Which toothbrush should I use? Manual? or Electric?

Many patients ask about which type of toothbrush to use, the answer is… it depends!

Here is why:

  1. Between brushing, naturally occurring bacteria multiply on the surface of your teeth. This is often called plaque. These bacteria produce acid which can cause tooth decay, and the bristles of the toothbrush remove the bacteria from the surface of the tooth. Regularly removing this layer of bacteria can help reduce decay of your teeth. Now.. See point 2!
  2. To effectively remove the layer of plaque it is important for the bristles to brush over all areas of the tooth. BUT! Whether those bristles are on an electric or manual toothbrush does not matter, the important thing is to remove the bacteria. So, let’s get those bristles on your teeth!
  3. Electric toothbrushes can be great for certain people. They do not require as much concentration from the toothbrush user to clean the surface of the teeth. For those people who have trouble controlling their movements, and/or have trouble paying attention when brushing, an electric toothbrush can help improve brushing results. People who may benefit include older people with dexterity issues, children with low motivation, and disabled people.
  4. Always use a soft toothbrush (almost all electric brushes are soft) and pay attention not to brush too hard. Electric brushes should be placed on the tooth lightly, but not scrubbed back and forth. Manual toothbrushes should be placed with the toothbrush bristles at the gum line at a 45° angle, brushing gently in a circular motion on all surfaces of the teeth. Remember to clean the front, back and top of your teeth, and use floss for in-between.

For more on this and lots of other dental health information visit the Australian Dental Association website.