Manual and electric toothbrushes are equally effective provided that they are used correctly, and for the necessary amount of time. However, some electric toothbrushes do tend to be better than manual ones.
The most effective electric toothbrushes are those which have an oscillating-rotating mechanism. At our dental surgery we recommend the Oral B, models PC 800 and PRO 2000.
If using a manual toothbrush, you should choose one with medium bristles and by a recognised brand. Hard toothbrushes can hurt your gums and cause them to recede, while soft bristles are ineffective for removing the food incrusted between your teeth.
In the case of patients who prefer to use a hard bristle toothbrush, we recommend that they use a medium toothbrush, but that they change it more frequently.
Advantages of an electric rather than manual toothbrush
- It takes less time to clean your teeth.
- You don’t have to use so much strength.
- Brushing is easier.
- It has been demonstrated that using an electric toothbrush for the same amount of time removes more plaque, the main factor responsible for the appearance of tooth decay and gum disease.
- Theoretically, the risk of scratching your teeth is lower; however, this depends on the hardness of your electric toothbrush bristles.
Considerations to be taken into account for manual cleaning
Toothbrushes must be renewed every one or two months to maintain their effectiveness. The time to change depends on the number of times you brush your teeth every day, the hardness of the bristles and the strength you apply when brushing.
If you brush your teeth often, three times a day as recommended, you will have to change it sooner than if you only brush them only at night. Those with soft bristles must be changed sooner than those with hard bristles.
If you suffer from gingivitis or periodontitis, your dentist will advise you on the best way to brush your teeth given that sometimes the force of brushing with an electric toothbrush can cause your gums to recede.
Brushing with soft bristles is recommended if you have very swollen gums, but only at the early stages while the swelling goes down. In this case you should use a chlorhexidine mouthwash, as well as interdental brushes.
There are cases where using a manual toothbrush is more advisable, such as after oral surgery, when you have stitches or are feeling tender in certain areas.
Sometimes in patients having orthodontics treatment we also recommend that they use a manual toothbrush, with special care but frequently, given that an electric toothbrush could cause their brackets to come loose.