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Should I Use an Electric Toothbrush?

Woman choosing between manual and electric toothbrush.

Of course you want a clean, beautiful smile, so you brush diligently twice a day, but could you do more for your teeth? You might wonder if investing in an electric toothbrush will help you make the most of your daily brushing habit. But is an electric toothbrush a necessity for a healthy smile?

For many people, an electric toothbrush is an excellent option. For example, for young children, or those with difficulty using a manual toothbrush from arthritis, an electric toothbrush can make a big difference. But it’s important to know you can still maintain good oral health with a manual toothbrush.

The bottom line is that there are some pros and cons to each option. The important thing is to consider what is important to you and to choose the best option for your individual needs and preferences.


Both varieties of toothbrush are effective at removing plaque and preventing disease and decay. Overall, your brushing habits will have a greater impact on your oral health than the type of brush you choose. Whether using a manual or battery-powered toothbrush, brushing your teeth regularly twice a day for at least two minutes (not too vigorously) with a soft-bristled brush, flossing daily, and getting regular dental checkups, will be the most significant factors.

There are conflicting studies about whether electric toothbrushes are more effective. Some studies have found little difference. Other recent studies show that oscillating electric toothbrushes (ones where the head rotates and moves in both directions) are more effective than manual toothbrushes at removing plaque and preventing gum disease and tooth decay.


There is an initial investment in an electric toothbrush of anywhere from $20-200. Like disposable toothbrushes, you will also need to replace the heads of an electric toothbrush. The replacement heads can range in cost depending on the brand you choose and can be more expensive than disposable brushes. Of course, your oral health is a worthy investment. If an electric toothbrush will help you to brush better, it is worth the money.

Changing Your Toothbrush Head or Disposable Toothbrush

You will need to change your toothbrush or toothbrush head regardless of which type of brush you choose. The bristles of both types can harbor bacteria and will eventually wear and fray. Worn bristled won’t effectively clean teeth, and in fact, they can actually damage your enamel.

You should replace your disposable toothbrush every three to four months. For an electric toothbrush, you should change it by the three-month mark. Electric brush heads may not last as long as regular toothbrushes because the bristles are often shorter, and the fast-moving bristles can wear faster.


There is no doubt that finding a manual toothbrush is easy and convenient. You can pick one up at any pharmacy, grocery store, big-box store, or even convenience store. Once you choose a specific brand of electric toothbrush, it will likely only accept matching heads. Take into consideration how convenient it will be to find your brand of replacement heads.

Some electric toothbrush brands offer subscription services for replacement heads. This could be an option to consider, especially if you tend to forget to replace your toothbrush on time. A subscription will act as a reminder since replacements will be sent at regular intervals.

Personal Preference

It might surprise you that one of the most important factors is simply choosing the type of toothbrush you like the best. Using the type of toothbrush you prefer makes brushing your teeth more comfortable and enjoyable. And the more pleasant brushing is, the more likely it is that you will brush for the recommended two minutes twice a day.

Not all electric toothbrushes are created equal. If you do choose an electric toothbrush, talk to your hygienist or dentist about a brand they recommend. Schedule your regular checkup at Tomkins Dental for a great opportunity to talk about the best toothbrush options for you and your family.


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