Which Toothbrush Is Right for You: Manual or Electric?

With the advances in technology, we now have the option of choosing to brush the age old way of manually or the more novel electric way. The bottom line is – the function of a toothbrush is to keep the teeth and gums healthy and maintain the overall hygiene of the oral cavity. Deciding which option is best for you may just come down to the features each type of toothbrush provides as well as your personal needs or preferences.

This information will examine the features of both as well as what to look for in any toothbrush that is necessary to do an effective job of keeping your mouth in good health.

Advantages of the Manual Toothbrush

  • Manual toothbrushes are easily affordable in comparison with electric toothbrushes and come in a wide range of designs with varying head shapes, sizes and handles to suit your taste.

  • They do not require charging and as a result are convenient to travel with.

  • They give teeth a thorough clean after brushing for two minutes using proper brushing techniques.

  • They are easy for children to use effectively once they are trained to brush well.

  • Manual toothbrushes allow you to control the amount of pressure you exert on your gums and teeth. This helps to preserve the gums and enamel and prevent decay due exposed and worn out surfaces.

Disadvantages of the Manual Toothbrush

  • It often takes a little more effort to get the teeth clean than it would with an electric toothbrush.

  • They do not have a built in timer for monitoring brushing sessions.

Advantages of the Electric Toothbrush

  • Electric toothbrushes offer an easy cleaning solution which requires minimal effort and delivers results at the push of a button. Just hold it at a 45-degree angle and the powered toothbrush does the rest.

  • Research results have shown that electric toothbrushes are more effective at removing plaque from the teeth and preventing the gum infection gingivitis.

  • The built in timer stops the toothbrush when two minutes has elapsed.

  • It is a more fun-filled and easier option for encouraging children to brush their teeth.

  • People who have conditions which limit their ability to move or have limited range of motion can benefit from using electric toothbrushes.

  • Some are equipped with pressure sensors which indicate to the users whether they are applying too much pressure while brushing.

Disadvantages of the Electric Toothbrush

  • Electric toothbrushes require charging or battery replacement.

  • They are significantly more expensive than manual toothbrushes and there may be an additional cost for batteries after purchase if they are battery operated rather than rechargeable.

  • They tend to be bulky for the purpose of travel as they tend to be larger and definitely heavier than manual toothbrushes. Also travelling with a charger can be cumbersome.

  • They may become damaged or break if they are dropped and may cease to work.

Features to Look for in Any Toothbrush

  • Regardless of whether you choose to go with a manual or an electric toothbrush, one essential feature to look out for is that the bristles are soft. This is very beneficial because it reduces the abrasion on the gums and prevents the acceleration of gum recession. Some people might get the feeling that if the toothbrush is too soft it cannot effectively clean the teeth however this is not the case. Once you support your oral care with other good practices such a flossing and rinsing with a mouth wash regularly, your soft toothbrush will perform as intended.

  • The head of the toothbrush should be the right size for your mouth to be able to effectively reach otherwise hard to get to areas while brushing. This is more important than the shape of the head. A half inch wide and one-inch-long head is the ideal size for an adult toothbrush.

  • A comfortable handle which is long enough is another essential feature. While the handles may come in a variety of designs and grips, making a choice is really a matter of preference. Handle length is the more important consideration so that all the teeth and areas in the mouth can be comfortably accessed.

How to Choose?

Making the final decision as to whether to go with a manual or an electric toothbrush is purely personal. Electric toothbrushes may be a convenient choice for individuals with movement restrictions while allowing them to still be able to perform that essential function on their own. Manual toothbrushes offer a cost effective option with personal control over how you choose to brush. Other factors may also come into play when trying to decide. Just ensure that the key features are present in whatever toothbrush type you choose to be assured of the function they offer.


Author Bio – Patrick Swan, the author of this guest article writes occasionally on behalf of Thantakit Dental Center, Bangkok, Thailand.