Electric or manual: which is best?

We’ve all seen the adverts claiming electric toothbrushes are the only way to get a truly clean mouth. But should you believe the hype?


Are you a stickler for your manual toothbrush or an electric convert?

Many people have used a manual toothbrush their whole lives and claim that there’s nothing wrong with their smile. But adverts for electric toothbrushes are often packed with some convincing statistics for their products. And there’s some truth to it.

What the tests show

The Oral Health Foundation says that electric toothbrushes can be 25% more effective at removing plaque.

Plaque is the sticky layer that accumulates on your teeth every day and which needs to be removed completely to avoid tooth decay and gum disease.

But electric toothbrushes are only effective when you use them properly. That means brushing with them for at least 2 minutes twice a day (once last thing at night) and covering all areas of the mouth – including the gums and backs of the teeth.

Which electric toothbrush should I choose?

When choosing an electric toothbrush, opt for those approved by the Oral Health Foundation (look for the smile logo). According to the OHF, “Those with heads that rotate in both directions (referred to as ‘oscillating’ heads) are the most effective.”

Should my child use an electric toothbrush?

Electric toothbrushes are especially helpful for children, the elderly and disabled persons who might not be able to reach those difficult areas or use enough force when brushing.

With a range of fun and colourful designs, they’re also a novelty for children and may encourage them to brush more regularly.

Should I switch to an electric toothbrush?

Many dentists still think that you can do a good enough job with a manual toothbrush, so it really depends whether you need to go electric.

The best way to determine if you should go electric is to visit one of our Number 18 dentists for a check-up. They will be able to see how effectively you are cleaning your teeth and gums and whether you would benefit from a power toothbrush.

Don’t forget to maximise the job your toothbrush does by flossing and using mouthwash throughout the day.

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