Can Electric Toothbrushes Damage Teeth? (Risks & Benefits) (2024)

Electric toothbrushes are becoming an increasingly popular way to clean your teeth and are used by over 131.43 million Americans.

However, electric toothbrushes are extremely powerful, which leads to one key question: can electric toothbrushes damage teeth?

Part of their popularity is the way that they have always been marketed as the better mouth-cleaning option, but does this come without risk?

While electric toothbrushes are a great way to ensure you look after your teeth properly, there is some risk associated with them if they are used incorrectly!

To give you all the information you need to know about the risks associated with electric toothbrushes and how to use them safely, this article will cover:

  • What risks are associated with electric toothbrushes
  • The benefits of using an electric toothbrush
  • Tips for safely using an electric toothbrush
  • How to choose the right electric toothbrush.

Let’s get into it!

Are There Any Risks of Using Electric Toothbrushes?

If you have ever used an electric toothbrush, you will have likely noticed that they are extremely powerful especially when compared to manual toothbrushes.

This has led many to wonder whether these toothbrushes are doing more harm than good, and a fair amount of research has been carried out to determine just that!

In short, the evidence suggests that there is some risk of teeth damage. However, this can be avoided if the toothbrush is used properly and you do not overbrush your teeth.

The main risk is damage to two different parts of your teeth. The first part of the tooth at risk of an electric toothbrush is the enamel. Enamel is the hard layer on the outside of your teeth that protects the inner tissue of the tooth.

While enamel is extremely hard and durable, an electric toothbrush used with excessive force can cause the enamel to wear away. This leaves the tooth without protection and can cause issues such as sensitivity and an increased risk of cavities.

If the enamel is worn, then there is an additional risk of dentin abrasion. Dentin is the tissue that sits underneath the enamel and protects the tooth’s nerves.

According to research, an electric toothbrush is the most likely device to cause lesions and abrasion on the dentin, which in turn can also increase the risk of cavities and cause serious sensitivity in the tooth.

However, the research is also clear that this damage can be minimized if the toothbrush is used correctly.

Damage is typically caused when an electric toothbrush is misused or overused, which is why it is so important that you properly utilize the device.

Benefits of Using Electric Toothbrushes

While electric toothbrushes come with some risks, they also carry with them many benefits.

One of the key benefits is a truly superior clean. Research has indicated that an electric toothbrush does a much better job of cleaning your teeth compared to a regular toothbrush.

The rounded shape and high-powered rotations of the brush head all do a much better job of controlling plaque and food buildup on the teeth!

A cochrane review study showed benefits in using a powered toothbrush when compared with a manual toothbrush. There was an 11% reduction in plaque at one to three months of use, and a 21% reduction in plaque when assessed after three months of use. For gingivitis, there was a 6% reduction at one to three months of use and an 11% reduction when assessed after three months of use.

Additionally, electric toothbrushes come with an array of extra features that manual toothbrushes do not.

This includes timers, pressure sensors, and even indicators for when it is time to change the brush head. All this leads to a more hygienic and ultimately cleaner mouth and the end of every brush.

Some toothbrushes also have customizable settings to allow users to adjust the device to their exact needs.

This is extremely important for those who have specific issues with their teeth as it allows them to tailor their cleaning routine to their specific preferences.

Finally, electric toothbrushes are the more environmentally sustainable option – which is an important benefit that many people fail to take into account!

Unlike a manual toothbrush, only the head of the electric toothbrush is replaced – which creates significantly less plastic waste and overall lowers your environmental footprint.

Tips for Safe and Effective Use of Electric Toothbrushes

To make sure the pros outweigh the cons when using an electric toothbrush, you need to use them properly and be mindful of your brushing habits.

