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Electric v Manual Toothbrush - What works better?

It is an absolute truth that brushing your teeth to remove the oral plaque that causes dental decay and disease is a fundamental part of maintaining good oral health.

There is an ever increasing array of toothbrushes on the market, but one of the most significant choices you have on offer is between an electric or manual toothbrush. And so you may ask, "Which one should I be using?"

Pros & Cons of Electric Toothbrushes

There have been a number of studies that compare the relative effectiveness of electric toothbrushes versus manual toothbrushes. The general consensus is that the micro-movements produced by the vibrations or rotations of an electric toothbrush are more effective at removing plaque as you move across your teeth.

Electric toothbrushes may provide better oral health outcomes for people with limited mobility, issues with manual dexterity or those with a developmental impairment. For example, an elderly person with arthritis may find it easier to let the oscillating head of an electric toothbrush perform most of the cleaning action rather trying to achieve the fine motor skills needed to brush your teeth effectively with a manual toothbrush.

Electric toothbrushes may also help younger children brush more effectively particularly if they engage the child's attention through music, timers or even readily available brushing apps.

One of the downsides to electric toothbrushes is the cost and, also, if it is a plug-in version it may not be as convenient if you spend a lot of time travelling in places with different types of plug fittings.

Pros & Cons of Manual Toothbrushes

The benefits of a manual toothbrush are that they're cheap, readily available, travel easily, and don't need re-charging.

On the downside however, it is possible to brush too hard with a manual toothbrush and not spend enough time or cover all the surfaces of the teeth to get a comprehensive clean. They can also be a little tricky for people with limited dexterity and they are not as engaging for kids without the accompanying sounds.

However, most dentists will tell you that whether you use a manual or electric toothbrush, the most important things to effectively reduce disease causing plaque are that you use good brushing technique and brush at least twice a day.

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