Nowadays, you almost always find a more “innovative” way to accomplish any task. Are the wires on your headphones getting tangled? Get wireless AirPods. Hate parking your car? Get a car that parks itself. While our world continues to become more advanced, one of our favorite inventions actually dates back to 1954.

Though invented in the 50s, electric toothbrushes weren’t popular until the early 2000s, with dozens of versions and brands emerging. However, we know that just because something is popular doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best. So, are electric toothbrushes superior to manual toothbrushes?

Electric Versus Manual


Of course, our first and foremost concern is that you brush your teeth, regardless of what toothbrush you use. But when comparing electric toothbrushes to manual ones, we do consider electric toothbrushes more effective at keeping teeth healthy and clean by removing plaque and other debris.

A Comparison of the Two

National Library of Medicine studies show that electric toothbrushes will typically clean your teeth better than manual brushes, and better brushing means less chance of cavities. Let’s dig a bit deeper.

The purpose of brushing your teeth is to target and get rid of plaque and debris. But why is that so important? Dental plaque is a sticky film forming on the teeth that will eventually break down tooth enamel. Everyone gets it. However, removing that plaque through brushing, flossing, and bi-annual dental cleanings is crucial. When left on your teeth, plaque builds up, leading to cavities, gingivitis, and other oral health issues. If daily habits do not remove plaque, it can harden into tartar, which only a dental professional can remove.

Nifty electric toothbrushes come in many different shapes and sizes. Some less expensive ones take standard batteries, while more elite electric toothbrushes have a rechargeable battery and come with a charging stand. Some brands do work better than others. However, they all work by using electricity to move a small brush head rapidly. This rapid movement gives electric toothbrushes a leg up against manual ones controlled by your hand.

Types of Electric Toothbrushes

  • Oscillating-rotating Technology
    This type has a brush head that spins and rotates as it cleans. This kind of toothbrush was the first to hit the market.
  • Sonic Technology
    This type uses sonic and ultrasound waves that vibrate as you brush. Some models can even use Bluetooth to send information about your brushing habits to your phone, helping you improve your brushing technique.

Benefits of Electric Toothbrush

Anything that makes maintaining oral hygiene easier is a win in our book. Here are three benefits of electric toothbrushes.

  • Easy to Use
    Electric toothbrush users often point out the ease of use. The toothbrush does most of the work for you and is usually easier to use, especially for those with limited dexterity or hand mobility.
  • A Better Overall Clean
    A manual toothbrush works as fast as your hand. However, an electric toothbrush can accomplish thousands of strokes per second.
  • Specialized Features
    Many electric toothbrush models can make teeth brushing more enjoyable with their built-in features, such as pressure sensors and timers. These features can make teeth brushing less of a chore for children. Many also have different brushing modes based on your level of sensitivity.

The Risks

As with anything, there are always some cons to consider. The leading risk of using an electric toothbrush daily is the same risk associated with using a manual toothbrush: brushing too hard. Many channel incredible Hulk strength while brushing because they believe harder brushing equals cleaner teeth. But you should treat your gums with love and care.

Brushing should be soft and thorough, not harsh. Brushing too hard can wear down your tooth enamel and irritate your gums. One way to help brush lighter is to adjust the pressure sensors on your electric toothbrush if your particular model allows it. Some other potential cons include:

  • Cost
    Electric toothbrushes are pricier than manual ones and require battery change-outs or new brush heads every three months.
  • Electricity
    Since they use electricity, they may be less convenient with travel. Electric toothbrushes require electricity, so if you don’t have an outlet available, you won’t be able to recharge.
  • Discomfort
    It’s all about preference, but some people don’t like the sensation of an electric toothbrush. Those with sensory processing issues might feel much more comfortable brushing with a manual toothbrush.

Is an Electric Toothbrush Right for You?

Whether you use a manual or electric toothbrush matters less than whether you brush at all. Whatever you use, brush at least twice daily and floss once daily. That should be number one. If you’ve been on the fence, here’s a sign to buy the electric toothbrush sitting in your Amazon cart. However, if you have a pack of manual toothbrushes you don’t want to waste or purchasing an electric one just isn’t in the cards right now, there is nothing wrong with that either.

While electric toothbrushes are fantastic, you certainly don’t need one to combat cavities and have a pearly white smile. Pick a toothbrush with soft bristles and a relatively small brush head to reach behind those far-back molars. Brushing and flossing are the bread and butter of oral care, so it’s essential to prioritize and do it right and see your dentist regularly. Whether you’re looking for cosmetic dentistry in West Haven, tooth fillings in Layton, or other dental care, we’ve got you covered.