Many patients ask us, “What is better? A manual toothbrush or an electric toothbrush?” Here is the information we have on best toothbrushes.
The important thing to remember is that a toothbrush’s main purpose is to remove dental plaque. Dental plaque causes gingivitis or gum inflammation. The toothpaste you use should include fluoride as one of its main ingredients. Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay.
Now to the main question at hand. In my professional opinion, the best kind of toothbrush is the one that works for you. If you feel like you are doing a better job brushing your teeth with a manual toothbrush, then use it. If you believe you are doing a better job with the electric toothbrush, then use it. It does not matter which toothbrush, the important thing is to use a toothbrush at least twice a day for approximately 2 minutes and remove the dental plaque in your mouth.
However, if you want an article that has done some research on which toothbrush is better, here is such an article. This article is called “Manual versus powered toothbrushing for oral health1”. In this article it specifically states, “When compared to manual toothbrushes, powered toothbrushes with a rotation oscillation action provide protection against gum inflammation in the long and short term and better plaque removal in the short term.” In summary, this article states that rotating oscillating toothbrushes are better at plaque control and gingivitis reduction than manual tooth brushing or other electric toothbrushes.
In the August 2009 Clinicians Report, they conducted a randomized study on electric toothbrushes. Clinicians Report came up with some advantages and disadvantages to using an electric toothbrush and I would like to share the information.
Advantages: “(1) Requires less manual dexterity, (2) Excellent for special needs [orthodontics, debilitated, elderly, pediatric], (3) Potential ability to remove more plaque, (4) Timers available on rechargeable models improve length of brushing, (5) Designs are improved [smaller, lighter, and reduced head size], and Patient’s perception of cleaner teeth.”
Limitations: “(1) Best plaque brushes have higher costs, (2) Potential mechanical breakdown, (3) Requires battery replacement or recharging to maintain function, (4) Larger size than manual brushes, (5) May aggravated sensitive soft and hard tissues, and (6) Wears teeth if over-used on recession, enamel defects, etc.”2
1Manual versus powered toothbrushing for oral health, Robinson PG, Deacon SA, Deery C, Heanue M, Walmsley AD, Worthington HV, Glenny AM, Shaw WC.
2 Toothbrushes: Is It Time to Turn the Power On?, Clinicians Report, August 2009, Vol 2, Issue 8.