Manual vs. Electric Toothbrush: What You Need to Know


Manual vs. Electric

There are a few key differences that significantly separate an electric toothbrush from its manual counterpart:  

  • Bristles – while manual toothbrushes feature a selection of hard, medium, or soft bristles with various heights and angles, electric toothbrushes go further by driving the bristle movement at a high rate of speed resulting in more cleaning action. 

  • Customization – There are plenty of colors and styles to choose from when it comes to manual brushes, but electric toothbrushes can be tailored to your specific oral hygiene needs. 

More variety of brushes More customization within brush
Lower upfront cost Potentially lower lifetime dental cost
Travel-friendly May require travel case
No charge needed Battery dependent on charge
No timer 2-minute timer
No tech add-ons Offer a range of features
Basic clean More efficient clean

Research Behind Electric Toothbrushes

A study evaluated the impact of electric toothbrush use on oral health over an 11-year period. With over 2800 participants, the study looked at the toothbrush effects on gum (periodontal) disease, cavities, and tooth loss.  

Electric toothbrushes have been shown to remove more plaque than a manual, delivering a more complete clean.1 Plaque bacteria can lead to gum disease, tooth decay, and even tooth loss if not removed properly. Electric toothbrushes are far more effective at removing plaque, limiting its damaging effects on oral health. In fact, the study showed that electric toothbrush users experienced 20% less tooth loss compared to manual users thanks to a lowered rate of gum disease development*.  

The research¹ concluded that long-term use of an electric toothbrush slows down the progression of gum disease and helps prevent tooth loss.

Benefits of an Electric Toothbrush  

Electric toothbrushes don’t just help prevent tooth loss. They also help support a healthy gum line and offer up a range of features to better optimize how you brush your teeth: 

  • Quick cleaning action provides superior plaque removal to help prevent tooth decay 

  • Specialized brush heads that clean in hard to reach areas 

  • Range of modes that can customize to your needs 

  • Built-in timer which can help you brush the dentist-recommend 2 minutes 

  • Some comes with position detection that tracks brushing behaviors for a comprehensive clean 

No matter which toothbrush you use, be sure to maintain a good oral hygiene routine of brushing twice daily and flossing at least once a day for a healthy mouth.  

¹Pitchika V, Pink C, Völzke H, Welk A, Kocher T, Holtfreter B. Long-term impact of powered toothbrush on oral health: 11-year cohort study.    J Clin Periodontol. 2019. doi: 10.1111/jcpe.13126 

Kantar. Yaacob M, ey al… Powered versus manual toothbrushing for oral health.Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2014, Issue 6. Art. No.:CD00282. DOI:10.1002/14651858.CD002281.PUB3 

*Compared to a manual toothbrush