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Electric vs. Manual tooth brushing

We get asked on a daily basis if we think an electric toothbrush is better than a manual, and the simple answer is yes. These findings come from not only strong research/ studies in the matter but also personal experiences as dental professionals. 

plaque removal

The aim of the game when it comes to brushing is in plaque removal. When we compare and electric and manual toothbrush user we find an overall reduction in plaque retention on the teeth. By having less plaque/bacteria in the mouth we therefore reduce the chances of gum disease and decay. 


The average person takes 45 seconds to brush their teeth. That is 1 minute and 15 seconds to short!!! An electric toothbrush will generally come with an in built timer that will notify you when 2 minutes is achieved. Some will actually beep every 30 seconds which acts as a reminder for you to change surfaces within the mouth.

Brushing technique

While brushing time might not be a concern to some, sometimes we find technique might not be up to scratch. For those who use a forceful scrubbing motion, you may be causing long term damage to your teeth and gums. Recession of the gums or abrasion of the tooth can often result in chronic sensitivity and unsatisfactory appearance.

A good electric toothbrush will come with a pressure sensor that will stop the brush or glow red to notify you that you are pressing too hard. By using an oscillating motion the brush will not allow you to scrub or damage the tooth surface.

manual brushing

There are those that insist on using a manual brush and that’s ok. If you are one that prefers a manual toothbrush we do ask that you follow the following guidelines;

  • Always use a soft bristle toothbrush
  • Brush for 2 minutes, twice a day
  • Don’t apply pressure, allow the brush to do the work
  • Brush at 45 degree angle toward the gum
  • Aim for small circular motions and avoid scrubbing the teeth

We tend to find those that have experienced an electric toothbrush for themselves will never return to manual brushing. The clean provided by an electric toothbrush is generally far superior then what can be provided by a manual toothbrush. If you follow a good oral health routine then whether you use a manual or electric toothbrush, you’ll have a healthy mouth either way.

If you’ve been considering an electric toothbrush our friendly team can always provide you with a demonstration at your preventive care appointment.

By Ashleigh Lilly

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