Brushing teeth is critical to good oral care and preventing teeth and gum problems. According to the ADA (American Dental Association), manual and electric toothbrushes are great at removing oral plaque that causes periodontal disease and tooth decay.

      However, they each have their pros and cons. The ADA approves using any toothbrush, whether manual or electric, as long as it’s effective and safe. Here is what you need to know about both types, including their pros and cons, to help you decide which is ideal.

      What to look for in an electric toothbrush

      When choosing an electric toothbrush, consider the following:

      Stroke motion

      Oscillating/rotating toothbrush

      This type of electric toothbrush has bristles running in circles around the teeth. With their circular motion, the bristles remove plaque from all angles.

      These brush types produce 7,500 brush strokes every minute, which is a big deal compared to manual brushes.

      Ultrasonic/sonic toothbrush

      Ultrasonic toothbrushes provide superior speeds of up to 5000 strokes a minute plus vibrations that move the head backward and forward, allowing you to get all plaque and food particles stuck between your teeth. While practical, it’s not recommended for individuals with sensitive gums or those healing from dental procedures.

      Brush heads

      The power of an electric brush is in its head. Here are some brush head features to consider:

      • Bristle texture – electric brushes have varying bristles designed for different sensitivities, including soft, extra soft, and medium qualities
      • Small head toothbrush – some electric toothbrushes are designed to cater to specific age groups, from toddlers to adults

      Special electric toothbrush features:

      • Timers – dentists recommend brushing your teeth for a minimum of two minutes. Unfortunately, this might not be easy to track when using manual toothbrushes. Electric toothbrushes have built-in timers that track brushing time to ensure you adhere to a brushing routine.
      • Quad pacers – some electric toothbrushes include a feature to help brush the upper, lower, left, and right parts of your mouth to give you an even and efficient clean.
      • Cleaning modes – some electric toothbrushes have high-speed whitening and polishing modes that ensure efficient cleaning after consuming different foods. Moreover, they allow you to switch settings depending on your sensitivity.
      • Tongue fresheners – some brush heads have tongue fresheners and cleaners that help control bad breath.
      • Travel friendly – some electric brushes come in storage cases that are ideal for carrying around when traveling.

      Benefits of an electric toothbrush

      Studies reveal that electric toothbrushes have the upper hand over manual toothbrushes in maintaining good oral health. But even then, discussing their pros and cons with your dentist is essential. Here are some benefits of using an electric toothbrush

      • Effective at reducing gingivitis and plaque compared to manual toothbrushes – in 2019, an 11-year German study revealed that patients who used electric toothbrushes have better oral health, including less tooth loss and gum disease than patients who used manual brushes.
      • Better gum health – in a 2017 review, orthodontic patients were found to have better gum health. In addition, they experienced less bleeding and inflammation when using electric toothbrushes than manual ones.
      • Great for kids – a small 2013 study revealed that electric toothbrushes are better for removing plaque for kids than manual toothbrushes.
      • Better for the older population – electric toothbrushes are suitable for the senior generation because they have easy-to-hold handles, and the built-in vibration mechanism gets the job done without solid hand and arm movements. Electric toothbrushes also come in handy for people with arthritis.
      • Extra features – some electric toothbrushes have superior features that help you track brushing and oral health. Some include smartphone apps, sensors, and timers that help users count down the recommended two-minute brush time.
      • Waste reduction – although you need to replace the head of an electric toothbrush after a couple of months, like with a manual toothbrush, instead of disposing of the entire toothbrush, you only discard the head, which reduces plastic waste.