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Toothbrushes: Is manual or electric best?

2nd July 2017

Here at Mouth Matters in Chester, our patients often ask us whether it is better to use a manual or electric toothbrush, so we thought this would be a good topic to discuss here. The first thing to point out is that no matter which brush you choose, your brushing technique is the most important factor to consider.

Many people believe they need to brush hard, or ‘scrub’ their teeth in order to clean them effectively, but this can cause irreversible damage by causing the gums to recede or wearing away the tooth enamel and exposing the dentine on the teeth. This is not only more yellow in colour, making it look less aesthetically pleasing, it also causes tooth sensitivity, too. Your dentist and/or hygienist can give you essential advice on the ideal brushing technique that will help you to reach all the areas within the mouth (even the tricky ones!) and clean them in the most effective way.

Manual vs electric toothbrushes
If your brushing technique is on point, the choice between manual and electric toothbrushes really comes down to personal choice and preference. However, using an electric toothbrush can make things much easier because they do a lot of the work for you. We are taught to brush our teeth from an early age, but with electric toothbrushes it is better to simply hold and glide it over the teeth, allowing it to do the work, rather than manually brushing. This can take some time to get used to, but is very simple and many people with conditions that affect dexterity, such as arthritis, find this much easier and less painful.

The great thing about electric toothbrushes is that many of them have visual or audible sensors to alert the user if they are brushing too hard, and they also have timers to ensure that optimum brushing time of two minutes. At Mouth Matters, we often find that patients are surprised at how long two minutes actually is when it comes to brushing teeth, which is why these timers are so handy.

Essentially, there is no right or wrong answer about whether manual or electric is better, as we believe it all comes down to personal preference and brushing technique. Of course, electric toothbrushes have great extra features that are incredibly useful but if a patient doesn’t like the feel of these brushes then they are less likely to use them correctly. We suggest speaking to your dentist or hygienist who can offer expert advice that is tailored to you, including toothbrushing technique tips!