Electric Toothbrush vs. Manual Toothbrush

Whether it is better to use an electric toothbrush or a manual toothbrush has been widely debated for several years. Oral hygiene is something most people take very seriously. As a result, there have been a number of new mouthwashes and flosses on the market to reflect this growing interest in looking after our teeth. Electric toothbrushes have become popular over the last few years as prices have reduced, making them more affordable. But some people maintain that sticking to the tried and trusted method of manual brushing is the best way to keep their teeth and gums healthy. Which one is really better?

Dentists’ Opinions

Dentists’ opinions are the ones we value the most when it comes to the health of our teeth and gums. However, the experts are divided over whether an electric or manual toothbrush is better at removing plaque. Some agree that they are equally effective if used correctly and for the recommended period of time (two minutes, twice a day). Many people do not brush their teeth for long enough and it can be easier to use an electric toothbrush because they often come with in-built timers. Hygienists tend to prefer electric toothbrushes over manual because they reach between crevices that manual toothbrushes often can’t get to.


The most important feature of a toothbrush is its ability to clean. An electric toothbrush will often use a combination of oscillating and pulsating movements to clean around and between your teeth effectively. This can provide a deeper clean, removing more build up and plaque, particularly for people who have crowded or uneven teeth. A manual toothbrush is just as effective at removing plaque but it may be more difficult to manoeuvre it between tight gaps in the teeth. Some people find that they brush their teeth too hard, which damages the gums and exposes more of the tooth to plaque. Some electric toothbrushes come with sensors which detect when this is happening and warn the user. If this is a problem you have, it could be worth considering an electric toothbrush to make sure you are not doing more harm than good when you brush your teeth.


Standard electric toothbrushes are fairly generic in the type of cleaning they provide, although some come with various different brush heads to give you different cleaning options, such as a gum cleaning brush. The more expensive models can have different modes built into the device, which provide more flexible cleaning options. A manual toothbrush can be brought in a variety of different bristle types to suit various needs, for example children may prefer a softer brush. So if you have particularly sensitive teeth, young children or wear braces it can be easier to find a manual toothbrush which will suit your needs.

As dentists fail to agree, the decision ultimately comes down to a matter of personal preference. It could be worth trying both to see which feels as if it is giving you the better clean.