This debate has been raging longer than Holden versus Ford! Patients constantly ask us which is better and which they should use to keep their teeth as clean as possible, and to prevent cavities. The true is, they are both as good as each other – as long as you know how to use them.
Some people like the control afforded to them by a manual toothbrush. They are in charge of the way the tooth is brushed, what the bristles do, and where they are positioned. There is more tactile sensation with a manual toothbrush so you can really feel how you are brushing. They are also easier to store and transport, so if you are travelling regularly or for an extended time, chucking one small brush into your luggage is much more appealing than all the charging devices you need to go with your electric brush. There are also infinitely more options when it comes to designs and colours - this may matter slightly more to your four year old than to you! As we know though, it may be the spider man design on the brush that actually gets your little one putting it near his or her mouth. There are also options when it comes to the bristles on a manual toothbrush. In recent years charcoal bristles have become increasingly popular. Some caution should be taken as charcoal is abrasive to tooth structure, and the evidence for its detoxifying capabilities is still not conclusive. Bamboo bristles are another natural option.
An electric toothbrush, on the other hand, offers many benefits to the user as well. The best ones have a rotating oscillating head, which means it spins around in a circle and moves in a wave motion as well. This performs the ideal brushing action without you having to do anything more than hold the handle. For those of us whose manual dexterity is not so good – whether that be because we are on the older side or the younger side of life – an electric toothbrush can really help clean the teeth to a high standard. The inbuilt timer on electric toothbrushes is also a great motivator for the user to brush for the recommended two minutes.
There are a huge number of features that electric toothbrushes offer these days as well. Bluetooth connectivity allows you to sync your toothbrush with your phone so you can get feedback on your brushing habits. You can monitor these habits over the months and even look at graphs that compare how long you brushed some days compared with others. A real plus for those out there who tend to be a bit heavy handed is the pressure sensor that comes with many toothbrushes now. The handle will flash red or make a sound to alert you that you are pressing too hard against your teeth and gums! This excellent feature really helps protect those important parts of our mouth.
Talk to your dentist or hygienist if you are not sure which option would be best for you. They will assess your current brushing technique and help you decide whether a different style of brush may help minimise your chance of developing gum disease or cavities in your teeth.