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Electric toothbrush vs manual: Which is better?

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Regarding toothbrushes, the most important thing is to make sure to brush after each meal, and floss before going to bed. However, a common question that we hear at our dental offices is if electric or manual toothbrushes are better, and which ones we recommend. To answer briefly, we can state that both methods work if the patient knows how to brush appropriately; however, there are some main differences between them. In this article, we are going to talk about each type of brushing tool and what to expect from them.

How to brush correctly?

As stated before, you need to brush after each meal (at least 2 times a day) and floss before going to bed. However, for an appropriate brushing technique you can follow the next steps from the American Dental Association:

  1. Place the brush at a 45’-degree angle towards the gums. (This also applies to electric toothbrushes)
  2. Move the brush back and forth in short strokes without applying too much pressure. 
  3. Brush all the teeth surfaces (outer, inside, and chewing surfaces).
  4. Brush your tongue to remove any remaining bacteria. 

Manual toothbrushes

Manual toothbrushes have been around for some time. Archeologists have found toothbrushes as old as 3500 B.C. from Egyptian and Babylonian cultures. However, the toothbrush as we know it got its first patent on November 7, 1857; from that time toothbrushes have not really changed that much. Most modern toothbrushes are made of a plastic body and nylon bristles, but other materials can also be found. 

Advantages:

· Affordable: Manual toothbrushes are (really) cheap and can be found everywhere.

·Effective: They do work as well as electric brushes if you follow the steps from the ADA technique seen above.

·Practical: They are easy to clean and store.

Disadvantages:

·         Technique-dependent: Even when they work as well as electric brushes if you follow the ADA brushing technique, some people tend to brush too hard (can damage gums), not brush enough time, or just not do it correctly.

·         Need to choose the correct one: There are so many types of toothbrushes that some people need a lot of time (and money) to find the correct one for them.

Electric toothbrushes

The first electric toothbrush was invented in Switzerland in 1954 and it came to the USA in 1959 under the commercial name of “Broxodent“. Since its invention, it has been widely accepted by the American public. They tend to be expensive, but have decreased their price through the years, so some people see it as a good investment.

Advantages:

· Easy to use: They are easy to use even for children and the elderly, they also have a built-in timer to know when to stop brushing.

· Remove more plaque: It has been confirmed by several studies that electric toothbrushes remove more plaque than traditional brushing.

· Safe for gums: Electric toothbrushes do not hurt gums.

Disadvantages:

·         More expensive: Electric toothbrushes are way more expensive than their traditional counterparts. However, the investment is totally worth it.

·         Can get damaged: Electric toothbrushes can get damaged and stop working.

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So, which one is better? The electric toothbrush or manual?

As you can see, both types of brushes have their advantages and disadvantages. However, as stated above, any type of brush can lead to a proper cleaning if it is done with the correct technique, so it is not a matter of electric toothbrush vs manual, but which one is better for your needs. 

You can come to Somos Dental for your regular check-up and chat with our dentist about the additional advantages and disadvantages of each type of toothbrush. You can fill our online form or call us and get a free first appointment; you can also find us at any of our six locations at Downtown Phoenix, Mesa, Laveen, Avondale, Desert Sky Mall, and Camelback.

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