Let’s Talk – Manual Toothbrush vs Electric Toothbrush

Manual Toothbrush vs an Electric Toothbrush

We sat down with Kat, one of Aria’s Oral Health Therapists to shed some helpful light on the age-old debate of manual versus electric toothbrushes. With her extensive knowledge and experience in oral care, we knew that Kat could provide valuable insights and advice to help people navigate through the pros and cons of these two popular options. As an OHT, Kat understands the unique needs of patients and the concerns they have when it comes to oral care and removing plaque. She believes in empowering individuals with the right tools and information to make informed decisions about their dental health.

Kathleen Unwin

Let’s talk – with Kathleen Unwin, Aria Dental, Oral Health Therapist

We know that maintaining good oral hygiene is crucial for our overall health, and the choice of toothbrush plays a significant role in this. But with the shops flooded with countless toothbrush options, in both electric and manual toothbrushes, it can be overwhelming to decide which one is truly best for us. So that’s why we turned to you Kat, to guide us through the intricacies of picking a manual or electric toothbrushes.


Do you personally use a manual or electric toothbrush?

Yes, I use an electric toothbrush. Once you go electronic you can’t go back to a manual toothbrush.


Who would benefit from an electric toothbrush versus a manual one?

Everyone! There are so many electric models available now, there is an option to purchase one for all types of situations and ages. Some offer additional features such as pressure sensors, variable brushes and speeds and brush timers which some people may appreciate. They can make brushing sessions for people with restricted mobility easier.

When children are learning to brush their teeth, it is usually best to start them with a manual toothbrush to learn the basics and improve their manual dexterity and upgrade them to a child’s electric toothbrush over time.


Who needs a manual toothbrush?

Manual toothbrushes are often recommended for children, especially younger children who are still developing their motor skills. Manual toothbrushes allow parents to have more control and ensure kids have proper brushing process techniques. In saying that, once the proper techique is learnt, an electric toothbrush head can make the process fun, improve their focus and encourage regularly brushing habits for at least two minutes with kids. (But from time to time will also be messy – lol!)


Are manual toothbrushes just as effective as an electric toothbrush?

Electric toothbrushes are generally considered more effective than manual toothbrushes for several reasons.

  • Consistent and efficient cleaning: Electric toothbrushes typically have rotating or oscillating heads that provide consistent and controlled brushing motions. This helps ensure that you cover all areas of your mouth and brush for the recommended two minutes. Manual toothbrushes rely on your own technique, and it can be challenging for individuals to maintain consistent brushing patterns and clean for the recommended two minutes.
  • Enhanced plaque removal: Electric toothbrushes generate more brush strokes per minute than manual toothbrushes, which will result in more effective plaque removal. Additionally, some electric toothbrushes offer features like pulsations or sonic vibrations that can help dislodge plaque and bacteria from the teeth and gumline.
  • Ease of use: an Electric toothbrush is designed to do most of the work for you and are fun to use! You simply guide the brush along your teeth and gums, making it easier to achieve thorough and effective brushing. This can be particularly beneficial for individuals with limited dexterity, such as children, older adults, or people with certain physical conditions – or just those who haven’t had their morning coffee yet.
  • Timers and alerts: Many electric toothbrushes come with built-in timers or alerts that remind you to brush for the recommended two minutes. This feature ensures that you spend an adequate amount of time cleaning your teeth, which can be challenging to track accurately with a manual toothbrush.
  • Additional features: Some electric toothbrush models offer extra features like pressure sensors to prevent excessive force while brushing, multiple brushing modes for specific needs (e.g., sensitive teeth or gum massage), or Bluetooth connectivity to track your brushing habits through smartphone apps. These features can enhance your oral hygiene routine and promote better overall dental health.


What aspects in an electric toothbrush do you look for?

There are lots of aspects to evaluate, but some key things we point out to our patients are:

  • Pressure Sensor: A pressure sensor is a useful feature that alerts you when you’re applying too much force while brushing. Excessive pressure can harm your gums and enamel.
  • Battery Life and Charging Options: Some models have long-lasting batteries that can last for weeks, while others may require more frequent charging – which can be annoying. Additionally, check if the toothbrush comes with a charging stand or if it can be charged via USB which is great when travelling.
  • Replacement Brush Heads: Ensure that replacement brush heads are readily available for the toothbrush model you choose – and affordable for your budget.


Do you have an opinion over what brand is better – say Oral B or Phillips?

I don’t have professional preference – both make a great electric toothbrush and is really whatever suits the patient’s full range of needs and wants. Often brand choice is just based on convenience, price range, or the ease of getting replacement heads in the future.


What is the care and maintenance of an electric toothbrush?

  • Rinse the brush head: After each use, thoroughly rinse the brush head under running water to remove any toothpaste or debris. This helps keep the bristles clean and prevents residue build-up.
  • Clean the handle: Regularly wipe the handle of the toothbrush with a damp cloth to remove any moisture, toothpaste, or other residue that may accumulate. Avoid submerging the handle in water or exposing it to excessive moisture.
  • Store it upright: Store your electric toothbrush in an upright position to allow proper air circulation and prevent moisture build-up.
  • Replace brush heads regularly: Most dentists recommend replacing the brush head every two to three months or sooner if the bristles become frayed or worn.
  • Keep it dry: After use, shake off any excess water from the brush head and allow it to air dry thoroughly before storing it. Avoid covering the brush head or placing it in an enclosed container while still damp, as it can promote bacterial growth.
  • Avoid sharing: It’s best to avoid sharing your electric toothbrush with others, as it can lead to the transfer of bacteria and germs. Everyone should have their own (or at least their own brush head)
  • Follow charging instructions: If your electric toothbrush requires charging, follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding charging times and methods. Overcharging or leaving it on the charger for extended periods can affect the battery life and performance.
  • Consult the user manual: Follow specific care and maintenance instructions provided by the manufacturer in the manual. Different models may have specific requirements or recommendations.


Preventative Dentistry

The best toothbrush, is any toothbrush! It’s important to note that using ANY toothbrush for ANY amount of time – even with an average brushing technique – is still providing some level of effective cleaning – which is better than not cleaning at all.

Whether you’re a long-time advocate of the traditional manual toothbrush or someone contemplating the switch to an electric one, regular preventative dental appointments are an important part of your oral health. New advances in dental technology have made the cleaning process easier, quicker, gentle and painless – read more about The EMS Airflow System – the spa experience for your teeth! Make yourself a hygiene appointment with Kat at Aria Dental Perth for your next maintenance check-up and discover the best oral care practices for your healthier, happier smile!

Aria Dental specialises in assisting individuals who have neglected their oral hygiene in the past, focusing on rescuing their dental health. We as dentists firmly believe that prevention is preferable to treatment, particularly when it concerns the long-term health of your teeth. By properly caring for your teeth, you not only contribute to their preservation, but also promote overall body health. That is why, at Aria Dental, we are dedicated to aiding you in maintaining excellent dental health for as long as possible.

Make yourself a hygiene appointment with Kat at Aria Dental Perth for a healthier, happier smile!
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