In today’s world, shopping for a toothbrush involves nearly as many choices and decisions as buying a car! Toothbrushes are available in every imaginable shape, size, color, type, and price. So which brush should you toss in your cart? The $2 basic bristle brush, or the $25 electric toothbrush? 

According to the American Dental Association, both are reliable choices to clean your teeth and remove plaque. Finding the right toothbrush depends more on your preferences and dental habits. 

Use this guide to understand your options and find the toothbrush best suited to protect, support, and enhance your ongoing oral health.

Manual Toothbrushes

Did you know that the modern toothbrush isn’t even 100 years old? It wasn’t until the late 1930s that the first toothbrush with nylon bristles was invented! Before then, customers had very few options to achieve oral hygiene.

Today, even basic manual toothbrushes come in many different varieties. Keep these general tips in mind when selecting one of your own:

  • –Choose a toothbrush head size that makes it easy to reach all surfaces of your teeth. If your toothbrush is too big or small, it becomes difficult to access the nooks and crannies of your mouth. 
  • –Find a handle that’s comfortable and easy to hold 
  • –Soft-bristled toothbrushes are the safest choice because they won’t damage your tooth enamel and root surfaces. 

Of course, it’s always best to select a toothbrush with a Seal of Approval from the American Dental Association (ADA). This Seal of Approval confirms that the toothbrush has undergone rigorous quality control tests for efficiency and safety. 

Benefits of Manual Toothbrushes

Manual toothbrushes aren’t the most sophisticated, but they get the job done. You may prefer manual toothbrushes for their two main benefits: accessibility and affordability. Standard bristled toothbrush are easy to find and only cost a few dollars each. They’re also easy to use: no batteries, no charger, no learning curve. As long as you use a manual toothbrush with proper form, you can brush twice a day to remove plaque and bacteria. 

Limitations of Manual Toothbrushes

Despite their benefits, manual toothbrushes do have significant limitations when compared to electric toothbrushes:

  • –Brushing too hard with a manual toothbrush can hurt the teeth and gums
  • –Without proper form, a manual toothbrush can’t remove all plaque and bacteria
  • –A manual toothbrush is not equipped with a timer, so you risk brushing for less than two minutes

Electric Toothbrushes

Electric toothbrushes are available in countless makes and models, from simple to highly advanced. Many have the ADA’s Seal of Acceptance, which means they are proven safe and effective. 

Benefits of Electric Toothbrushes

Many children and adults prefer electric toothbrushes because they make it easier to brush effectively. This is especially true for people with arthritis or other conditions that make it difficult to perform the back-and-forth brushing action for two minutes. 

Recent research also suggests that electric toothbrushes clean the teeth and gums better than manual toothbrushes. One study performed over the span of 11 years concluded that regular use of an electric toothbrush resulted in 22% less gum recession and 18% less tooth decay.

Oscillating (rotating) toothbrushes seem to work best, so if you’re serious about fighting plaque, select an electric toothbrush that does more than vibrate and pulse. 

Limitations of Electric Toothbrushes

Electric toothbrushes are available at lower prices than in the past, but some people prefer not to pay $20 or $30 for a toothbrush that relies on batteries or an outlet. Others don’t like the vibrating sensation created by the power of an electric toothbrush.

The Bottom Line

At the end (or beginning!) of the day, manual and electric toothbrushes both have the full ability to protect and improve your oral health. Neither can work magic alone; effective brushing also requires your diligence, proper form, and fluoride toothpaste twice a day. 

If you’re not sure which toothbrush is best for you, especially if you have complicating factors such as orthodontic work, dentures, implants, or bridges, ask your dentist for advice. 

Dr. Bennett and his team at Arvada Dental Center are here to answer all of your questions and help you pursue superior oral health. Call the Arvada Dental Center office in Arvada, CO today to learn more.