What Makes an Electric Toothbrush Better Than a Manual Toothbrush?

electric toothbrushes

Good oral care and prevention begin with brushing your teeth. Both electric and manual toothbrushes can remove oral plaque, a major cause of decay and disease, according to the American Dental Association (ADA).

Electric toothbrushes and manual toothbrushes each have their benefits. Any electric or manual toothbrush that is proven safe and effective receives the ADA Seal of Acceptance. Find out which one is best for you and the pros and cons of each.

An electric toothbrush has numerous benefits

You can use electric toothbrushes to remove plaque from your teeth and gums by vibrating or rotating the bristles. Every time your toothbrush is moved across your teeth, the vibration allows for more micro-movements to take place.

Plaque can be removed more effectively

Studies found that, in general, electric toothbrushes reduce more plaque and gingivitis than manual toothbrushes. Plaque and gingivitis were reduced by 21 percent and 11 percent, respectively, after three months of use. Rotating (oscillating) toothbrushes are more effective than vibrating ones.

People with limited mobility will find it easier

You can save a lot of time with electric toothbrushes. People with limited mobility may benefit from electric toothbrushes, such as:

  • Inflammation of the wrist
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Disabilities development

Timer built-in

Electric toothbrushes come with timers that help you brush your teeth for a sufficient amount of time to remove plaque.

Waste may be reduced

In some cases, when it’s time for a new toothbrush, you only need to replace the head of an electric toothbrush, so it’s less wasteful than throwing away a full manual toothbrush.

When it’s time to replace your electric toothbrush, however, you must use a single-use toothbrush.

While brushing, you may become more focused

In at least one study Trusted Source found that people were more focused when they used an electric toothbrush. Ultimately, this improved people’s overall experience with brushing and could potentially lead to better teeth cleaning.

Orthodontic appliances may improve oral health

An electric toothbrush makes brushing much easier for people with orthodontic appliances, such as braces, according to a Trusted Source study.

When using an electric toothbrush or not, plaque levels were about the same in people with appliances who had good oral health. You may be able to improve your oral health by using the electric toothbrush if you have trouble cleaning your mouth while undergoing orthodontic therapy.

It’s fun for kids

Some kids do not enjoy brushing their teeth. If your child enjoys using an electric toothbrush, it can aid with good oral hygiene and establish healthy habits.


Using an electric toothbrush properly should not hurt your gums or enamel, but should instead promote overall oral health.

The cons of an electric toothbrush

It is more expensive to buy an electric toothbrush than a manual one. Prices range between $15 and $250 per brush. Replacement brush heads usually cost between $10 and $45 and are available in packs of multiples. Electric toothbrushes that are totally disposable cost between $5 and $8 plus batteries.

Additionally, finding the right replacement brush heads may not always be easy, as not all stores carry them, and some local stores may not carry the right brand. If you need a new head right away, you can shop online, but it’s not convenient for everyone. Although stocking up and having enough on hand to last a year or more is possible, it adds to the upfront cost.

There was no difference between electric toothbrushes and manual toothbrushes in plaque removal between two studies of seniors. While electric toothbrushes might not be worth the extra cost, that doesn’t mean they don’t function.

You may need a second travel toothbrush if you travel internationally, since plug-in models will not suffice. Because electric toothbrushes require electricity or batteries, they are less eco-friendly than manual toothbrushes, even though they produce less waste.

The vibrating sensation isn’t liked by everyone, either. Plus, electric toothbrushes tend to move saliva around in your mouth more, which can get messy.

The benefits of the manual toothbrush

There have been manual toothbrushes for a long time. Despite not having the bells and whistles of many electric toothbrushes, they are still effective at cleaning your teeth and preventing gingivitis.

As long as you brush twice per day, every day with a manual toothbrush, continue using one if you are most comfortable with it.

Easily accessible

Nearly every grocery store, gas station, dollar store, or pharmacy sells manual toothbrushes. Moreover, manual toothbrushes do not require charging, so they can be used at any time and anywhere.


The manual toothbrush is a cost-effective option. It typically costs $1 to $3.

Cons of manual toothbrushes

Using a manual toothbrush may lead to people brushing too hard, according to a study. Too much brushing can cause gum disease and tooth decay.

Since there is no built-in timer on a manual toothbrush, it may be more difficult to know if you have been brushing long enough. If you want to time your brushing sessions, consider placing a kitchen timer in your bathroom.

Young children and toddlers

You should select a toothbrush that is most likely to be used by your child. A child-size toothbrush head and soft bristles are recommended for kids. Both manual and electric toothbrushes are equally suitable for kids. Each has its own pros and cons.

It is safe for kids and toddlers to use an electric toothbrush on their own. Although, you should supervise your children while they brush their teeth so that they spit out their toothpaste and don’t swallow it.

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