The first electric toothbrush, the Broxodent, was invented by Dr. Philippe-Guy Woogin in Switzerland in 1954. Since that time, both dentists and laypersons alike have debated the merits of electric toothbrushes, especially compared to the invention’s ordinary, “manually-operated” predecessor.
Though the dentists at Infinite Dental Wellness hold that both electric and non-electric toothbrushes are effective when used correctly, we are often asked by clients: “Which one is better.” To answer this question, we scoured the internet and consulted our own research to compile a list of electric toothbrush pros and cons.
Pros Of Using Electric Toothbrushes
Superior Plaque Removal
Over the years, pundits have claimed that electric toothbrushes are actually more effective tooth-cleaning instruments that the hand-powered alternatives, and they might be right. According to a 2014 study by Cochrane, an independently-funded healthcare research firm, an electric toothbrush is 11% more effective at removing plaque when used for three months or more. The study also found that electric toothbrushes reduce gingivitis by 6% and bleeding gums by 17% over manual toothbrushes.
Less Risk For Abrasions
Because electric toothbrushes don’t need to be moved much to clean one’s teeth, the danger of brushing too hard or using horizontal scrubbing motions (which can cause abrasions) is reduced. Myths regarding the dangers of electric toothbrushes–specifically, that they cause or accelerate gum recession–abound, those these claims are unfounded. The dentists at Infinite Dental Wellness have seen no evidence that using an electric toothbrush causes any harm whatsoever.
Extra Features Help Brushing
Some electric toothbrushes, like the Phillips Sonicare line, have features like built-in timers that let patients know when to stop brushing or when to switch from the left to the right side of the mouth. To protect from brushing too hard, companies like Oral B have integrated pressure sensors that automatically shut the toothbrush off when too much pressure is applied.
Great For People With Mobility Restrictions
Because they don’t require the back-and-forth arm movement of manual toothbrushes, electric toothbrushes are ideal for people with disabilities, mobility restrictions, arthritis, the elderly, and the very young.
Cons Of Using An Electric Tootbrush
High Upfront Cost
Though the PROS of using an electric toothbrush are numerous, actually buying the toothbrush may be the most notable CON we can think of. While even the most advanced manual toothbrushes only cost $6-$10, most electric toothbrushes start at $40, with high-end models costing as much as $150-$200 (according to Amazon.com). Just like regular toothbrushes, electric toothbrush heads also need to be replaced every few months.
Electric Toothbrushes Can Break
If you drop a manual toothbrush on the floor, no big deal; just pick it up and wash it off. If your electric toothbrushes bounces off the bathroom tiles, however, you might be out $75. Also, because electric toothbrushes have moving parts, there is always the risk that one of those parts might one day stop working, effectively turning your fancy electric model into an expensive manual one.
Electric Toothbrushes Need Charging
The amount of electricity used to charge an electric toothbrush is negligible and not likely to impact your power bill; hauling the clunky base around when traveling, on the other hand, can be inconvenient enough to keep people from investing in a device they can only use at home (especially if they leave town often).