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Do Electric Toothbrushes Make a Difference?

We all want to take the best care of our teeth as possible, but sometimes it can feel overwhelming. From brushing to flossing to mouthwash and braces, our teeth can be quite demanding. We’ve come a long way to make tooth-care easier for the general population to maintain. Recent technologies are quickly gaining popularity with mainstream consumers and electric toothbrushes are at the head of the line. But are they really all they’re cracked up to be?

Manual vs. Electric

Brushing twice a day for 2 minutes will make the biggest difference in your oral health. Brushing reduces tartar and plaque build-up and helps prevent gum disease and periodontitis. Regular brushing also lessens our chance of cavities and gives us whiter teeth and a prettier smile.

Now that we have established the importance of brushing, let’s look at the pros and cons of each toothbrush type to see what we should be brushing with.

Manual Toothbrush Pros

The modern, manual toothbrush is the most commonly used toothbrush, and with good reason. After all, it’s been around since 1938! What else does it offer?

  • They’re cheap. You can buy a decent basic toothbrush for as little as a dollar in a lot of places. If you want a better one, you might pay up to five dollars.
  • They’re everywhere. If you’ve ever forgotten your toothbrush while on vacation, you know that a replacement isn’t hard to find.
  • They’re easy to take care of and replace.


Manual Toothbrush Cons

While the manual style is easy to find and easy to use, it does have a couple of downsides that could have a negative impact on your teeth.

  • They’re too In fact, studies have shown people tend to brush their teeth too hard and with too much pressure while using a manual brush. This can cause your gums to bleed, recede and can eventually remove tooth enamel.
  • Often manual toothbrush users don’t brush for the full recommended two minutes. Without a built-in timer, users often overestimate the time they’ve spent brushing.
  • They can be hard to handle for people with arthritis or other dexterity difficulties


Electric Toothbrush Pros

Although electric toothbrushes have been around since the late 1930s as well, they were not available to the general public until the last decade or so. Here are some benefits of using an electric toothbrush:

  • They’re more effective, especially those with a rotating brush head, in eliminating plaque and tartar build-up which can lead to gingivitis and decay.
  • They’re easy to handle. Electric toothbrushes have proven especially useful for those with limited mobility, like arthritis.
  • They have built-in timers allowing for the 2-minute mark to be hit with each brushing.
  • Plain and simple…They’re just more fun. Kids are much more likely to brush and develop positive habits when they don’t consider brushing a chore.

Electric Toothbrush Cons

When considering an electric toothbrush, it’s important to take the following things into account:

  • They can be expensive. A new brush could cost anywhere from $20 to $200, depending on several factors. Brush heads will wear out and replacements can cost $15-$50 each.
  • Replacement heads are not as easy to find. There are many brands of electric brushes, so finding a particular replacement in a pinch could be tough. It’s best to have a replacement for your brush on hand.
  • They need electricity or batteries to work, unlike a manual toothbrush you can use anytime and anywhere.

What’s the Verdict?

Over and over again, studies confirm maintaining good oral hygiene is vital to your overall health for so many reasons.  And properly brushing 2x/day for 2 minutes is the most important way to make sure this happens, more so than your choice of toothbrush. But investing in an electric toothbrush may make this process easier. Especially as we try and teach our children proper brushing techniques they will hopefully continue for their lifetime. So often, we rush through the brushing process without even realizing it. Using an electric toothbrush will not only ensure recommended brushing times are adhered to but will also help prevent overbrushed, receded gums and damaged tooth enamel.

If you have more specific questions or you’re looking for individualized professional advice, schedule an appointment at Lindner Dental Associates.