush you will mainly get two options whether electric or manual toothbrush.

According to the experts both electric and manual works equal efficiently for getting rid of plaque which causes tooth decay and gum diseases. Both type of toothbrush has their own perks which makes them better suitable in accordance to the users.

Today, we will look at both of these and discuss the benefits and some drawbacks of using electric vs manual toothbrush for our dental care and hygiene.

Electric Toothbrush

Electric toothbrush has an automatic brushing system in which the bristles vibrate back and forth or rotate based on the type of electric toothbrush you buy. The automatic vibrations of bristles or the rotating of the bristles mimic our hand motions and exponentially increase the rate of removing the plaques between the teeth and gums.

The use of electric toothbrushes has become popular and widely available these days. You can grab an electric toothbrush from just about any corner shop or the local pharmacy as well as most of the grocery shops and of course in bigger supermarkets.

Advantages of Using an Electric Toothbrush

It is efficient and requires much less effort for achieving better brushing results than brushing manually. The continuous vibration or rotation ensures micro-movement between the gaps of the teeth. This delivers better cleaning between the gaps for healthier gums and spotless teeth.

brushing teeth with electric toothbrush

The following are some of the advantages of an electric toothbrush:

  • Better Plaque Removing Ability

Research shows that an electric toothbrush is more efficient for removing plaque from teeth. Electric toothbrush provides better protection against oral plaque and gingivitis compared to the manual toothbrush. It is able to cover more surface area with a fraction of the effort. Experiments have shown that after using of electric toothbrush for 12 weeks the buildup of plaque was reduced by approximately 11% and gingivitis was reduced by as much as 21%.

While the results achieved is almost similar for both rotating and vibrating electric toothbrushes, expert opinions vary. But when used for a longer period of time, the rotating electric toothbrush has been proven to be more efficient compared to the vibrating electric toothbrush. My dentist also recommended getting a rotating brush head rather than the pulsating or vibrating one.

  • Comfortable handling for people with less mobility

Sometimes people with limited mobility face more trouble in their daily lives. One of which is to use a manual toothbrush and they are more comfortable using electric toothbrush. Electric toothbrush requires little to no effort and much less movement compared to the standard manual toothbrush.

People with arthritis, carpal tunnel or development disabilities find themselves more comfortable using an electric toothbrush. Also, it is suitable and efficient for kids to use it on their own without their parent’s supervision. Parents or guardians can rest assured that proper cleaning is being done.

  • Time and energy saver

Brushing with an electric toothbrush not only saves your energy, but it also saves you a lot of time. When compared to brushing with a manual toothbrush, you don’t lose track of how much or how little you are brushing.

You can have same quality of brushing with an electric toothbrush in half amount of time and effort compare to a manual toothbrush. Also, you can spend the same amount of time brushing your teeth everyday without having to use an alarm clock or gluing your eyes to your watch.

  • Built-in Timer

Most of the electric toothbrushes in the market today come with a built-in timer. As mentioned earlier, this helps you to ensure that you are brushing for the predetermined and recommended brushing time for proper cleaning.

Dentists suggest to brush your teeth for at least 2 minutes twice a day. Many also recommend spending at least 5 minutes including flossing, cleaning your tongue and a solid 3 minutes with a brush. The built-in timer will always have the experts’ recommended brushing time whether it is 2 or 3 minutes, without you having to worry about keeping track of time spent at the sink.

  • Easy Replacement

Experts recommend to replace your toothbrush every two months. And when it comes to replacing your old toothbrush with a new one, you have to throw away the entire toothbrush if you are using a manual one.

On the other hand, for electric toothbrushes you just need to change the head instead of replacing the whole toothbrush. Since the bristles are replaced with a new brush head, you get complete care from a fully new brush by just replacing the brush head.

  • Less waste

When using an electric toothbrush, you would require less toothpaste and water compared to manual toothbrush while getting the same or more than likely better results. So, not only it saves you time and energy but it also saves toothpaste and water, which is good for the environment.

  • Most suitable for people with orthodontic treatments

Research shows that people using orthodontic appliances such as braces are more comfortable using an electric toothbrush as the job of brushing their teeth becomes much easier. Some of the people with orthodontic appliances may not face any oral health trouble.

