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Face Off: Electric vs Manual Toothbrushes

Jul 16, 2013

Photo source: Family Dentist North Phoenix

Where do you stand when it comes to your toothbrush?  Do you get a charge out of using an electric toothbrush?  Or do you like to use those muscles with a good old fashioned brush?  This has been an epic battle for years.  Dare I say, this might be as important as your stance on whether Elvis Presley is really dead…

In our quest to share our brushing knowledge with the public, we have written several posts this month about toothbrushes and your oral health.  We’ve talked about how to care for your brush as well as the latest toothbrush styles.  Today we will give you the inside stats on each kind of brush, how they compare and when you should choose one over the other.  

Contestant #1: The Manual Toothbrush

The classic, no-frills manual toothbrush has been around for years.  While the dental industry is making strides to make manual brushes extremely effective, not much has changed.  There are several great reasons many prefer a manual brush:

  • Manual toothbrushes put less pressure on your teeth and your gums. Since you are the motor behind the brush, you can feel how much pressure you are applying to your mouth.  Manual brushes also come in a variety of bristle hardness.  As we already know, brushing too hard can wear away at your tooth enamel and cause sensitivity, so using a softer bristle brush and less pressure is the trick!
  • You can find a manual toothbrush almost anywhere – even a gas station (true story - been there, done that).  Also, the price point is less expensive ranging from a single brush at $0.99 to a 3 pack for under $5.
  • They are kid-friendly!  Manual brushes are designed to teach kids proper techniques, how much pressure to use and are just the right size.  Besides, can you imagine the mess your bathroom would be if you let your kids use an electric toothbrush?  Whoa.
  • Manual toothbrushes make better travel companions.  It’s much easier to put a cover on your brush and throw it in your make-up bag when packing for a trip.  Just make sure that you give your brush the breathing room it deserves when you are traveling and don’t leave it in its case!

  • Contestant #2: The Electric Toothbrush

    If you are a savvy tech-loving kind of person, you may prefer an electric toothbrush.  Again, there are many brands to choose from and a wide range of price points.  The highlights of an electric brush include:

  • Electric brushes have fun and funky features.  Some have timers so you know when you have brushed for a full 2 minutes; some dispense toothpaste while you are brushing; some make you do the hokey-pokey. Alright, you caught me on the last one, but I think you get the point. 
  • Many of the electric toothbrushes on the market are rather expensive, but they will last a long time if you take care of them.  (Reason #2 you shouldn’t let your 5-year-old have one…just saying.)
  • The larger barreled toothbrush is easier to hold on to and maneuver, especially for those with arthritis or other ailments, such as limited shoulder and arm mobility.
  • The bristle movement might even help to remove more plaque from your teeth and make your gums healthier.  This is due to the rotating-oscillating bristles that spin in one direction and then switch to the other direction.  Unfortunately, electric toothbrushes only offer one bristle hardness which can be an issue for folks that suffer from gum sensitivity or periodontal disease.
  • Studies have shown that neither brush is really more effective than the other.  It really comes down to how well the person manning the brush uses it and if they practice other healthy oral habits.  Dr. Peter Alldritt, the chairman of the Australian Dental Association’s oral health committee, says that if you “move around the teeth gradually in a systematic fashion” and “know that you are being thorough” it shouldn’t matter which brush you choose.  Whichever brush you are comfortable with is the one you should stick with unless otherwise directed by your oral health professional.   

    The power of the brush is a wonderful thing and can make those smiles even brighter.  Please make sure that you are visiting the dentist every 6 months.  What? Don’t have insurance?  You are in luck!  Not only do we dish out some of the best dental information on the net, we can help you with your dental insurance needs.  And before you go, let us know what kind of toothbrush you use by Tweeting us or commenting on our Facebook page.  Thanks for reading and we’ll see you again next week!

    Sources: The Mayo Clinic, ABC Health & Wellbeing, Everyday Health

    Copyright 2013 Bloom Insurance Agency, LLC©

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