Should I use an Electric Toothbrush?

Electric-toothbrushes- article

This must be one of the most common questions when buying a toothbrush.  An electric toothbrush is not cheap and so we all want to know whether it is worth the investment.  Does an electric toothbrush really does offer us much more than brushing with a cheaper manual toothbrush?  

At Toothbrush Advisor, we feel the main benefit is that an electric toothbrush does the work for you!  This sounds a bit lazy but for children and those less mobile or aware of the best brushing techniques, this is actually really important.  The pressure applied, rotating heads and built in timers offered by most electric toothbrushes can all reduce tooth decay and form part of a good oral hygiene routine.  It is also safer for your gums and enamel as the electric toothbrush applies the correct amount of pressure.  Built in timers are common and ensure you brush for the correct amount of time – this is a feature which is particularly useful for children.

Like anything, whether you NEED an electric toothbrush depends on the individual.  You can keep your teeth clean and healthy with a good manual toothbrush, if you brush and floss regularly and thoroughly with a medium bristle brush.  

However, studies suggest quite conclusively that long-term, your teeth and gums are better off if you use an electric toothbrush.  The Oral Health Foundation‘s 11 year study is the longest study carried out into the effectiveness of manual brushing vs electric brushing.  Dr Nigel Carter OBE, chief executive, states that the research “is one of the strongest and clearest yet”.  The Foundation states that ‘people who use an electric toothbrush have healthier gums, less toooth decay and also keep their teeth for longer, compared with those who use a manual toothbrush’. 

According to the American Dental Association (ADA): A review of studies showed that, in general, electric toothbrushes do decrease more plaque and gingivitis than manual toothbrushes. After three months of use, plaque was reduced by 21 percent and gingivitis by 11 percent. Oscillating (rotating) toothbrushes seem to work better than just vibrating toothbrushes.

From the British Dental Journal:  ‘Manual toothbrushes are as good as electric toothbrushes, according to a study published by the Cochrane Library.  The review of 42 trials showed that in most cases manual toothbrushes removed as much plaque as their more expensive electronic counterparts, and protected just as well against inflamed gums. The study, led by Professor Peter Robinson of the University of Sheffield, claimed that the only type of electric toothbrush more effective than a manual brush was one with a rotating-oscillating head.’

Overall, we believe Electric toothbrushes are worth the investment.  If you don’t have the budget for them though, do not worry. A manual toothbrush used well can be equally effective, it just puts the onus on you.  Another cost effective way to purchase an electric toothbrush is to consider buying one electric toothbrush for the whole family and just change the head for each user.

You can read more about some of the features and benefits of Electric Toothbrushes on our advice page here and read some reviews of Electric Toothbrushes we have tried here.