Should You Use an Electric or a Manual Toothbrush?

October 8, 2019

An Electric and a Manual ToothbrushIn this day and age, we have so many choices that it can be overwhelming. The grocery store has dozen of different spaghetti sauces, shelves upon shelves of salad dressings, organic, no salt added, and store brand black beans—and this overwhelming amount of choice has even made its way into the toothbrush aisle.

Many of us aren’t sure whether we should choose an electric or manual toothbrush. But the truth is that with proper technique, either type of brush can be a hygienic choice. So try not to stress so much about which brush you use, and instead, hone your brushing technique. The American Dental Association recommends cleaning your teeth for 2 minutes twice a day, so that can be a baseline for making sure you’re on the right track with your habits.

While the choice between an electric and manual toothbrush is up to you, we’ve laid out the pros and cons to each type of brush to help make the choice a little easier.

Electric Toothbrush


Easy to Use: Electric toothbrushes essentially do the work for you, just hold your brush a 45-degree angle with your gums. This makes the brush especially useful for people with dexterity issues. New toothbrush companies, like Quip, allow you to set up a delivery schedule that sends you replacement brush heads and batteries when they run out, which some patients find makes their life easier.

Reduce More Plaque: According to a 2015 study, electric toothbrushes remove 21% more plaque than manual brushes.

Traditional Braces: Electric toothbrushes can be useful for those who wear braces. The oscillation of the bristles can make it easier to clean around your brackets where plaque tends to collect.


Expensive: Electric toothbrushes tend to cost more than manual brushes. Costs tend to range between $20 and $200. Plus, you’ll need a new brush head every 3-4 months.

Delicate: Electric toothbrushes are heavier than manual ones, so if they fall, they’re more likely to break.

Bulky: Electric brushes pose a challenge to travelers. Not only do they tend to be heavier, but they also require batteries or chargers to keep them running.

Manual Toothbrush


In the Budget: Manual toothbrushes can cost as little as $1, and your dentist will give you a free one at your 6-month visit.

Transportable: Manual toothbrushes take up very little space. When you’re on the go, simply throw your brush in your bag, along with some floss & paste, and you have everything you need for your teeth!

Same Results: As long as you brush each area of your mouth for a total of 2 minutes twice a day, you will get the same results as you would with an electric brush.


More Work: The manual brush will take more effort to move your brush in circular and back-and-forth motions to properly clean your teeth.

Types of Brushes: We’ve all seen that big wall of toothbrushes at the drugstore. It can be overwhelming to make a choice. Our dentists recommend you choose a soft-bristle brush. 

Timing: While electric toothbrushes often have built-in timers to ensure you brush your teeth for the recommended amount of time, manual toothbrushes don’t have that feature. Of course, you could always set your own timer on your phone!

Take Your Pick

At the end of the day, the choice is yours! Only you can decide what brush is best for you. If you still need help choosing a toothbrush, talk to your dentist.

Posted In: Dental Hygiene