Which are Better: Manual or Electric Toothbrushes?

October 16, 2019

Manual and electric toothbrushesElectric or manual? That’s the been the question ever since electric toothbrushes appeared in our drugstores. Even among the dental community, the debate about whether electric or manual toothbrushes are better for oral hygiene has continued. That’s because at the end of the day, there is no clear answer for everyone—it comes down to you and your preference!

Both come with their own pros and cons that appeal to different people. What remains the same is the simple fact that the more you like your toothbrush, the more likely you are to brush for the recommended amount of time. In fact, the American Dental Association recommends brushing for 2 minutes, twice a day.

What brush would you want to use for at least 4 minutes daily? We can help you make an informed choice with the following pros and cons.

Electric Toothbrush


Easy to Use: An electric toothbrush is fun and simple to use. All you have to do is hold it at a 45-degree angle and let it do the rest of the work for you. With no worrying about your hand tiring out and a range of head and bristle options, you can allow your electric toothbrush to get your teeth and gums squeaky clean without extra effort. Those with dexterity problems like children, disabled people or elderly may find this particularly helpful.

Better Plaque Removal: The oscillating and vibrating features of modern electric toothbrushes are great at removing plaque. According to this study published in 2015, they actually remove 21% more plaque than their manual counterparts.

Great for Braces: The vibrating bristles make it easier to clean those hard-to-reach places between the wires of braces so that plaque doesn’t build up.


More Expensive: Electric toothbrushes are far more costly than manual brushes, especially when you factor in the cost of replacing the brush heads every 3-4 months. Prices can vary between $20 to $200, and they unfortunately aren’t given out for free at your 6-month checkup.

Easier to Break: Electronics break down over time and electric toothbrushes are no exception. This can happen at the most inconvenient of times and be pricey to fix.

Bulky: Since they require battery space in the handle and sometimes a charger, electric toothbrushes take up more space. This might not be a problem at home, but when traveling you may find them too cumbersome to fit in your suitcase or backpack.

Manual Toothbrush


Manual toothbrushesBudget Friendly: Traditional manual toothbrushes can be found as cheaply as a dollar. Even the fancier models are still less expensive than the electric versions. Your dentist will also give you a new one for free at every visit!

Minimal & Portable: Since they take up less space, manual toothbrushes are much easier to travel with. Plus you won’t have to worry about having an extra set of batteries on hand or worrying if you remembered to charge it.

Just as Good: Manual toothbrushes produce the same cleaning results if you follow the American Dental Association’s recommendations for brushing for 2 minutes twice a day.


More Work: Although manual brushes can produce the same results as electric ones, you’ll have to work much harder to get them. The repetitive motion can get annoying and children or those with mobility problems may find it more difficult to brush as effectively.

Too Many Choices: You may get overwhelmed by all the manual options in the drugstore aisle and have to do more trial and error testing to find one you like.

No Timer: One of the feautres many electric toothbrushes come with is a built-in timer to make sure you brush for at least 2 minutes. With a manual brush, it’s up to you to ensure you’re getting your 2 minutes in, either with another device or counting yourself.

Choose Wisely!

Once you weigh the pros and cons, you should be able to find the right brush for you and your lifestyle.