Benefits of Manual vs Electric ToothbrushesBy Dr Anthony Hua
From the time our first tooth appeared, we’ve been brushing with gusto. Now, with so many varieties of toothbrushes on the market, the decision on which ones are the best for our oral health can be overwhelming.
Gum disease has become the leading cause of tooth loss in adults around the world, so choosing the type of toothbrush you use will only be effective if you use it correctly and regularly.
The number one reason why we brush and floss our teeth is to remove plaque, which is a biofilm of bacteria that attaches itself to our teeth. To do the best job we can at brushing, there is a fine line between brushing so hard that we cause damage to the teeth and gums but brushing firm enough that we remove the plaque.
For some people achieving the perfect balance of the right pressure of brushing can come down to which brush to use.
Here we list the pros and cons of using a manual versus an electric toothbrush so you can make the best decision for your teeth.
Wider variety of options for manual toothbrushes
One of the most significant benefits of manual toothbrushes is that there’s a wider variety of options. The supermarket shelves are packed full of lots of different types, including heads that come in small, medium and large sizes. Most also come with handy tongue scrapers on the back, different angled heads, and bristles with criss-cross designs to help clean more effectively.
There are even new designs of manual toothbrushes with charcoal-infused bristles for a whiter clean and brushes made of bamboo. Every year in Australia, we throw away over 30 million plastic toothbrushes that never get recycled. Bamboo toothbrushes have become increasingly popular because they are biodegradable, and people can utilise them if looking for an eco-friendlier and zero waste lifestyle when it comes to brushing their teeth
More control with a manual toothbrush
Another benefit to manual toothbrushes is they allow you to have more control over the brushing process and how hard the pressure is on the teeth and gums. This is especially important and helpful for people who feel a lot of discomfort and twinges when brushing as they can apply the pressure and the speed they desire.
Manual toothbrushes are cheaper and more convenient for travel
Manual toothbrushes are significantly cheaper than electric toothbrushes and much more convenient to take away with you overnight somewhere or on long trips. They are much more convenient to travel with as you don’t need to charge them or use batteries and if you forget your toothbrush, there are always places to buy a manual toothbrush anywhere in the world.
Electric toothbrushes are less work
One of the great things about any machine is it takes away a lot of the manual work for you. The powered rotation of the electric bristles will help loosen the plaque without you having to do much at all accept hold the bristles on each tooth. This can be very helpful for people with disabilities, arthritis or people who have limits in their hand and arm control.
Electric toothbrushes are better for sensitive teeth
The range of variable speeds can be useful for people who have sensitive teeth and gums, and some brands of electric toothbrushes even have warning lights that activate if too much pressure is being applied to the teeth.
Electric toothbrushes help kids brush more
It’s hard enough to get little ones into the habit of regular brushing, so most parents find that anything that is more fun that helps them brush is a bonus. Kids find the rotation easy to use, and they can get into more challenging areas in their little mouths easier than a manual brush with a larger head. Often electric toothbrushes also include an in-built timer to make sure the kids are brushing their teeth for at least two minutes.
Electric toothbrushes are better to use with braces
Due to their detailed cleaning, many dentists recommend electric toothbrushes for use on braces. Consult with your dentist or orthodontist before choosing a model and when brushing braces ensure the bristles surround the brackets. Always be careful that you’re not applying too much pressure as it can damage the brackets and attachments. Be sure to slow down and brush each tooth individually.
Both manual and electric toothbrushes can be used just as effectively with the correct technique to keep your mouth clean and your teeth healthy. The key is to brush and floss every day, regardless of the kind of brush you prefer. The biggest concern with brushing is more about cleaning the teeth and gums effectively to help avoid unnecessary fillings and the potential risk of gum disease.
When it comes to optimising your oral health, the most important tip is to keep up with your regular oral hygiene routine of brushing twice daily, flossing and having regular six-monthly preventative care appointments to help minimise tooth decay and gum conditions.
Article by Dr Anthony Hua – Principal Dentist
Dr Anthony Hua is the Founder & Principal Dentist at Burleigh Dental Studio. His passion, expertise and dedication to the field of dentistry have been recognised by his achievement of Fellowship status with the Australian Society of Implant Dentistry (ASID) and the International Congress of Oral Implantologists (ICOI).
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