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Electric Toothbrush vs. Manual Toothbrush: What Are The Pros & Cons?

by Izabela Kokoszka on Apr 30, 2024

Electric Toothbrush vs. Manual Toothbrush: What Are The Pros & Cons?

Electric Toothbrush vs Manual Pros and Cons

You may be wondering if it’s worth to switch over to an electric toothbrush, as more than half of people use a manual one. To get the most important question answered, yes, both types will brush your teeth well and be able to prevent cavities. What is agreed upon is 2 minutes of twice a day brushing is needed, regardless of the brush used.

To get familiar with electric toothbrushes there are two types. The difference is in their movement and in the way that movement removes plaque.

Oscillating rotary toothbrushes. These toothbrushes have small circular heads that rotate back and forth to clean each tooth. Oscillate toothbrushes move back and forth to help remove plaque, while rotary toothbrushes rotate in a circular motion.

Sonic toothbrushes. They have vibrating brush heads that move bristles side-to-side at high speeds. They produce tens of thousands of vibrations a minute. How sonic toothbrushes work is they create high-frequency waves that help to loosen plaque from teeth instead of brushing it off in a rotating motion.

Ultrasonic toothbrushes. Just like sonic toothbrushes ultrasonic ones rely on vibration as well. They vibrate at a higher frequency, and can be seen knocking away plaque even we held 4mm away from the teeth. Of course its still recommended to apply the toothbrush to the teeth but it shows how powerful it is.

Electric toothbrushes are recommended primarily to people with receding gums as they can be gentler on the teeth and gums. They also stimulate blood flow to the gums by gently massaging them which can help them regenerate.

Manual Toothbrush Pros

Lower Cost

Manual toothbrushes can be bought at any store and for under $10.

Speed and Pressure Control

Electric toothbrushes come with one speed where as with a manual you can adjust the speed and pressure over more sensitive areas.

Quiet and Discreet

Electric toothbrushes are loud and can disrupt others when brushing early in the morning or late at night. With its small size it can be tucked away anywhere and be hidden away if sharing the space with family or roommates.

Good for Children

Teaching children how to brush their teeth is better done with a manual toothbrush because they learn how to hold it and the angles to brush at. It will teach them control over the brush and all the necessary parts of the teeth and mouth to get to. With an electric toothbrush they run it all over their teeth without learning basic brushing skills.

More Options

Manual toothbrushes come in small, medium, and large head sizes along with various shapes on handles, making it easy to pick one that fits comfortably in your hand and mouth. Softer and harder bristles can be chosen, along with the color of the handle and bristles. Some come with extra features like togue scrapers on the back of the head.

Low Maintenance

There’s no need to make sure your toothbrush is charged every night and deal with a charger or batteries to replace. It makes it ideal for traveling.

Manual Toothbrush Cons

More Abrasive Bristles

For manual toothbrushes you have the option to choose firmer bristles. If you brush too hard it’s easy to strip away at tooth enamel. An electric toothbrush can warn you as some have built in sensors for brushing too hard or at the gums.

Miss Hard to Reach Areas

The bulky head of the toothbrush can be hard to navigate in the back teeth and between them there. An electric toothbrush can easier fit in the back of the mouth and reach often overlooked spots, as well as remove the plaque by rotating over all the back teeth ridges, which is where cavities are often found.

Create More Waste

With manual toothbrushes its not possible to replace the head when the bristles are worn down and splayed out, it needs to be thrown out each time, where as with electric many options come with replacements. Extend your manual toothbrushes life by keeping it around to clean out small areas in your house.

Electric Toothbrush Pros

Built in Timers

You’ll never have to worry again if you hit the 2 minute target since many have built in times that turn off after set amount of time. Others warn you before time is about to run out or if you should be switching where you’re brushing and move onto another part of your mouth.

Smaller Head Build

Most electric toothbrushes have tiny heads which make it easier to fit in the mouth and navigate it into small often overlooked places. This also makes it easy for children to use.

Large Handle

Get a better grip on your toothbrush with a larger handle. This is beneficial with those will low dexterity as it can be securely gripped with the entire hand.

Pressure Sensor

The toothbrush can let you know if you’re playing to much pressure to a certain area to help prevent damage.

Easy to Use

The work is taken away from you and all that’s left is guiding the brush on the right path. This can greatly help older people with arthritis or other disabilities that affect in the way they can move their hand. It’s recommended to children because it ensures a good job will be done even if their tooth brushing skills aren’t there yet.

Smartphone App Availability

You can keep track of your daily tooth brushing habits, get feedback on sessions, customize a brushing mode and let you know what areas to focus on brushing next time.

Electric Toothbrush Cons


Buying an electric toothbrush is costly. Some models come with the ability to switch out replacement heads but those are still expensive, sometimes it’s easier to buy a new toothbrush instead.

Sensory Issues

Some people, especially small children may find the sensation of an electric toothbrush uncomfortable.

Loud to Use

All electric toothbrushes make noises to clean, some might find this annoying or disruptive. Just like for individuals who don’t like the motions or vibrations of the toothbrush the noise could also bother them.

Wearing Away Enamel

It’s easier to away at dentin, the tissue right below the enamel that’s exposed due to worn away enamel. This causes tooth sensitivity and risk for cavities. It also causes for gums to recede or worsen. If used properly people with receding gums are better off with an electric toothbrush however.

Overall using an electric toothbrush has its advantages in the ability for a better clean but with proper technique a manual one will keep your teeth plaque and cavity free as well.

Alternative Options

When choosing between a manual or electric toothbrush, make sure you weight the pros and cons of each. There are also revolutionary technology being pushed in both manual and toothbrushes, that helps combat some of the cons of each toothbrush. For example, the Dencle Gum Care Toothbrush provides an gentle and effective cleaning and is a great affordable option for a manual toothbrush with its unique angled handle and twist-braided bristles. Remember, effective brushing is key in preventing most common dental problems, so don't delay in investing in a quality toothbrush!

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