Here's Why You Should Be Using an Electric Toothbrush (2024)

These days, there’s a “smart” version of just about everything, from kitchen appliances to lightbulbs to cars (and beyond). In a world where technologically advanced alternatives are everywhere, it can be tough to decide which ones are nice-to-haves and which ones really have a positive impact on your life.


Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy

First invented in 1954, electric toothbrushes experienced a boom in the early 2000s. Now, they’re more popular than ever. But do they really make a difference in cleaning your teeth?

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.

Electric vs. manual toothbrush

Studies showthat electric toothbrushes do a better job of cleaning your teeth than manual toothbrushes do, which can help prevent cavities and gum disease.

But let’s back up for a second. Brushing your teeth is all about getting rid of plaque and debris. But why, exactly?Plaqueis a sticky film that forms on your teeth and produces acid, which can break down tooth enamel and causecavities and tooth decay. Plaque can also irritate your gums and causegingivitis, an early stage ofgum (periodontal) disease. If it’s not removed, plaque can harden into tartar, which can only be removed by a dental professional.

Electric toothbrushes, which are typically powered by a rechargeable battery, use electricity to move a small brush head at high speed.“This rapid movement removes plaque and debris from your teeth and gums,” Stepka explains.

There are two main types of electric toothbrush technology:

  • Oscillating-rotating technologymeans the brush head spins and rotates as it cleans. This was the first kind of electric toothbrush to hit the market, anda 2005 studywas the first to show that it cleaned better than manual brushes.
  • Sonic technologyuses ultrasound and sonic waves to vibrate as you brush. Some models use Bluetooth to send information about your brushing habits and technique to a smartphone app, helping you improve your brushing over time.

Benefits of electric toothbrush

Overall, using an electric toothbrush can be a good way to improve your oral hygiene and help keep your teeth and gums healthy.

“I’ve seen patients who have had difficulty with home care have an overall decrease in plaque, tartar and stain when using an electric toothbrush,” Stepka says. “I think it’s a combination of the brush being more effective and patients brushing for longer because of the two-minute timers that many of these brushes have.”

Here’s what electric toothbrushes offer:

  1. A more reliable clean:“Electric toothbrushes can produce thousands of strokes per minute to remove plaque from your teeth,” Stepka explains. “Your manual toothbrush, meanwhile, works only as fast as your own hand.”
  2. Specialized features:Many electric toothbrushes have built-in features like timers and pressure sensors to help you brush properly and for the recommended amount of time. Some offer multiple brushing modes, which can be helpful for people with sensitive teeth or gums.
  3. Ease of use:“Because electric toothbrushes do most of the work of brushing for you, they’re sometimes easier to use for people who have limited dexterity or hand mobility,” Stepka says.


Risks of using an electric toothbrush

As with just about everything, there are a few potential downsides to consider. The main risk of usual an electric toothbrush, Stepka says, is the same as the main risk of using a manual toothbrush: The possibility that you might brush too hard.

“You might think that brushing harder equals getting your teeth cleaner, but brushing too hard can actually wear at your tooth enamel and your gums,” Stepka warns.Yikes! But the pressure sensors on some models of electric toothbrushes can be a good way to make sure you’re not doing this kind of damage when you brush.

Some other downsides:

  • Cost:Electric toothbrushes are more expensive than their manual counterparts and require new brush heads every three months or so, which adds to the overall cost of ownership.
  • Discomfort:Some people find the sensation of the brush moving in their mouth to be uncomfortable or off-putting. This may be especially true if you have sensory processing issues.
  • Electricity:It may sound like a no-brainer, but electric toothbrushes require electricity to operate! This means they may be inconvenient or even impossible to recharge if you don’t have access to a reliable power source, like during travel.

Should you use an electric toothbrush?

Electric toothbrushes can certainly work wonders for your overall oral hygiene. But if this kind of purchase isn’t in the cards for you right now, don’t fret.

“You don’tneedto have an electric toothbrush to clean your teeth effectively,” Stepka says. “A manual brush will do a great job if used properly and for the two-minute recommended brushing time.”

Always select a toothbrush with soft or extra-soft bristles, and try to find one with a relatively small brush head so that you can more easily reach behind your last molars.

Not sure whether you’re brushing quite right? Don’t hesitate to ask your dentist, periodontist or dental hygienist for guidance. They’ll be happy to help you, er,brush upon your technique so that you can keep plaque and tartar at bay.


Here's Why You Should Be Using an Electric Toothbrush (2024)


Here's Why You Should Be Using an Electric Toothbrush? ›

The Pros of Electric Toothbrushes

Thorough yet gentle cleaning- Electric toothbrushes are less abrasive yet more thorough than a traditional toothbrushes. As a result, you can remove a more significant amount of plaque. Added accuracy and convenience- A built-in timer helps you keep accurate track of brushing time.

