Given the bewildering number and types of toothbrushes available on the market today, it is important for consumers to have a basic knowledge of the types of toothbrushes and their respective advantages. A handheld or manual toothbrush, typically a flexible plastic handle for gripping with an angled bristle head at one end, is still the most commonly used toothbrush, but various types of electric toothbrushes are gaining market share.
The first point to make here is that both manual and electric toothbrushes do a good job in the routine care of your teeth and gums if used correctly. That said; let’s take a closer look at the advantages and disadvantages of both kinds of toothbrushes.
A regular plastic toothbrush is very inexpensive, and can be bought at almost any grocery store or pharmacy/drug store. Electric toothbrushes start at $12-15 and fancy models can cost more than $100.
A manual toothbrush is also very convenient, they take up almost no space and you can carry one with you in your purse or backpack. Electric toothbrushes are significantly more bulky, and although most have battery packs that last for quite a bit of use, it will eventually have to be recharged and/or have the battery replaced.
Manual toothbrushes also allow users to have better control of how hard they are brushing. The rapid mechanical action of electric toothbrushes makes it more likely that you will brush too hard, which can lead to damaging the enamel of your teeth or even discoloration.
Modern electric toothbrushes with rotating-oscillating bristles do offer one significant over manual (or older electric) toothbrushes – they clean the teeth better. A number of studies have shown that regular use of an electric toothbrush with rotating-oscillating bristles provide optimum plaque removal.
Another advantage of electric toothbrushes is for use by people with limited reach (i.e., those who are physically unable to use a manual toothbrush in the recommended fashion). Electric toothbrushes are very useful tools for senior citizens or disabled individuals, as the mechanical action of the electric toothbrush requires less strength and dexterity to get a reasonable degree of cleaning and plaque removal.
The truth is that either an electric or a manual toothbrush is perfectly fine for routine care of your teeth, but there is really no reason to deal with the overhead of using an electric toothbrush unless you are physically unable to brush correctly with a manual toothbrush.