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Manual toothbrush vs an electric toothbrush – Which is better?

In recent years the amount of toothbrushes available has dramatically increased, with pharmacies and supermarkets providing a colourful array of manual, battery powered and electric toothbrushes. The question is which kind of toothbrush is most effective at plaque removal? This blog will weigh up the pros and cons, allowing you to make an informed decision when it’s time for a replacement.


Firstly what exactly are these brushes?


Manual tooth brush.

With a long plastic handle and nylon bristles on the brush head, this brush is the most common type of tooth brush, it doesn’t require any charging or electricity sources.

Battery powered brush.

These are similar in design to a regular manual tooth brush but are accompanied with an AA battery charge, which when switched on provides extra vibration from the bristles to aid and slightly improve plaque removal; these brushes require you to provide all of the brushing action unlike an electric tooth brush.

Rechargeable electric tooth brush (power brush).

These brushes require charging from a shaving adaptor socket. The handle and body of the brush are kept and the brush heads should be replaced every 3 months. Electric toothbrushes clean by means of oscillating-rotating (3D Cleaning Action) or sonic technology.


Benefits and drawbacks of each brush type?

So here is a breakdown of the benefits and drawbacks of these brushes.

Manual tooth brushes- benefits:

• Available in a larger variety of colours, sizes and bristle hardness.
• Price- manual brushes are less expensive than electric brushes.
• With the correct technique a manual brush can thoroughly clean the teeth.
• Easy to travel with.
• No need for replacement batteries or charging.

Manual tooth brush- drawbacks:

• Difficulty adhering to the recommended brushing time of 2 minutes- on average when a person thinks they’ve brushed for 2 minutes with a brush with no timer it turns out only to be 45 seconds!
• No pressure sensor- making the possibility of over brushing (which may result in gum recession) more likely.
• More work for you.
• With an incorrect technique manual brushes can remove very little plaque, if this is the case you may require some extra instruction from your hygienist.

Electric tooth brush- benefits:

• The built in timer lets you know how long you’ve been brushing for, helping you keep to brushing for 2 minutes.
• Ease of use- electric tooth brushes don’t require any scrubbing, the cleaning action is provided for you, you only need to guide it along the surfaces of your teeth.
• Potential to remove more plaque than a manual tooth brush and reduce gingivitis.

Electric toothbrush drawbacks:

• Expense- electric tooth brushes can vary from anything between £25- £150 depending on the brand and different features included.
• Charging- to charge the brushes you need a shaving adaptor socket and to remember to charge up your brush.


So what do we recommend?

As a general rule electric toothbrushes come out on top! By using a combination of oscillating, pulsating or wave-like motions the electric tooth brush rotates at a far higher speed, providing a deeper clean without the effort of a manual brush.

However using a manual brush with the correct brushing technique will result in effective plaque removal, and if you are getting on well with a manual brush, then carry on.

If you have been considering purchasing an electric tooth brush, why not ask to test out an Oral B power brush in your hygiene appointment? We are always delighted to demonstrate.




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