Manual vs. electric toothbrush

Are electric toothbrushes better? Discover the pros and cons of a manual vs. electric toothbrush.

Everybody knows that brushing your teeth is essential for good oral health.

The questions is, what should you be brushing with – an electric or manual toothbrush?

With claims such as ‘100% plaque removal’ and ‘sonic technology’, it’s easy to assume that electric models are more effective. But is that really the case? It’s a question we get asked all the time, here at Kiln Lane Dental. And so, here, our dental experts attempt to clear up some of the confusion.


Are electric toothbrushes better?

It’s fair to say, electric toothbrushes do offer a number of advantages. For example:


  • they clean hard-to-reach areas

Most models have a small, round head that oscillates (i.e. rotates) and vibrates. As a result, they make it a little easier to reach awkward areas – such as the very back of the mouth – and the micro-movements created by the vibrations can help to remove plaque.

Clinical trials have shown that, due to these features, electric toothbrushes can remove more plaque over time and may help your teeth and gums to stay healthy in the long term. But it’s important to note, this benefit (compared with a regular toothbrush) is only very slight.


  • they have useful extra features

The key to brushing is doing it gently and for long enough, systematically cleaning the inside and outside surface of each tooth – and an electric toothbrush can help with this.

Most have an in-built timer that will buzz when sufficient time has passed. Some have interval timers, which signal when you should move on to the next section. They may also have pressure sensors, which indicate if you’re brushing too hard and damaging your gums.

Collectively, these features can help you to focus and improve your overall brushing technique.


  • they’re easy to use

An electric toothbrush will do all the hard work for you. Just hold the brush head over each tooth and let it work its magic. It’s as simple as that. And as a result, they’re often a good option for children (who usually need to be supervised to ensure they’re brushing correctly) and anyone with limited mobility (e.g. people with carpal tunnel, arthritis, Parkinson’s).

Of course, electric toothbrushes do have some disadvantages too – primarily, their cost. Priced anywhere between £30-£200, depending on the model chosen, they’re much more expensive than a manual brush. And the replacement brush heads can be pretty pricey too. So it’s worth considering, do the benefits outlined above really justify this extra expense? We’re not fully convinced…


Manual vs electric toothbrush


It’s how you use it that matters

When it comes to maintaining your oral health, most dental professionals will agree – how you brush your teeth is a lot more important than what you use to brush them. Rather than worrying about whether a manual vs. electric toothbrush is better, you should focus on brushing correctly.

For example, you should:

– brush twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening before bed

– brush for a minimum of two minutes each time

– floss regularly, to remove plaque from areas that can’t be reached with a brush

– use high-quality fluoride toothpaste, such as Icy Bear Diamond Dust

– avoid rinsing with water after you have brushed, as this will remove the fluoride

Yes. Thanks to their high-tech features (e.g. built-in timers, oscillating bristles etc.) electric models can sometimes help to improve your brushing technique. But ultimately, the same outcome can be achieved with both an electric and manual toothbrush. Both will remove plaque and keep your mouth healthy. And the best option for you simply comes down to personal preference.


Still not sure whether to use an electric or manual toothbrush?

You’re welcome to contact our dentists for a chat. After all, this is our area of expertise. We’re always happy to offer our advice – whether that be on the pros and cons of a manual vs. electric toothbrush, or more generally, the best ways to keep your teeth and mouth healthy.

It may even be worth booking a routine examination or an appointment with our dental hygienist, to discuss your oral health in detail and ensure that every tooth is in tip-top shape. Either give us a call on 01744 25776 or send an email to and we’ll get back to you.