Which Toothbrush Is Right For Me: Electric or Manual?

Forest Smiles – The Best Dentist in Lynchburg, VA

When choosing between an electric toothbrush and a manual toothbrush there are certain factors to keep in mind.  Both toothbrushes will do the job of cleaning your teeth, fighting plaque, removing bacteria and wiping bacteria off the gums.   However, when it comes to efficiency and quality versus price and availability your decision may be a bit more difficult.  In this article we will examine the two types of toothbrushes and the pros and cons of each.


Toothbrushes have been around since the early part of the 20th century.  Those nylon bristles have not evolved much through the years, keeping the same general plastic handle and only really changing the length and position of the bristles themselves.  It wasn’t until the latter part of the 1980’s and early 1990’s did the electric toothbrush start to gain steam.   They became a nice alternative to the manual toothbrush.  But is the ease of use of the electric toothbrush the only reason for its popularity?


Pros of the Electric Toothbrush:

1) Ease of Use

Using an electric toothbrush allows the user to do less and clean better.  The pulsating bristles allow the toothbrush to gently and efficiently scrub away plaque without the user over scrubbing and potentially harming your gums.

2) Timer

Most electric toothbrushes have the ability to set a timer, allowing the user to start and stop the rotating bristles for  a certain amount of time.  The recommended time dentists agree on to brush your teeth is 2 minutes.


Cons of Electic Toothbrush:

1) Cost

The cost of an electric toothbrush will range from about $30 – $150.  A manual toothbrush will cost between $2 and $10.


2) Charging or battery operated only

Because the toothbrush runs on electricity, the toothbrush must be charged or run on battery.  An outlet will be necessary and if its battery operated you will have to spend money on batteries.


3) Durability

If you drop your electric toothbrush you may break it!


A manual toothbrush may be right for you if you are less concerned about practicality.  Lets examine some of the benefits and disadvantages of a manual toothbrush.



1) Inexpensive

Manual toothbrushes are cheap to buy and often given away for free when visiting the dentist.


2) Practical

No need to charge or change batteries.  Easy to travel with or carry with you wherever you go.


3) Less stringent on gums

Sometimes the pulsating and revolving bristles from an electric toothbrush may be too much for your gums.  With a manual toothbrush you control the pressure applied to you gums.



1) May not brush teeth correctly

When using a manual toothbrush you may not be as effective nor as accurate as when using an electric toothbrush.  You will have to really do your homework on proper brushing technique.


2) Timing

Many electronic toothbrushes have a two minute time that starts and stops.  Two minutes is the recommended time for brushing.  With a manual you will have to use your judgment.


It will be up to you to decide which toothbrush is best for you.  The important thing is to make sure to brush your teeth and keep up your dental hygiene.  Either will accomplish that goal!