Patients sometimes ask Dr. Aaron Langdon or our dental team, “What is the right toothbrush? Are electric toothbrushes better than manual toothbrushes?” The short answer is no. The longer answer is maybe. It really depends on your preferences, your overall oral health and how you brush. So read on to learn how you might answer the question…are electric toothbrushes better.

Manual Toothbrushes

If you are brushing with a manual toothbrush, have no problems reaching your teeth, and your overall oral health is good, then keep on using your manual brush.

Manual toothbrushes have a few advantages over electric toothbrushes:

  • They are easier to find and buy – manual toothbrushes are available in most pharmacies, grocery stores and even corner stores.
  • They travel well – you don’t have to worry about making sure they’re charged in, or fuss around with power adapters if you travel overseas.
  • They’re simple – unlike electric toothbrushes, there’s not a lot of different features, bells and whistles. Although the toothbrush aisle is getting more crowded with choice, the basics of a manual toothbrush don’t vary much between brands.

Electric Toothbrushes

Electric toothbrushes vibrate or oscillate (rotate) to remove plaque from your teeth and gums. With manual toothbrushes, you do all the work. Some studies have shown that electric toothbrushes are better at decreasing plaque and gingivitis, but the evidence is far from clear.

Some electric toothbrushes have features like built-in timers that make sure you are brushing your teeth the appropriate amount of time.

  • Patients who use electric toothbrushes often say they find it easier to brush than with manual toothbrushes.
  • Since you are only disposing of the toothbrush head, electric toothbrushes may be better for the environment than disposable manual toothbrushes made from plastic.
  • Electric toothbrushes may be more fun for kids to use, making it easier to get them to brush properly.

When Are Electric Toothbrushes Better?

You may prefer an electric toothbrush if:

  • You have braces – some studies say electric toothbrushes clean braces better than manual brushes.
  • Your gums bleed when you brush – this may be a sign that you are pressing too hard when you brush. It may be easier for you to use an electric toothbrush.
  • You have arthritis or mobility issues – if you have conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome or arthritis, especially in your wrists, it may be less painful to use an electric toothbrush.
  • You are a caregiver brushing another person’s teeth – for example an elderly parent or family member with a disability.

Make a Choice Selecting Right Toothbrush

Regardless of whether you choose a manual or electric toothbrush, here are some things you should consider:

  • Choose a soft brush with rounded bristles.
  • Choose a size and shape that allows you to reach all the way to your back teeth.
  • Choose the right toothbrush that has the Canadian Dental Association Seal. The CDA Seal lets you know that the health benefit claims on the package have been independently reviewed and supported by evidence.

So, are electric toothbrushes better for you? If you really want to know, you may have to try one and see.

Regular Brushing and Flossing is Critical for Good Oral Health

Brushing after every meal, and at least twice a day is recommended. Brushing your teeth properly removes the bacteria and plaque that promote tooth decay and gum disease. Brush thoroughly for at least two to three minutes each time.

Flossing every day helps remove that same plaque and bacteria from between your teeth. Most of this cannot be reached with a toothbrush. Plaque is the main cause of gum disease – this is why your dentist talks so much about the benefits of flossing.

See our Blog Tips on Maintaining Healthy Gums for more information.

Regular Check-ups and Cleanings are Important for a Healthy Mouth!

Routine dental checkups and cleanings to remove plaque and inspect your teeth for signs of damage, decay or cancer are important for your oral health, and overall health. Don’t forget to make your next appointment at Cranberry Hill Dentistry, your dentist in Waterdown, by using the online form below. Contact us today – we want to see your beautiful smile!

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Canadian Dental Association – Flossing and Brushing

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