They may have the same likelihood of developing plaque, with or without using electric toothbrush. But they face difficulties cleaning their mouth with metal orthodontic appliances placed within. The use of an electric toothbrush helps them to maintain proper care and dental hygiene for ensuring their oral health.

  • Gentle on Gums

Most of the electric toothbrushes are made with soft bristles, therefore they are gentle on gums. When using manual toothbrush, many of us risk causing irritation or gum inflammation from too much pressure or force. But, the bristles on an electric toothbrush are gentle on the natural enamel of your teeth while removing the plaque between the gaps.

  • Childproof

Sometimes it becomes hard to ensure that the kids brush their teeth properly.

Typically, they lack concentration and it is difficult to make them brush properly for ensuring good oral health. But with electric toothbrushes, you easily ensure the complete care for their oral health as it does most of the work itself.

Also, quite easily it becomes a fun activity for them which they are interested in doing.

Drawbacks of Using an Electric Toothbrush

An electric toothbrush has many advantages, but like any other electric equipment it has a few drawbacks as well. While they are not harmful to you, it is good to be aware of these factors before purchasing your next or first electric toothbrush.

Here are the few drawbacks of an electric toothbrush:

  • Power supply

Since electric toothbrushes run on electricity, it requires power supply whether through battery or plugging it into a power supply. Although, most of the electric toothbrushes now run on battery, there are some which are corded or better yet, that run on non-removable rechargeable batteries.

The corded one lacks mobility; on the other hand, the cordless electric toothbrush needs battery changing when they run out of power. If the non-removable rechargeable batteries go bad, then you have no option but to spend money on a brand-new electric toothbrush.

  • Accurate Replacement Head

As electric toothbrushes do not have a universal head adapter. Sometimes, it could be difficult to find the accurate head to replace the old toothbrush head. Also, many different brands have different types of replacement toothbrush head which most of the time does not match with one another.

So, if you buy from a particular brand, then you are stuck with using brush heads from that brand only.

  • Vibration & Sound

Not everyone is comfortable with the vibration and the buzzing sound that the motor of electric toothbrush creates. People with higher oral sensitivity in their teeth or gums may find using electric toothbrushes to be irritating and uncomfortable.

  • Expensive

Electric toothbrushes are more expensive compared to manual toothbrushes. Although, it lasts longer than manual toothbrushes. Over the longer course of time, you will be spending a lot more than you would with a manual toothbrush when you need to replace the brush head.

Manual Toothbrush

Manual toothbrush is the basic foundation of brushing your teeth and has been around from the very beginning of time. It might not have all the fancy features as an electric toothbrush but it is fully capable of delivering a good oral health every time without a doubt.

Advantages of Manual Toothbrush

Depending on your comfort level, you can use a manual toothbrush all year long without facing any oral health trouble. The process of using a manual toothbrush is pretty much the basic, all you need to do is brush for at least two minutes properly twice a day.

Although, the mechanism at work is ancient, since the beginning of time the many advantages of using a manual toothbrush cannot be overlooked.

brushing teeth with manual toothbrush

Here are some benefits of using a manual toothbrush:

  • Availability

Unlike the electric toothbrush, manual toothbrush is widely available all around you. Whether you go to a drug store, super shop, your local corner shop or even in gas stations; manual toothbrushes are available in all of them.

So, getting access to a manual toothbrush is very easy and convenient in all parts of the world.

  • Easy Usage

The usability of manual toothbrush is very easy and simple. All you need is some elbow action and you got yourself going. It does not require any charging, power connection or battery.

Therefore, you don’t have to worry about running out of power or battery life or an electricity source.

  • Disposable

The manual toothbrushes are mainly disposable. You can just throw it away after two or three months and replace with a new one. Unlike electric toothbrush, you do not have to stick with the same type of toothbrush and spend a lot of money on replacing the heads every 2 or 3 months.

  • Affordable

Compared to the electric toothbrushes, manual toothbrushes are cheap and very much affordable for just about anyone. Typically, they are at least five to ten times cheaper than electric toothbrushes. When you consider other things like the cost of replacement brush heads, electricity or battery, etc. it turns out to be much more cost efficient.

