Benefits of Electric vs. Manual Toothbrush (2024)

Benefits of Electric vs. Manual Toothbrush (1)

Oral hygiene has come a long way from the Babylonian chew stick from 3500 BCE or the bone-handled, boar-bristled Tang Dynasty toothbrush from 1,000 years ago. With vibrating, oscillating, rotating and standard toothbrushes available today, you may wonder which is better: an electric or manual toothbrush?

You can get your teeth clean with either an electric or a manual toothbrush. However, an electric toothbrush has an edge when it comes to reducing plaque and preventing tooth decay. Here are the “pros” of both manual and electric toothbrushes, whether sonic or spinning. We don’t even have a list of “cons” since brushing with any toothbrush is better than not brushing at all!

Benefits of a Manual Toothbrush

Everyone has a manual toothbrush – or two – in their bathroom closet, probably from their last visit to the dentist. Benefits of manual toothbrushes include:

  • Inexpensive – you can get a manual toothbrush for just a few dollars in most stores .
  • Portable – with no batteries or cords, manual toothbrushes are easy to slip in your travel bag or backpack for brushing on the go.
  • Always ready – manual toothbrushes won’t run out of battery life or need recharging.
  • Choice & Availability – manual toothbrushes come in different types of bristles, sizes, and colors so you can find one that feels good in your mouth and that you will happily put on your sink. Plus, you can find them at grocery, convenience, and drug stores everywhere, so you don’t have an excuse not to brush!
  • You control the brushing – Manual toothbrushes only work when you move them across your teeth. You decide how much pressure to apply, how long to brush, and in what motion. Just be careful – many people apply too much pressure and brush too aggressively, which can be rough on your gums and enamel. If your bristles are pushed apart, that’s a sign to lighten up.
  • Easily replaced – when the bristles are frayed or you just got over a bad cold, it’s time for a new brush. Old toothbrushes can be repurposed for cleaning intricate or hard-to-reach-areas, or to scrub your bathroom.

Benefits of an Electric Toothbrush

Whether you use a spinning head electric toothbrush or a sonic-powered vibrating one, there are many benefits to getting a battery assist for your teeth and gums.

  • More strokes per minute – no matter how strong or fit you are, a human using a manual toothbrush can only move the brush around about 300 times per minute. An electric toothbrush easily does well over 1,000, with each rotation getting bristles around and between teeth for better cleaning.
  • Removes more plaque –electric toothbrushes remove up to 70% more plaque than manual toothbrushes in hard-to-reach places*.
  • Good for your gumsan 11-year study of electric vs. manual toothbrush use found that electric toothbrushes resulted in 22% less gum recession.
  • Fewer cavities and tooth decay – this may not be a surprise since electric toothbrushes remove so much more plaque than manual toothbrushes, but studies show an 18% reduction in tooth decay and cavities for electric toothbrush users.
  • Replaceable brush heads – keep the base and change only the brush heads when the bristles wear out, helping you save money – and the planet!
  • Easier to use for many people – simply hold an electric toothbrush and let it do the spinning, oscillating, or vibrating to remove plaque. Plus, the larger handles are easier to hold onto. You don’t need a strong grip, precise control, or the stamina and dexterity to keep moving the brush, making electric toothbrushes great for young, old, and in-between.
  • Helps people brush longer –less effort and built-in timers help children and adults brush beyond the average of 45 seconds and closer to the recommended two minutes, according to the American Dental Association.
  • Easier and more thorough if you have braces – the vibrations of an electric toothbrush help loosen food debris that can get caught around bonds and wires and rotating bristles get around and between hardware.
  • Additional features – some electric toothbrushes integrate with personal care and health apps, for example.

Which is Better: Electric or Manual Toothbrush?

The evidence shows electric toothbrushes are superior to manual for removing plaque and encouraging better oral hygiene, but only you can decide whether a manual or an electric toothbrush is better for you. Or both! There’s nothing to say you can’t use an electric toothbrush at home and a manual one when you travel or sleep away from home.

Here are a few of our favorite electric toothbrushes for kids and adults:

  • Spinbrush™ PRO CLEAN Toothbrush removes up to 70% more plaque vs. a manual brush in hard-to-reach places and the hydro-blocking SoftSwitch helps prevent water from leaking inside.
  • Spinbrush™ PRO WHITEN Toothbrush delivers whiter teeth in one week with specially designed rotating whitening cup in toothbrush head.
  • PAW Patrol™ Kid’s Spinbrush™ Toothbrush help your kids brush 38% longer* and remove 2X more plaque for superior teeth cleaning*

*vs. a manual brush

Benefits of Electric vs. Manual Toothbrush (2024)


Benefits of Electric vs. Manual Toothbrush? ›

Benefits of an Electric Toothbrush

Is it better to use a manual or electric toothbrush? ›

A review of studies showed that, in general, electric toothbrushes do decrease more plaque and gingivitis than manual toothbrushes. After three months of use, plaque was reduced by 21 percent and gingivitis by 11 percent. Oscillating (rotating) toothbrushes seem to work better than just vibrating toothbrushes.

