Electric Toothbrush vs Manual: What You Need to Know

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Technology is always evolving, and technology has rooted itself into the dental world. X-rays are one example of how innovations benefit dental professionals in the office. A technology that helps you at home is the electric toothbrush. That begs the question: Is there a difference between the electric toothbrush vs manual toothbrush?

Brushing Technique

Before choosing the type of brush to add to your oral care toolbelt, study up on how to brush to get the best results.

Brush your teeth for at least two full minutes. It isn't a race, so there's no medal for finishing as fast as you can. Brushing strokes should be short and gentle. Don't brush too hard. As you practice proper form, pay attention to areas adjacent to past dental work, like crowns or fillings, the gumline and the back teeth. Once you have the stroke technique down, clean your teeth in the following order:

  • Upper teeth along the gumline followed by upper teeth outer surfaces
  • Lower teeth along the gumline followed by lower teeth outer surfaces
  • Upper teeth along the gumline followed by inner surfaces
  • Lower teeth along the gumline followed by inner surfaces
  • Chewing surfaces
  • Don't forget about the tongue, as scraping it to remove food debris and bacteria and freshens breath

Selection Criteria

The American Dental Association (ADA) offers tips on how to choose the best type of toothbrush. Whether you decide to give electrical a shot or stick with the traditional manual toothbrush, it should display the ADA Seal of Acceptance. That means the manufacturer has provided scientific data to the ADA that the toothbrush lives up to its claims.

Electric Toothbrush vs Manual Toothbrush

According to the ADA, both electric and manual toothbrushes clean teeth in an equally effective manner. One reason to opt for electric stems from having a physical limitation, like arthritis, that makes it challenging to properly grip a manual brush.

The Cochrane Oral Health Group reviewed electric toothbrushes compared to manual toothbrushes. An electric toothbrush reduces plaque by 11 percent within the first three months of use and by 21 percent after three months. Plaque reduction isn't the only benefit from using an electric toothbrush. Cochrane also discovered a 6 percent gingivitis reduction during the first three months of use. That increased to 11 percent after three months.

It's no coincidence that brushing results in healthy, white smiles. Brushing helps to protect tooth enamel – your teeth's first layer of defense. Enamel protects teeth from plaque and acids that cause decay and erosion. If the erosion is severe, the dentin (the layer beneath the enamel) may show through. The dentin has a yellow color to it. So, the stronger your tooth enamel is, the whiter your teeth will remain.

Whether you're partial to one side in the Colgate 360 Total Advanced Powered toothbrush, that removes 4 times more bacteria than the leading battery powered toothbrush, vs manual toothbrush debate, what matters most is maintaining a good oral care regimen. That means brushing at least twice a day and following up with flossing. The combination of brushing and flossing reduces plaque (the substance that ultimately leads to tooth decay and gingivitis). Schedule regular dental check-ups as well. Your dentist can identify conditions, such as gingivitis, that you might not be aware of developing in your mouth. And that will allow you to flash a healthy smile no matter the type of toothbrush you use.

Overwhelmed by the choices in the supermarket?

Selecting dental products can improve your smile but it’s important to protect it with frequent brushing. Try one of our toothpastes to help keep your smile safe.