Settling the toothbrush debate: Power or manual?


Wondering if that fancy-looking electric toothbrush is actually better than the one you get for free at the dentist? If the increased amount of space taken up on store shelves is any indication, electric toothbrushes are growing in popularity. But the effectiveness of the different kinds is debated. We’ll go through the different kinds of brushes, pros and cons, and some studies in order to get to the bottom of this.

Different kinds of toothbrushes

According to Oral-B, there are 3 different kinds of toothbrushes.

  1. Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush: This is the kind you plug into the wall to recharge, keeping the handle and replacing the brush head every three months. Rechargeable electric toothbrushes differ among the kind of cleaning technology they use, such as oscillating-rotating (3D Cleaning Action) or sonic technology.
  2. Regular Manual Toothbrush: Regular manual toothbrushes are the basic toothbrushes you’re probably accustomed to with a plastic handle and various nylon bristle designs on the brush head.
  3. Battery Power Toothbrush: These use an AA battery. While similar in design to regular manual toothbrushes, battery power toothbrushes have just enough vibration to add some extra cleaning action, but not as much as rechargeable electric ones.

What the experts say

In one study by Oral-B, more than 16,000 patients were asked by their dentists or hygienists to use a Braun Oral-B powered toothbrush. Dental professionals said the powered brush had a positive effect on the oral health of more than 80% of the patients. Most participants reportedly said their oral health was better after using the device.

So many patients have been asking their dentists about which kind of toothbrush to choose that the American Dental Association (ADA) has issued several news releases on the matter.
In the end, they said manual toothbrushes can be just as effective as powered ones.

Pros of power toothbrushes

  • Can be fun for children and inspire them to brush their teeth more
  • Can help people who have trouble physically moving their brushes around their mouth to clean all teeth surfaces, including anyone with a motor disability or arthritis
  • Less work and easier to use: At 6,000 to 30,000 strokes per minute, it takes less time to do a thorough job with the electrified version
  • Built in timer that automatically stops the toothbrush once 2 minutes are up

Cons of power toothbrushes

  • Manual brushing still only takes 2 minutes and you can still keep your teeth at a grade A+ level
  • Manual brushes have many styles, bristles, heads and colors to choose from
  • Manual brushes are easier to travel with: All you need is a toothbrush case and you’re all set to go for your trip. No need to worry about batteries or charging outlets
  • Manual brushes are inexpensive and often free whenever you make a trip to your dentist

The bottom line: It’s not what you use, but how you use it

While the effectiveness is still debated, what we do know is the key to preventing tooth decay lies in the way a toothbrush — electric or otherwise — is used. Just keep brushing and flossing every day and you’ll be good to go no matter what! And if you’re still undecided, don’t hesitate to ask us.

Which kind do you use and why? Comment and let us know.

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