What are the disadvantages of an electric toothbrush? ›

They are more expensive compared to manual toothbrushes, making them less accessible to everyone. Electric toothbrushes are also fragile and require a lot of care to prevent damage. Although you have to charge them, overcharging, dropping, or damaging the batteries can mean the end of your electric toothbrush.

Why are electric toothbrushes better for you? ›

So, are electric toothbrushes better than manual toothbrushes? The answer is a resounding yes! They are more effective at removing plaque and bacteria from your teeth, they are easier to use, and they come with built-in timers to help you brush for the recommended time period.

Is it worth switching to electric toothbrush? ›

Electric toothbrushes are worth the investment because they take the guesswork out of brushing your teeth and do much of the "heavy lifting" for you. Many also provide beneficial tools like a timer, Bluetooth capabilities, alerts to protect your gums if you're brushing too hard, and other helpful features.

Why do people still use manual toothbrushes? ›

The American Dental Association (ADA) states that manual brushing is a safe and effective method of dental biofilm removal. Manual toothbrushes are considerably less expensive than powered toothbrushes. There also tends to be more choice in bristle style, ergonomic design, color, and other features.

Why is a manual toothbrush better? ›

Always ready – manual toothbrushes won't run out of battery life or need recharging. Choice & Availability – manual toothbrushes come in different types of bristles, sizes, and colors so you can find one that feels good in your mouth and that you will happily put on your sink.

Do dentists recommend an electric toothbrush? ›

Actually, yes: Electric toothbrushes are generally considered more effective at removing plaque and keeping teeth clean than manual toothbrushes. Dental hygienist Denise Stepka, RDH, weighs in on the pros and cons of using an electric toothbrush.

Is it OK to use electric toothbrush everyday? ›

Absolutely! Using an electric toothbrush every day is generally recommended and can be beneficial for maintaining good oral hygiene. The consistent use of an electric toothbrush helps remove plaque effectively, reaches difficult-to-reach areas, and promotes better overall cleaning compared to manual brushing.

Is my electric toothbrush damaging my gums? ›

Scrubbing back and forth with an electric toothbrush can irritate and wear away at your gums over time, resulting in receding gums. Instead, simply guide your toothbrush along your teeth at a 45 degree angle to your gums – the ideal angle for sweeping away plaque from the gum line.

Is Oral-B or Sonicare better? ›

Nearly equal. Oral B works by oscillating and rotating while Sonicare vibrates. Both are equally effective as long as vibrations/oscillations occur at 31,000+ vibrations/oscillations per minute.

Can an electric toothbrush remove tartar? ›

Also, consider using an electric toothbrush as it can clean your teeth more efficiently and may help loosen and remove tartar.

Do electric toothbrushes make teeth whiter? ›

Electric toothbrushes remove surface stains from teeth more effectively than manual toothbrushes. Oscillating electric toothbrushes are generally the best for teeth whitening compared to sonic-powered toothbrushes.

How much of a difference do electric toothbrushes make? ›

The Oral Health Foundation did a study that showed electric toothbrushes do make a difference. A decade-long study found a 22% reduction in gum recession and an 18% reduction in tooth decay with electric toothbrush users. Another study resulted in similar findings.

Do more expensive electric toothbrushes make a difference? ›

Generally, expensive electric toothbrushes are designed with better build quality and more durable materials, which can contribute to a longer lifespan compared to cheaper models. They may also come with better warranties and customer support.

Are manual toothbrushes better for gums? ›

While many studies have shown electric toothbrushes to be more effective at removing plaque than manual toothbrushes, many have also shown manual and electric toothbrushes to be equally effective at maintaining optimal gum and dental health. It's the cleaning habits you create with your toothbrush that really matter.

Do you brush your teeth differently with an electric toothbrush? ›

When using an electric toothbrush it is not necessary to press hard or scrub while brushing. Instead, gently guide the brush along as it scrubs.

Is manual or electric toothbrush better for gum recession? ›

Electric toothbrushes have a considerable advantage over their manual counterparts. Other than being more effective at plaque removal, power toothbrushes are the best types of toothbrushes for gum recession. When used properly, a power toothbrush is safer on the gums and tooth enamel.

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