Electric or Manual - Which Toothbrush is Right for You? - Holladay Family Dental
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Electric or Manual – Which Toothbrush is Right for You?

Electric or Manual – Which Toothbrush is Right for You?

Electric toothbrush or manual toothbrush – which cleans your teeth best? People have been asking this question virtually since the electric toothbrush was first invented. There’s arguments in favor of each, but how do you begin to cut through all the noise to get to the heart of the issue?

That’s what we plan to do here today. We’ll outline some of the biggest differences between as well as the major benefits of both the electric and manual toothbrush to help you decide which is right for you. By the end, you should have no problem picking which you like more.

What’s the Difference?

On the most basic level, electric brushes are different from manual brushes because they use an electric motor to spin the bristles. For more specific differences, however, we’ll
need to look deeper.

The biggest difference between electric and manual toothbrushes comes in the amount of strokes per minute they can produce. With a manual, you’re limited to however many you can produce naturally (usually around 300 strokes per minute). Electric brushes, however, can almost all produce more strokes than that, with some brands going as quickly as 31,000 strokes per minute according to their internal research.

Advantages of Electric

There are several advantages to using an electric brush over a manual. Going back to the stroke counts mentioned before, the sheer number of strokes per minute an electric toothbrush can produce over regular use will generally equate to cleaner teeth, especially in a world where some people do not brush for the recommended 2 minutes twice a day.

Additionally, electric toothbrushes can be beneficial for those who have limited mobility in their arms. As electric brushes essentially brush themselves, it can make personal oral hygiene much easier. This can apply to young children, too, who currently lack the fine motor functions necessary to brush their teeth well on their own. This makes electric brushes a good choice for taking care of kids teeth.

There are also certain technological benefits to electric toothbrushes, with many brushes designed to do more than simply spin. At their most simple, rotary brushes will spin in circles to clean teeth, with sonic brushes moving side to side to do the same. More complex models, such as ultrasonic or ionic toothbrushes, will vibrate to dislodge debris or emit a small electrical current to pull plaque to the brush, respectively. These more advanced models will generally produce a more thorough cleaning.

Advantages of Manual

While electric brushes may seem to have all the advantages, this is not necessarily the case. Manual brushes, for example, have many more options to choose from than electric. There are a multitude of brushes with different textured bristles, differently designed heads, and different grips to maximize the comfort of the user, which is something electric brushes simply don’t have at this stage.

Another major factor is cost, with manual brushes costing significantly less than electric. In general, electric toothbrushes can cost in the hundreds of dollars, while some manual brushes might even be free. This means your choice of brush could be somewhat price prohibitive.


While, when used properly, both electric and manual toothbrushes can provide complete and comprehensive cleaning of your teeth, electric brushes have the edge in most categories. Provided you can afford them, an electric toothbrush would serve you well in your oral hygiene routine, keeping yours and your kids teeth shining.