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Electric vs Manual Toothbrush

August 30, 2018

Filed under: Oral Health — northyork_team @ 7:19 pm

If you have ever perused down the oral healthcare aisle at your local grocery store or pharmacy, you understand how overwhelming it can be to decide on a product. Toothbrushes are essential for oral health, and there are innumerable options available. It can be difficult to determine which type you need. Today, Dr. Eli Shem-Tov at North York Dental explores electric vs manual toothbrushes and discusses the pros and cons of each.

Manual toothbrushes

Tried and true, manual toothbrushes have been widely accessible for a long time. These can be found virtually anywhere, in every department store, grocery store, and pharmacy.

Pros of manual toothbrushes

The most obvious benefit of a manual toothbrush is its affordable price tag. Most toothbrushes can be purchased for just a few dollars, making them the most cost-effective option. These brushes don’t need to be charged up, either, so you can brush your teeth anytime, anywhere.

Cons of manual toothbrushes

Some experts believe that a manual toothbrush increases the likelihood of aggressive brushing, which can damage your teeth and gums. One 2013 study supported this claim.[1] Additionally, a manual toothbrush does not have a built-in timer. Individuals who have grown accustomed to this feature (common on electric brushes) may have difficulty determining if they have brushed long enough. A simple remedy to this problem is to purchase a kitchen timer and place it on your bathroom counter. (For the record, the CDA states that brushing should take approximately two to three minutes.)

Electric toothbrushes

Electric toothbrushes have become much more common in the past couple of decades. These brushes have rotating or vibrating bristles to help thoroughly remove plaque deposits from the teeth.

Pros of electric toothbrushes

There are plenty of advantages to using an electric toothbrush. For example, many patients with limited mobility feel they can clean their teeth more thoroughly with an electric brush. The same can be said for individuals wearing orthodontic appliances. Numerous experts believe that electric toothbrushes clean the teeth better than their manual counterparts, and a research study confirmed this hunch. After three months of use, plaque was reduced by 21 percent and gingivitis was reduced by 11 percent.[2]

In addition, some individuals feel that electric brushes help them focus more on the task at hand and enhance their overall experience. Folks who prefer built-in timers usually prefer an electric brush over a manual one, as it helps them know when they’ve brushed long enough to be effective.

Cons of electric toothbrushes

The primary complaint about electric toothbrushes is the cost. They are typically much more expensive compared to their manual counterparts. Additionally, electric brushes need to be charged in order to use them. This can pose a problem when traveling, especially abroad, as adapters are often necessary.

What do the experts say?

The majority of the toothbrushes on the market – manual and electric alike – are approved by Health Canada and the Canadian Dental Association. However, there are some products that have been validated for safety and efficacy through testing and trials. These can be found on the CDA’s website.

Contact North York Dental

Do you want to learn more about developing healthy oral hygiene habits? If so, schedule a consultation at our North York, ON dental practice. Contact us online anytime or call us at 416-494-7878.

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