Electric Toothbrush vs manual toothbrush

Electric toothbrush vs Manual brushing is a fight that has been going on for quite some time in the dental hygiene industry.

What is the benefit of an electric toothbrush? Is it just the same as manual brushing? Should I spend my hard-earned money on electric if the manual is cheaper? Is an electric toothbrush even safe?

In this article, we will give you the answer to all those questions and many more and resolve that age-old fight for a supreme spot at the toothbrush podium.

A brief history of the toothbrush

two pink manual toothbrushes

        Like all things, the toothbrush has a history. Since humankind existed, there has always been a tool to help clean the teeth. First forms of toothbrushes date back to 3500- 3000 BC in the era of Babylonians and Egyptians. The first known “bristle brush“ that resembles today’s toothbrush dates back to around 700 AD in the Tang dynasty era of China. It is, therefore, the Chinese that invented the toothbrush.

        The first toothbrush of a more modern design was invented by William Addis in England around 1780. The handle was carved from cattle bone and the brush head was still made from swine bristles although it is reported that some used horsehairs and even feathers in preference.

        Addis began mass production of the toothbrush to whereby 1840 they so much took off in popularity that it forced him to expand his business and production into larger premises. With popularity and automated manufacture system Addis company had by 1860s, it was no wonder toothbrush manufacture took off even in countries like the USA.

Electric Toothbrush – [Electric toothbrush VS Manual Brushing]

Electric Toothbrush VS manual brushing in detailed

        Many tried to make existing products better. In 1880, Dr. Scott advertised the first electric toothbrush even though there was no electricity in the product. Inside the handles were magnetized iron rods.

        However, the first “real“ electric toothbrush didn’t come to the market until the 1950s when Dr. Phillipe G Wog invented “Broxodent “, the first usable electric toothbrush. Created and manufactured in Switzerland, they later built it in France. 

        Whilst the Broxo electric toothbrush brought improvements and efficiencies, the electric toothbrush did not sell all that well until a cordless and rechargeable model became available in 1961 from General Electric. 

Electric toothbrush VS Manual brushing- Pros and Cons

        There are many reasons why you should opt for one or the other. In this article, we will mention a few of them that make a pretty good case of why electric toothbrushes are a better solution for you.

Consistent power delivery

Electric Toothbrush

        With a manual brush, it’s up to you to move the brush around your mouth enough that the bristles sweep the tooth surfaces and brush away all the plaque, debris, and bacteria.

        With an electric toothbrush, while you still have to move it between 4 quadrants of the mouth, the electric motor moves the bristles so you don’t have to. Best of all, the power is consistent and unlike your hand and arm, the electric motor doesn’t get tired.

Remove up to 100% more plaque than a manual brush

        Take the consistent power delivery, the scientifically engineered brush heads, and design, and you achieve a solution that can offer more plaque removal than a manual toothbrush. As some manufacturers suggest, the results is up to 100% more.

        Even if you don’t believe manufacturers, there are independently tested and verified figures that support 21% less plaque in a 3 month’s time. Which still makes it impressive and still makes healthier teeth, healthier gums, and healthier you.

Reduces tooth decay and improves gum health

        Gingivitis is an inflammation of gums caused by bacterial toxins in dental plaque. It’s not very pleasant, in fact, it’s possible you may have had it in a mild or more extreme form. Red gums, very sensitive, often susceptible to bleeding.

        An electric toothbrush can help with that. More effective at removing plaque, it means fewer bacteria in the mouth, which causes less pain and suffering. Long-term use of an electric toothbrush also increases the number of teeth kept so you would have that to be happy about.

Timers and pacers to encourage a 2 minute cleen

Black Electric Toothbrush VS manual brushing

        Dentist recommendation says you should clean your teeth twice a day for 2 minutes each time. Many of us clean it twice a day, but how can you be sure it’s exactly 2 minutes? There are some crazy statistics on how short of a time some people clean their teeth.

        Most electronic toothbrushes include a timer that will ensure you never miss that 2-minute mark. In fact, lots of them even have something they call “quad pacer“ or a 30 seconds timer that will make sure you clean each of the 4 quadrants of your mouth the same time by giving you warning after 30 seconds pass.

Various cleaning modes

        With the manual brush, you only have one cleaning mode, unless you create some clever modes yourself by varying the motion speed and the speed of your hand movement. More and more electric brushes offer a variety of cleaning modes.

        Not that everyone needs or desires them, but they can offer many benefits if used correctly. Modes include Daily Clean, Whitening, Sensitive, Gum Care, Deep Clean, Massage and Tongue Cleaning.

        The intention is that different modes can achieve different results. For example, Sensitive mode will still deliver consistent clean whilst reducing the power of the brush to cater to the delicate nature of one’s teeth or gums.

Different brush heads

Manual Toothbrush with toothpaste

        Not essential, but often beneficial are the different styles of brush heads that are available for the electric toothbrush. Unlike the manual brush where you need to buy a whole new brush, with the electric one you need the new head to fit the handle. Pair the appropriate brush head with the cleaning mode you desire and the results can be improved.

