Why Are Electric Toothbrushes Better than Manual Units?

Why Are Electric Toothbrushes Better than Manual Units?

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Brushing your teeth regularly helps improve and maintain oral health. The American Dental Association (ADA) says the use of either electric or manual toothbrush is effective in removing oral plaque that builds up over time. So, why are electric toothbrushes better as some professionals claim?

The ADA identifies toothbrushes that are safe and effective by putting a Seal of Acceptance on them. Each kind of toothbrush, electric and manual, has its own advantages and disadvantages. Learn more about the pros and cons of an electric toothbrush to know whether it is better than traditional brushes or not.

What Are Electric Toothbrushes: An Overview

An electric toothbrush works with fast automatic bristle motions, clockwise or counterclockwise, to clean the teeth. It is powered by low-voltage electricity, usually 12 volts or less. Most of the electric toothbrushes are equipped with a non-rechargeable and non-replaceable battery that is placed inside the handle. The handle is protected with a seal to prevent water from getting inside.

Types of Electric Toothbrushes

Electric toothbrushes are classified into two according to the frequency of the bristle movement and to the noise level of the movement:

1. Sonic toothbrush

Most electric toothbrushes used today are sonic. Their rotation is fast enough to create an audible sound, usually on frequency range between 200 to 400 Hz with a rotation ranging from 24,000 to 48,000 movements per minute. They clean the teeth by the sweeping action of the brittles; hence, the length of movement they create is large.

2. Ultrasonic toothbrush

The most recent innovation in the world of electric toothbrushes is the ultrasonic brush. It cleans the teeth by producing a wave at the lowest frequency of between 20,000 Hz and 2,400,000 movements per minute. The US Food and Drug Administration approved ultrasonic toothbrushes that work at a rate of 1.6 MHz or 192,000,000 movements per minute.

Features of Electric Toothbrushes

Some electric toothbrushes come with one or more additional features. Among these features are:

Pressure sensor

The pressure sensor prevents the user from brushing too hard which can harm the enamel and damage the gum. The sensor warning comes either as a sound signal or a sudden stop of the brush.


Some electric toothbrushes come with an LCD screen that displays the brushing time or smiley to inspire the users to brush their teeth regularly. This feature can make an ideal electric toothbrush for kids.


Experts recommend brushing for two minutes or 30 seconds for each quadrant of the mouth. The timer usually comes in the form of a buzzer or short power interruption. The buzzer or power interruption happens in two minutes or every 30 seconds for two minutes.


The Bluetooth allows the toothbrush to be connected to a smartphone. The brush can transmit data to an app to observe the length of time the unit has been used or the pressure applied while brushing. The app can also send a signal like the cleaning time or the cleaning mode to the brush.

Cleaning mode

Some electric toothbrushes come with cleaning a mode feature. The cleaning modes are Daily Care, Sensitive, Whitening, and Tongue cleaning. Each cleaning mode is intended for cleaning efficiency and teeth condition.

Why Are Electric Toothbrushes Better: The Pros and Cons

The rotation or vibrations of the electric toothbrushes cause micro-vibrations that help remove plaque and germs from the teeth, gum lines, and tongue. This is the major feature of electric toothbrushes that the manual ones do not have.


  • More Effective Plaque Removal

Studies have shown that an electric toothbrush can eliminate more plaque and gingivitis than the manual toothbrush. After three months use of an electric toothbrush, the gingivitis is decreased by 11 percent and the plaque by 21 percent.

  • Improved Mobility

An electric toothbrush is very helpful for people with limited mobility. Since it does most of the work, people with arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and mobility disabilities can gain a lot of benefits from using electric toothbrushes.

  • Less Waste

You only need to replace the electric toothbrush head when it is time for a new toothbrush. Therefore, it lessens the waste to help preserve the environment. However, a single-use electric toothbrush doesn’t have replaceable heads, so it needs to be replaced entirely when it is time for a new one.

  • Improved Concentration on Brushing Teeth

One study shows that more people tend to be more focused on brushing their teeth with the use of an electric toothbrush. Overall, the general brushing experience improves as well.

  • Improved Oral Health of People who Use Orthodontics

Brushing teeth while wearing braces, retainers, and other orthodontic appliances can be difficult, but with the help of an electric toothbrush, brushing can be easy and effective. The rapid motion of bristles helps take food residue and plaque away from the teeth, gums, and orthodontic appliance.

  • Makes Brushing Fun

Brushing can be an annoying chore for kids. With the unconventional structure and features of an electric toothbrush, users, specifically children, will be more engaged in brushing their teeth; hence, improve their overall oral hygiene. The display feature can show the kids cute graphics which will encourage them to brush their teeth regularly.

  • Protects the Gums

An electric toothbrush is not harsh on the gums because the pressure sensor feature sends signals that tell you when you are too aggressive while you brush. On the other hand, you won’t be aware of your pressure when you use a manual toothbrush.


  • Costly

Electric toothbrushes are more expensive than the traditional toothbrush. Likewise, the replacement head is also somewhat expensive, and not all stores sell them.

  • Uncomfortable to Use

There are also people who don’t like the vibrating feeling that electric toothbrushes produce. Additionally, electric toothbrushes can move the saliva in all corners of the mouth, which might be a mess for some.


Using an electric toothbrush has disadvantages, but with the features it has and more benefits that it provides, it is worth the price and initial discomfort. It helps improve overall oral hygiene and health by making it more fun for children and make adults more aware of their brushing habits. Those are the reasons why are electric toothbrushes better than the manual toothbrush

Indeed, it’s more fun and clean with an electric toothbrush!

About the Author Dr. Greg

Dr. Greg's experience in dentistry spans over 25 years serving patients of all ages. He's an advisor to www.emergencydentistsusa.com and a consultant to many professional dental projects.