If you’re wondering whether an electric toothbrush would help you keep your teeth and gums in good condition, or whether to stick to a manual toothbrush, read on.
Electric toothbrushes are more popular than ever, but they are more expensive. Do they really clean our teeth better than manual toothbrushes? Here, we take a look at the pros and cons of both to help choose the right brush for you.
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The expert low-down on which toothbrush.
First of all, let’s consider what’s good about manual toothbrushes.
It’s hard to imagine life without a manual toothbrush!
- They’re cheap, simple and available almost everywhere. Moreover, manual toothbrushes are light and take up very little space. They’re convenient to travel with and store.
- If used with the right brushing technique, and for at least the recommended minimum time of two minutes, manual toothbrushes can be just as effective as electric toothbrushes.
- With a manual toothbrush we have more control over the way we brush our teeth. We control the speed and pressure of the brushing, which is perfect for sensitive mouths, or for people who dislike the buzzing of an electric toothbrush.
- Manual toothbrushes are available in a wide variety of designs and colours, so it’s easy to experiment to find the right brush.
- Or, if we just fancy a change, or forget our toothbrush when we go away, that’s an easy fix too.
What do users like about electric toothbrushes?
There has to be a good reason why so many people these days are going electric!
- Most electric toothbrushes have built-in timers, and even alerts to prompt us to move to the next section of our mouth. As most of us under-estimate the time we’re supposed to brush for, electric toothbrushes can help us stay on track.
- A rotating head, some use a rotation oscillation head, brushes our teeth at anything between 6,000 and 30,000 strokes per minute. This means, if used correctly, brushing with an electric toothbrush removes plaque better than a manual toothbrush.
- As the heads are usually smaller, it’s easier to reach the tight corners at the back of the mouth and between the teeth.
- Electric brushes come in a wide range of designs, and new styles are appearing all the time. Brightly-coloured or cartoon-themed toothbrushes for kids can help make the tooth-brushing routine more fun, and so encourage good oral hygiene from an early age
- For people who have difficulty holding a toothbrush an electric toothbrush does most of the work. Some dexterity is needed to guide the toothbrush along, but the brushing action is taken care of. A brush with a pressure sensor can help too.
What are the drawbacks of sticking with a manual toothbrush?
- Probably the biggest drawback is that they are such a familiar part of our lives, we don’t take them seriously enough.
- A manual brush, needs commitment. We need to brush with a good technique. And, most importantly, we need to be disciplined about the length of time we brush for.
- Manual brush heads are usually larger, so hard-to-reach places can be easily missed.
- People with motor difficulties, arthritis, for example, may struggle to handle a manual toothbrush as easily as an electric toothbrush.
- Manual brushes, although simple, light and easy, don’t have the same appeal to people who enjoy gadgets.
What’s the argument against getting an electric toothbrush?
- Although electric toothbrushes are cheaper and more easily available than ever before, they’re still much more expensive than manual ones.
- You’ll need to include the additional cost of replacing brush heads, too, just as often as you’d change a manual toothbrush.
- An electric toothbrush can be bulky and heavier to hold. They also take up more space in the bathroom.
- You’ll need to charge them every few days, which could be inconvenient if you travel regularly. The non-rechargeable battery operated brushes don’t have the same power as rechargeable brushes.
- The vibrations of an electric toothbrush can cause problems for some people. If you have sensitive teeth or sore gums an electric toothbrush may be too rough.
It’s definitely worth weighing up the pros and cons.
It really is a matter of personal choice.
There’s no real reason why a manual toothbrush can’t meet our oral hygiene needs. With good dexterity, manual toothbrushes can be just as effective as electric ones. To look after teeth and gums well, we do need to be careful and diligent. Brushing needs to be thorough, and for at least two minutes twice a day. The same is also true for electric brushing, but sensors and timers make it easier to manage and check.
However, an electric toothbrush takes care of all the thinking and effort. They are definitely a great investment for long term oral health. The convenience and reassurance of effective, easily monitored brushing may make it worth spending a little bit extra. And for those time when we’re on the move, then pack a manual brush.
There’s no reason why we can’t have both in our lives!
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