Internal or removable batteries

        Unlike manual brushes, an electric one is powered by internal or removable batteries. There is a concern that they are not long-lasting, but battery life ranges from 5 to 21 days on average for internal batteries. And you can recharge them at will.

         Removable ones sometimes last even longer. Some of them can last as much as 6 months. So even if you are away from power to charge your toothbrush, there are options that are very reliable.

The price of it all (Electric Toothbrush VS Manual Brushing)

        If we are talking about electric toothbrushes, we can’t avoid one issue and that is the price. You really can’t deny that they are more expensive than manual toothbrushes.

        However, they are not as expensive as made out. You can get them as low as 20 dollars but spending around 50 dollars will net you some better ones in terms of quality. The maximum you will need to spend is 150- 200 dollars if you want premium quality.

Check out our Top 10 blog review on Sonicare Electric Toothbrushes if you are ready to invest in your health!

        If you add that you can replace your brush head for the same price as manual brush, you see that it’s not that expensive and you have an added benefit of cleaning your teeth better and have them more healthy which will save you a bundle in dentists costs.

Are electric toothbrushes safe? (Electric Toothbrush VS Manual Brushing)

Electric Toothbrush OR manual brushing

        There is a concern that electric toothbrushes can damage teeth. No, electric toothbrushes are perfectly safe for your teeth with many studies, in fact, showing how they are in fact better and more beneficial for your teeth.

        A study by Annette Weigand in 2012 compared manual and electric brushes and found that manual brushes are more abrasive to the teeth and gums. When most people have ever known a manual toothbrush, there is every right to be skeptical about the product you haven’t used before. But science has your back, and there is extensive research that shows how an electric toothbrush is perfectly safe to use.

If you are thinking about traveling with an electric toothbrush in the future, you should check out this post.

Is an electric toothbrush worth it?

Pink Electric Toothbrush VS manual brushing

        We presented you with a very good argument that they are worth your buck. Electric toothbrush VS Manual brushing is a fight that has been burning in dental hygiene. And yet there are more and more pieces of evidence that fight has been won already by an electronic toothbrush.

        Besides consistent power, they remove more plaque, which means less tooth decay and better gum health. It also means less pain, fewer trips to the dentist, and better breath.

        With various add-ons like timers, pacers, various cleaning modes, different brush heads, and batteries for added working time, they are greatly improved versions of manual brushes, so much so they can be called the next step in the evolution of teeth hygiene.

         There is a concern in price and safety. Safety concerns have been debunked multiple times by science and it has shown only benefit for your teeth, and the price is not much of an issue today where they have become very affordable.

        How to choose electric toothbrush is entirely up to you, they come at various forms and prices. But rest assured it will give you the great benefit and that your teeth will thank you for it.

Electric Toothbrush VS Manual Brushing (Bottom Line)

I believe you have understood both sides of the coin after reading through this article. And with all the facts we presented, I am sure you will come to agree that it is definitely worth investing in an electric toothbrush in the long run.

Your teeth, gums, and dentist will thank you for that.

Please let us know how was your experience after switching to an electric toothbrush in the comment section below.

8 replies
  1. Lee
    Lee says:

    Great post with a good history behind the tooth brush! I have used an electric tooth brush for over 10 years now and love it. My main reason for going electric was because I suffered with sensitive teeth as I was too aggressive with a manual one. It’s good to see the different ones you can buy which I think I will invest and upgrade what I have now! Thank you.

  2. Ben
    Ben says:

    Hi Hans!
    This is a GREAT post about electric vs manual brushing. I have been using manual brushes my whole life but the thought of using an electric toothbrush has been interesting to me.
    Interesting to hear that electric is more effective. That alone makes me consider switching!
    I agree that the price would be worth it, as one electric brush could last much longer than any manual ones.

    Thanks for the info!

    • Hans
      Hans says:

      Yes Ben, just take note that for electric brush, you will need to replace the brush head (recommended every 3-4 months) which ranges from $0.10 till $3 per brush depending on the brand and type.

  3. Ben
    Ben says:

    Hi Hans!
    This is a GREAT post about electric vs manual brushing. I have been using manual brushes my whole life but the thought of using an electric toothbrush has been interesting to me.
    Interesting to hear that electric is more effective. That alone makes me consider switching!
    I agree that the price would be worth it, as one electric brush could last much longer than any manual ones.

    Thanks for the info!

    • Hans
      Hans says:

      If that amount invested in an electric toothbrush won’t compromise the quality of your life, I will say do it and make your teeth shine =)

  4. Tristan
    Tristan says:

    This is a fantastic article and clears up any concerns around using electric toothbrushes as opposed to manual toothbrushes and which ones are better for your overall health. I personally switched to an electric toothbrush a few months ago (after brushing my teeth my whole life with a manual brush) and the difference is quite substantial. My teeth feel much cleaner after every brush and it no longer feels like a hassle to scrub them clean as the electric brush can easily access all the areas that a manual brush can’t. They are definitely worth investing in your money into in order to maintain high quality personal dental hygiene.


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