Along with having some great benefits, manual toothbrushes also have some disadvantages which you should know before you ditch the idea of getting a new electric toothbrush and stick with your manual toothbrush.

Here are some of those drawbacks when using a manual toothbrush:

  • Manual Labor

With manual toothbrush, you have to do most of the work manually. Where the electric toothbrush does most of the work for you.

  • Brushing Pressure

Research shows that most people put too much pressure while brushing their teeth. This leads to further damage such as swollen gums or gum bleeding.

  • Results

The results achieved from using a manual toothbrush cannot compare with that of an electric toothbrush. Manual brushes leave too much scope for error in using and electric brushes take care of all those potential risks.

Brushing Tips for Both Manual & Electric Toothbrushes

Both the electric and manual toothbrushes are effective for maintaining a good oral health.

It is just that you might have to put some extra effort if you choose manual toothbrush over electric toothbrush. There are some brushing tips recommended by the dentists that will help you to ensure better oral health.

Here are some brushing tips recommended by experts:

Brush Replacement

Dentists recommend to change your toothbrush every two to three months. The bristles of your brush wear off and loses its strength after continuous use. So, after a while they cannot clean the teeth as efficiently as they should be.

Also, using a toothbrush for a long period of time can lead to gum inflammation, bleeding gums or other gum diseases. Therefore, it is better to change your toothbrush every two to three months.

Brush Twice a Day

According to experts, you should brush your teeth at least twice a day to maintain good oral health. Brushing twice a day helps to stop germs from building up and is more effective in removing plaque which leads to gingivitis and other gum diseases.

Multi-level Bristles

Research shows that multi-level or zig-zag bristles are more effective for removing plaques between your teeth compared to flat bristles. They can reach the uneven gaps between your teeth more efficiently for better cleaning. As a result, they get to all the hard to reach areas which would otherwise remain unclean.

For Kids

There are custom-made toothbrushes for kids and they should only be using those instead of using toothbrushes designed for adults. Normally, children’s toothbrushes are small in size so they fit better in their small hands and inside their small mouths. The bristles in these toothbrushes are softer compared to the adult toothbrushes.

Also, dentists recommend electric toothbrushes for kids and toddlers as they are able to provide better cleaning with less effort compared to manual toothbrush. It also minimizes the risk of them harming themselves with too much pressure using a manual toothbrush.

Things to Remember While Brushing Your Teeth

  • Choose the right size of toothbrush according to your mouth size.
  • Choosing the right bristles is important. If the bristles are too hard it can cause irritation and gum bleeding. Also, if the bristles are too soft, they wear off too quickly and may not be effective in removing plaque and other debris from teeth.
  • Select a suitable toothpaste which has fluoride and other helpful natural ingredients.
  • Hold and place the toothbrush in a 45-degree angle to your teeth and gum.
  • Move the toothbrush back & forth, up & down and also in circular motions gently.
  • Rinse the toothbrush properly with water before and after brushing.
  • Store the toothbrush in an upright position and in a clean, dry place. Keep it away from the toilet and generally wet areas.
  • Floss at least once a day before or after brushing.
  • You can rinse your mouth with warm water after brushing. Although, it is not mandatory but it is best to avoid mouthwash and other similar products.
  • If you experience bleeding gums for more than three days, it highly recommended to see a dentist and seek their expert opinion before things get worse.


When it comes to Electric vs Manual Toothbrush, I would say they are both effective and can help you maintain a good and steady oral health. These days they are both widely available and you can get easily get access to both of them.

If I were to choose one, I would pick an electric toothbrush as it is good for those like me with lazy brushing habits.

But there are some very good points that gives the electric toothbrush superiority over manual toothbrush. For example, we have seen lots of comparisons in this review such as getting better results in lesser time as well as the effectiveness in its plaque removing ability.

On the other hand, you can get almost the same result with some extra effort and less budget with a manual toothbrush. But you would have to ensure a strict and proper dental care routine.

So, I would suggest that if you do not have any affordability issues then you should definitely go for the electric toothbrush. But either way, it comes down to your willingness in ensuring your oral health with proper dental care and oral hygiene.

Stay clean and keep smiling!

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