Why should you use an electric toothbrush? ›

The Pros of Electric Toothbrushes

Thorough yet gentle cleaning- Electric toothbrushes are less abrasive yet more thorough than a traditional toothbrushes. As a result, you can remove a more significant amount of plaque. Added accuracy and convenience- A built-in timer helps you keep accurate track of brushing time.

Do dentists recommend an electric toothbrush? ›

They found that sonic toothbrushes reduce the signs of periodontal disease and the number of teeth lost. Other studies have concluded that electric toothbrushes are more effective than manual ones at removing plaque, one of the main culprits of cavities and gum disease.

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.

What is the point of a vibrating toothbrush? ›

The straight, stationary bristles don't effectively reach into all the crevices where food hides between teeth. With a rotating and/or vibrating brush head, an electric toothbrush reaches into those areas to thoroughly clean them while applying equal pressure from the brush.

Is it OK to use electric toothbrush everyday? ›

Yes. Oral-B electrical toothbrushes are safe to use, intended for daily usage.

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*.

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 #1 dentist recommended electric toothbrush? ›

As the most gentle electric toothbrush that offered a near-instantaneous brighter smile with each use, the Philips Sonicare 4100 Power Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush is the clear-cut winner among this list. Not only is it fairly priced between $35 and $50 on the market but its quality is second to none.

What is the #1 electric toothbrush? ›

Oral-B Pro1000 Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush

With all the coveted benefits of an electric toothbrush — like a rotating head to remove plaque, a pressure sensor to prevent you from brushing too hard and a two-minute timer — it rings in at a fraction of the cost of many others.

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 vs.

Battery-powered toothbrushes require you to provide all or most of the brushing action, moving the brush back and forth along all sides of your teeth and gums. In contrast, rechargeable electric toothbrushes provide the cleaning action while you need only guide it along all surfaces.

What is the best toothbrush? ›

Our tester recommends the Oral-B Pro Health All In One Soft Toothbrush for gentle cleaning action that still gets the job done. The rounded, angled bristles clean deep between teeth and along the gum line, while the gum stimulators help improve blood flow—leaving you with healthy, happy gums.

Should you wet your toothpaste before brushing? ›

Are You Supposed to Wet Toothpaste? Wetting your toothbrush before brushing is generally a matter of personal preference. There's some debate about wetting toothpaste before brushing and its effects on efficacy, but the ADA doesn't provide official guidance.

Why don't my teeth feel clean after electric toothbrush? ›

Brush for Two Minutes

One of the most common reasons why teeth don't feel clean after being brushed is because the process was rushed. You should be brushing your teeth twice a day for at least two minutes every time.

Do electric toothbrushes cause gum recession? ›

Electric toothbrushes are generally considered safer for gums. In addition, soft bristles are recommended over hard bristles, regardless of toothbrush type. As aggressive brushing can lead to gum recession, an electric toothbrush with better, soft bristles can be superior for gum health.

What do dentists say about electric toothbrushes? ›

Manual Toothbrush Efficacy. A 2021 Meta-Analysis has shown that electric toothbrushes are more efficient than manual ones at removing plaque and bacteria from teeth and gums, preventing cavities and gum disease. The primary goal of brushing your teeth is to eliminate debris and plaque.

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

Benefits of an Electric Toothbrush

Removes more plaque –electric toothbrushes remove up to 70% more plaque than manual toothbrushes in hard-to-reach places*. Good for your gums – an 11-year study of electric vs. manual toothbrush use found that electric toothbrushes resulted in 22% less gum recession.

What type of toothbrush do dentists recommend? ›

The consensus recommendation is for people to brush their teeth for two minutes twice a day with a toothbrush that has soft bristles. Replace toothbrushes every three to four months or more often if the bristles are visibly matted or frayed. Either manual or powered toothbrushes can be used effectively.

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Nathanial Hackett

Last Updated:

Views: 6137

Rating: 4.1 / 5 (72 voted)

Reviews: 87% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Nathanial Hackett

Birthday: 1997-10-09

Address: Apt. 935 264 Abshire Canyon, South Nerissachester, NM 01800

Phone: +9752624861224

Job: Forward Technology Assistant

Hobby: Listening to music, Shopping, Vacation, Baton twirling, Flower arranging, Blacksmithing, Do it yourself

Introduction: My name is Nathanial Hackett, I am a lovely, curious, smiling, lively, thoughtful, courageous, lively person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.