Here are some of our top tips to help you safely and effectively use your electric toothbrush:

  • Brushing time: One of the key factorsin tooth damage caused by electric toothbrushes is overbrushing. Exposing the tooth to the high-frequency vibrations for too long can cause the enamel and dental to wear away. There is a reason most electric toothbrushes have a built-in two-minute timer - this is the optimal time to ensure teeth are cleaned without damaging them! Stick to the timer and make sure you don’t exceed a two-minute brush time.
  • Choose the right brush head: Not all brush heads are created equal! Some are harder or softer than others, and there are also a variety of materials available. Using the incorrect brush head for your teeth can cause damage in the long run and leave you with an increased risk of cavities. If you want a general brush head that is safe and effective, we recommend these activated charcoal ones from Boka.
  • Replace the brush head often: Due to the high frequency of the vibrations and rotations, brush heads can wear away quite quickly and leave you with an ineffective brush. It is recommended that you change brush heads every 3-4 months, or even sooner if the bristles start to fray.
  • Maintain gentle pressure: Research has also indicated that forceful pressure when using an electric toothbrush can increase the risk of damage. Make sure you are using a light hand when brushing your teeth and let the brush do the work for you! An electric toothbrush provides more than enough power on its own, and accompanying it with hard pressure on your teeth can have unwanted effects.
  • Avoid over-brushing: It is recommended that you brush your teeth two times a day, but you should not exceed this. Brushing more than twice a day can be too abrasive for the teeth and cause the enamel or dentin to wear down. By brushing once in the morning and once at night, you ensure that you are not over-exposing your teeth to the electric toothbrush.
  • Consult your dentist: Dentists are the experts when it comes to oral care, and it is important you consult them regularly to ensure you are correctly and effectively using your electric toothbrush. Your dentist can give you recommendations on which toothbrush is right for you, and can also specify which brush heads and settings are needed for your mouth to be cleaned as safely as possible.

Choosing the Right Electric Toothbrush

Choosing the right electric toothbrush is a big part of correctly and safely using the device. Here are some of the key considerations to take into account when choosing your next brush.

The Type of Electric Toothbrush

There are two main types of electric toothbrushes: oscillating and sonic. An oscillating toothbrush is one where the head of the toothbrush turns, which then provides the cleaning action on the tooth. They are thought to make around 2500 to 7500 rotations per minute.

On the other hand, a sonic toothbrush’s head moves side to side at even faster speeds! It is thought a sonic toothbrush delivers a whopping 30,000 vibrations per minute.

Both types of electric toothbrushes are highly regarded, however, they are not right for everyone. Some may benefit more from a sonic brush, while others an oscillating brush.

Selecting the correct model is a key factor in ensuring you get the most out of your electric toothbrush without damaging your teeth.

Toothbrush Features

You should also take into account the various features of an electric toothbrush before choosing it as the one for you.

Some features to consider are whether it has a timer, the bristle type, the shape of the brush head, and even if it has a built-in pressure sensor.

Whether or not you want a specific feature in your toothbrush is down to personal preference, however, you should take this into account before selecting a toothbrush.

It is vitally important you choose a product that is right for you and your teeth!

Our Recommendation

If you want an electric toothbrush that does all the work for you (but minimizes risk and helps you to brush safely), you cannot go past the Boka Electric Toothbrush 2.0!

This electric toothbrush uses sonic technology and activated charcoal bristles to deliver an unparalleled clean that will leave you with that same feeling you get after visiting the dentist.

With its stainless-steel accents, long-lasting battery, and magnetic charging base, this toothbrush has everything you could ever want. If you’re looking to step up your oral hygiene game, this is the electric toothbrush for you!

Related Reads:

  • How Often Should You Change Your Electric Toothbrush Head?
  • How Long Do Electric Toothbrushes Last? (+Lifespan Increase Tips)
  • Are Electric Toothbrushes Waterproof? (+Tips for Usage)
  • How to Use an Electric Toothbrush Properly (Step-By-Step)
Can Electric Toothbrushes Damage Teeth? (Risks & Benefits) (2024)


Can Electric Toothbrushes Damage Teeth? (Risks & Benefits)? ›

According to research, an electric toothbrush is the most likely device to cause lesions and abrasion on the dentin, which in turn can also increase the risk of cavities and cause serious sensitivity in the tooth. However, the research is also clear that this damage can be minimized if the toothbrush is used correctly.

