An electric toothbrush cleans teeth and gums much better than a manual toothbrush, according to the findings of several studies.
There are numerous studies which demonstrate the efficacy of using an electric toothbrush as opposed to a manual toothbrush. The bottom line for good oral hygiene is the effective removal of dental plaque.
What is dental plaque?
Dental plaque is a soft white sticky substance which forms and sticks to the surface of teeth. It is made of food debris and high amounts of bacteria and a medium that they produce to help them retain on the teeth.
It is common knowledge and proven science that dental plaque is the major reason for tooth decay and adult gum disease.
So, it is essential that the plaque is removed daily, and not allowed to build up on the teeth.
A study (undertaken in 2019) which took 11 years to complete found that people who use an electric toothbrush have healthier gums, less tooth decay and as a result will keep their teeth for longer, compared with those who use a manual toothbrush.1
This study has confirmed what many earlier studies have suggested that electric toothbrushes are better for oral health.
Why are electric toothbrushes better?
Well, in a nutshell they are really effective at removing plaque.
However, electrical toothbrushes are not all in the same boat.
There are those with heads that rotate in both directions, or ‘oscillating’ heads; and there are those that vibrate left and right, forward and backward.
“As the science behind the advantages of electric toothbrushes is mounting, the decision whether to invest in one becomes much easier.”
In my experience, I have found certain electric toothbrushes uncomfortable, they can cause some giddiness in some patients, as the buzzing continues in the head; but that differs from person to person.
I have also seen patients who use electric toothbrushes, yet their oral hygiene is below standard; and when reverting to manual brushes, their oral hygiene improves. So, it is about the mindset and the method used.
Does an Electric Toothbrush Damage Teeth?
If used correctly, then they should not damage the teeth. Bearing this in mind, any toothbrush: electric or manual may damage the tooth if not use properly.
That is why it is important to see your dentist regularly and to be instructed on how to clean the teeth adequately.
Do Electric Toothbrushes Remove More Plaque?
The short answer is yes. One of the primary reasons that an electric toothbrush does this is due to the consistent power delivery.
Unlike a manual toothbrush the electric toothbrush continues to deliver the same power from the second it is switched on to the moment it is switched off.
A manual toothbrush is controlled by a human arm, is less likely to keep up with that consistent power.
When something is consistent and uniform you often see improvement.
Another reason is that owning an electric toothbrush is about the mindset one has to his or her teeth. Because if you are investing in an electric toothbrush, then it is quite likely that you are concerned about your teeth and you want to give them your best.
A third reason relates to certain types of toothbrush which deliver varying motion patterns that disrupt dental plaque much more effectively than 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. However, if you are serious about improved oral hygiene, then you need to have the right mindset and that usually leads to you to an electric toothbrush.
- 1. ORAL HEALTH FOUNDATION (2018) ‘National Smile Month Nationwide Survey 2019’, Atomik Research, May 2019, Sample 2,003.
- 2. Pitchika, V, Pink, C, Völzke, H, Welk, A, Kocher, T, Holtfreter, B. Long‐term impact of powered toothbrush on oral health: 11‐year cohort study. J Clin Periodontol. 2019; 46: 713– 722. https://doi.org/10.1111/jcpe.13126