You’ve likely been tempted to buy an expensive electric toothbrush at some point. That’s understandable! We’ve been conditioned to believe that the more expensive something is, the better it will be. Plus, the additional technology makes us believe electric toothbrushes must be better than regular manual toothbrushes.
Here’s what our dentist office in Houston wants you know upfront – it doesn’t matter what type of toothbrush you use, as long as you use it! You should be brushing your teeth twice a day with a toothbrush that has the ADA Seal of Acceptance. As long as you are maintaining healthy oral care habits, then you are doing the right thing for your teeth.
But, Houston dental patients often ask us if they need to spend the extra money for an electric toothbrush, so we are taking time today to highlight the pros and cons of electric toothbrushes.
Electric Toothbrushes May Remove More Plague and Prevent Gingivitis
There have been some studies that suggest electric toothbrushes may remove more upfront than manual toothbrushes. Healthline reports, “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.”
However, it is important to note that these percentages are not significant enough for Houston dentists to recommend electric toothbrushes to all their patients. As periodontist Steven Daniel, D.D.S., explains, “But the differences tend to be pretty minimal. Not that they aren’t significant, but there’s not a huge black-and-white difference between being able to maintain good oral health using a manual toothbrush and an electric one.”
Additionally, the type of electric toothbrush also affects the percentage of plague decreased, and gingivitis reduced. In particular, electric toothbrushes that simply vibrate are not as effective as those that oscillate or rotate.
Electric Toothbrushes May Be More Helpful for Certain Individuals
While Houston dentists and others across the country do not think the studies show enough significance to recommend all their patients use electric toothbrushes, most agree that there are some individuals who will benefit from using an electric toothbrush. For example, those with certain ailments, such as arthritis, may find using an electric toothbrush easier than a manual one. Likewise, individuals with orthodontia may find electric toothbrushes helpful.
Additionally, some people tend to brush their teeth too hard, which causes problems for their teeth and gums. In these cases, an electric toothbrush is helpful because it makes the individual feel more reassured that their teeth are getting cleaned without the use of force.
Electric Toothbrushes May Make Toothbrushing Easier
Statistics show 123.61 million Americans used power toothbrushes in 2019. One reason that electric toothbrushes are growing in popularity is that people think they make toothbrushing easier. Many electric toothbrushes have timers that alert users when they have brushed their teeth for two minutes, as suggested by dentists. Along these same lines, Healthline reports, “At least one study found that people were more focused when brushing their teeth using an electric toothbrush.”
Plus, many people simply believe electric toothbrushes are more fun than manual ones, especially young kids. If you enjoy brushing your teeth with your toothbrush, you are more apt to use it. WebMD explains, “When it comes down to it, the best toothbrush for you is going to be the one you’re most likely to use — and use well.” Some patients love the feel of an electric toothbrush, but other patients hate it.
Electric Toothbrushes Are Not Better for Traveling
A con of electric toothbrushes is that they are not better for traveling. In addition to having to make sure you have a plug adaptor for the hotels or homes you are visiting, it is also hard to find a replacement head if you forget to pack your toothbrush. In contrast, you can find and purchase a manual toothbrush anywhere.
Electric Toothbrushes Are More Expensive
The price of electric toothbrushes varies widely; however, they typically always cost more than manual toothbrushes. Depending on the brand, the type of electric toothbrush, and the number of features, the price can range from $20 – $150. And that’s not counting the cost of purchasing replacing heads for the toothbrush, which is a must.
What the ADA Has to Say About the Electric Toothbrush Debate
The American Dental Association (ADA) says, “Both manual and powered toothbrushes are effective at removing plaque. While the powered toothbrushes can be more expensive than most manual toothbrushes, some people prefer the powered version. People who have dexterity problems—like the elderly, people with disabilities, or children—or those who have dental appliances, like braces, may find a powered toothbrush easier to use.” The ADA emphasizes that what really matters is that people brush their teeth for two minutes twice a day.
What You Should Look for When Shopping for a Toothbrush
So, when it comes to shopping for a toothbrush, it is ultimately up to you to decide between an electric toothbrush or a manual toothbrush. Both can be used effectively to clean your teeth, remove plaque, and prevent gingivitis. When you shop, consider what you have learned today about the differences between electric and manual toothbrushes, and consider which type of brush would make you more likely to use it like you should (for two minutes twice a day every day).
Greenspoint Dental in Houston Believes Electric Toothbrushes Aren’t Necessarily Better
Here at Greenspoint Dental in Houston, we believe electric toothbrushes may be easier to use, but there is no proved data to show they clean better. But, we do know what has been proven to work – maintaining regular dental checkups. By visiting a Houston dental practice regularly, you can prevent problems before they happen or help issues from becoming worse. We can also provide advice about the types of toothbrushes available and demonstrate how to use them effectively. Call us to schedule an appointment today!