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Manual Toothbrush vs. Electric Toothbrush

I am often asked about types of toothbrushes. And my short answer is to use whatever motivates you to keep your teeth as clean as possible. There is no one best solution for everyone, so I try not to give a generic one size fits all answer, but here I will try to address some things to think about when you are making your next toothbrush purchase.

First of all, my personal experience has shown that electric toothbrushes can remove plaque better than manual versions. I have a couple particularly tricky spots in my mouth that I use to test this. And when I use my electric toothbrush the plaque is clearly removed better in these tricky areas.

Now, there is nothing wrong with a manual toothbrush. It is cheap and easy to use. The down side is that it is technique sensitive more than an electric toothbrush. And it’s more difficult to do the brushing strokes necessary to remove the plaque in tough to reach areas; whereas the electric brush does the work for you.

With all brushes, you want to use only soft bristles. The brushing motion or ultrasonic forces will remove the plaque thoroughly; hard bristles are not needed and will only lead to erosion of both the tooth and gums over time. The one motion you want to be careful in doing is back and forth along the outside of the teeth. This also can cause wear on the teeth and gums if you brush too hard. Therefore circular motions or a motion from the gums to the tooth is gentler for your mouth.

As far as electric brushes go, there are several brands. They all seem to work pretty well. But, I would not depend on the inexpensive spin-brushes to do much better than a manual brush. You really have to buy the more expensive electric brushes to get an improved result. However, assess the premium brushes closely to make sure the extra bells and whistles are worth the extra investment to you. The only time I would ever buy a cheap spin-brush would be for a child that is having a tough time getting inspired to brush and the fun spin-brush with cartoon characters might motivate the child more.

Flossing is also important for your teeth and gums. So remember no matter what type of toothbrush you use, there is no substitute for flossing.

And in closing, remember one important rule for taking care of your teeth: only brush the ones you want to keep.