Blog post by Janell Hynes

There are so many options out there for both manual and electric toothbrushes. Choosing the best product can be overwhelming. Let’s talk about the basics.

Whether it’s electric or manual, general criteria for successful brushing is very similar.

The most important part of brushing your teeth is using proper technique and doing it twice a day.  This includes:

  • Choosing a toothbrush that’s the right size for your mouth. Make sure you can access all the hard-to-reach areas easily.
  • The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends soft-bristle brushes. Also, look for brushes with multi-level or angled bristles, so that the gum tissue is adequately cleaned. Hold the brush at a 45-degree angle.
  • Use a fluoride toothpaste.
  • Gently brush all tooth surfaces for two minutes.

So, we get all that, but should we choose manual or electric?

Use of a manual toothbrush while following the ADA’s recommended guidelines is perfectly fine and effective.

Prospective advantages of electric brushes however are technology related. Many of these brushes are fitted with timers and/or pressure sensors which help us stay on track with proper technique. One study indicated that electric brushes are more successful (11%) in removing plaque than their manual counterparts. Also, an electric toothbrush aids people with dexterity issues. They basically do some of the work for you! Additionally, some electric toothbrushes provide attachments for those in active orthodontic treatment, which have shown to be quite efficient in thoroughly cleaning around brackets, etc.

The takeaway:  it’s all about technique.

Both electric and manual toothbrushes are effective at cleaning teeth if you use proper technique and brush long enough. Overall, an electric toothbrush may make brushing easier, resulting in better plaque removal. Talk with your dentist if you have questions about which toothbrush might be best for you!