It seems a no-brainer that an electric toothbrush must be better for oral hygiene that your bog-standard manual affair, especially given the number of people who now opt for the electrical version. But is it really the case that electric is necessarily better?
Many dentists have weighed in on this popular debate, and this article makes things simple by breaking down some of the key points of this toothy debate. Many studies have shown that electric toothbrushes can indeed reduce the amount of bacteria in your mouth, with one famous study showing a 21% reduction of plaque when using a non-manual brush.
That said, many dental professionals have questioned these studies, and claim that there is no verifiable proof. These dentists claim that the most important part is making sure that you brush all surfaces of your teeth thoroughly and that you use a good fluoride toothpaste. Most dentists maintain that these factors are of way more importance then whether or not you use something electrical.
One dentist said “I think that if you use a manual toothbrush properly, you can get the same results”. I think the key message is that one isn’t better than the other. They are both very effective at cleaning teeth, including a manual toothbrush when used properly. We can also consider the technology on offer with the electric options.
While some electric toothbrushes are fairly simple in their design, others have a myriad of wacky additions, such as cameras, music and even video feeds. What many usefully feature is a built-in timer, which ensures that you clean your teeth for the full length of the widely-recommended benchmark of two whole minutes.
Although this is the minimum you should aim for, many guilty people don’t even brush for one minute. So a toothbrush with a timer can be handy. That said, a manual one can do the same trick if you simply keep your eye on a clock… but if the novelty of technology does indeed keep you brushing, then that’s perhaps an incentive in itself.
This technology can unfortunately come with a rather hefty price tag. While there are many bargain-basement options available, some electric toothbrushes can rack in at a massive £200 or more, which is enough to wipe that white smile off your face… and this is before you consider the cost of replacement heads and the price of charging your device.
Add that to the relative lesser portability with an electric device, and they can be somewhat of an inconvenience. All in all, it seems that electric toothbrushes are not necessarily worth the investment unless you have a physical impairment which restricts you from using something manual.
That said, if an electric toothbrush can keep you brushing properly for the full recommended two minutes, then it’s worth the money.
The most important thing for oral hygiene is a good toothpaste, a good technique and a sufficiently-lengthy session of brushing at least twice-daily…. which alone should usually be enough to keep you smiling!