What are the negative effects of electric toothbrushes? ›

Using an electric toothbrush won't damage your teeth — but misusing one can lead to tooth damage, sensitivity, and gum recession. If you're considering investing in an electric toothbrush, keep reading as Taylor Dental explains how to prevent tooth damage when brushing your teeth.

Do dentists recommend electric toothbrushes? ›

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.

What are the pros and cons of an electric toothbrush? ›

Manual vs. Electric Toothbrush
AspectsManual ToothbrushElectric Toothbrush
CostLowHigh initial outlay, then low
Cleaning efficiencyAdequateSuperior, proven to clean teeth better.
Ease of useEasy, but requires good techniqueEasy, less technique dependent
PortabilityVery portableSlightly bulkier but still portable
3 more rows
Jan 8, 2024

Why do my teeth hurt after using an electric toothbrush? ›

Excessive pressure while using an electric toothbrush can lead to enamel wear and gum irritation, which results in acute sensitivity and toothache after using electric toothbrush.

What is the electric toothbrush scandal? ›

According to a report by the Aargauer Zeitung (spotted by Tom's Hardware), hackers infected nearly three million electric toothbrushes to turn them into botnets. The report also notes that this army of connected dental cleansing tools was used in a DDoS attack on a Swiss company's website.

Is electric toothbrush good or bad for gums? ›

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.

Do dentists recommend oral B or sonicare? ›

Sonicare's heads are large and flat compared to Oral-B's small round brushes, and they're long-lasting, according to Wellspring Dental dentist Mandy Nebel, who prefers Sonicare over other brands. This specific model — one of two from the brand accepted by the ADA — is a more entry-level Sonicare.

What is the downside of a sonic toothbrush? ›

However sonic brushes do have one major drawback; they tend to be quite expensive compared to both manual and electric versions making them cost-prohibitive for some users with tighter budgets who still want a quality brush for cleaning their teeth thoroughly each day!

Which is better, an electric or battery operated toothbrush? ›

Battery Powered Toothbrush:

Provides a better clean than a manual, but is not at the same level as a rechargeable electric toothbrush. You will still need to brush back and forth, but there's added vibrations to help lift and remove stubborn plaque.

Is it safe to use an 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.

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.

What is the best electric toothbrush for sensitive teeth? ›

Best for Sensitive Teeth

The Oral-B iO Series 5 toothbrush is an excellent choice for sensitive teeth, thanks to its specialized sensitivity modes and gentle brushing experience. The toothbrush offers multiple settings (sensitive, extra sensitive, intense, polish) and various intensity levels.

Can an electric toothbrush damage enamel? ›

The high-speed oscillating or rotating bristles may lead to enamel wear or gum irritation if excessive pressure is applied during brushing. Additionally, using a brush head that's too abrasive or brushing too vigorously can exacerbate the risk of damage.

Can electric toothbrushes cause nerve pain? ›

Once a person has trigeminal neuralgia, pain episodes can be triggered by contact with the cheek or jaw. Episodes can also be brought on by vibration. This is why many with TN avoid electric toothbrushes, as the vibration of the toothbrush head can trigger an attack.

What are the disadvantages of electric toothbrushes for kids? ›

A: Some disadvantages of electric toothbrush include the higher cost compared to manual toothbrushes, the need for regular battery or charger replacements, and maintenance requirements.

Are electric toothbrushes better for oral health? ›

Electric toothbrushes are far more effective at removing plaque, limiting its damaging effects on oral health. In fact, the study showed that electric toothbrush users experienced 20% less tooth loss compared to manual users thanks to a lowered rate of gum disease development*.

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