Brushing your teeth is usually step one in everyone’s daily oral hygiene routine - but are we really equipping ourselves with the right tools for this crucial task? While reports show that over 41% of the U.S. population with power toothbrushes use them daily, electric toothbrushes are not very commonly used here in Singapore. Are electric toothbrushes really that much more amazing than a regular toothbrush?
In truth, there are a whole host of reasons for and against the use of an electric toothbrush versus a conventional one. Let’s take a closer look and some of the pros and cons best electric toothbrush, and hopefully by the end of this article you’ll be equipped with the knowledge to pick a toothbrush that best suits your own specific oral health needs and hygiene needs.
What are the advantages of electric toothbrushes?
1) More efficient at plaque removal
Studies1 have shown that, in general, electric toothbrushes are more effective than conventional ones when preventing plaque build-up and gingivitis. In a three-month window, electric and manual toothbrushes were seen to reduce plaque and gingivitis occurrence more effectively by 21% and 11% respectively. Furthermore, electric toothbrushes provide those with an oscillation function proved to be slightly more effective to remove plague rather than only vibrating ones.
2) Better for people who have limited mobility
For those of us suffering from gout, carpal tunnel or simply sustained a hand or finger injury, it might be tough to even go through the simple motions of gripping a toothbrush and brushing our teeth. By using an electric toothbrush, it vastly simplifies the brushing motion as the electric motor of brush head ofthe toothbrush generates most of the force needed to properly clean the tooth and gums.
3) Preferable for people with braces
Anyone who has had braces before will know how troublesome and pesky getting food stuck in between your brackets is. This is especially true with fibrous foods like corn, vegetables and things like apple skins that are incredibly tough to remove through normal and brushing technique alone.
The electric toothbrush, when used properly, will be able to clean areas in between the orthodontic appliance2 that a normal toothbrush will simply find too much pressure difficult to reach.
4) Better for the environment
Let’s face it, toothbrushes aren’t something we have too much sentimental value attached to. In general, the average lifespan of a toothbrush is between 3-4 months. After that, the bristles start to fall off or become frayed and the whole toothbrush or brush head might become icky from a buildup of mildew and mold. This isn’t a problem you face when using an electric toothbrush. For electric toothbrushes3, they are made of different material so they are less likely to get stained. Also, they come with replaceable heads which tend to be made in a more environmentally friendly fashion.
5) Built-in timers
Most electric toothbrushes these days come with in-built timers that tells you exactly how long you should be brushing your teeth for. Studies have shown that without keeping time, people spend an average of 45 seconds brushing cleaner teeth, which is way less than the recommended duration thorough clean up of two full minutes4.
What are the disadvantages of electric toothbrushes?
1) They’re more costly
Needless to say, the price of electric toothbrushes is going to be way higher than a normal manual brush. In Singapore retailers, the price of a standard electric toothbrush starts at around SGD $50 and can go all the way up to SGD $300! Whereas a normal manual toothbrush, even the more expensive ones, is anywhere between $3 to $12 per brush.
2) Too many different brands
Anyone who’s purchased an electric toothbrush knows the feeling - when you’re looking for replacement brush heads at a local pharmacy and they just don’t carry any. The tough reality about electric toothbrushes is that new models are always coming out, under a variety of different brands. Remember to stock up beforehand to prevent spending an inordinate amount of time shopping for toiletries!
3) They require electricity
In many ways, this can prove to be a really irritating inconvenience. Your electric toothbrush running out of juice in the morning just as you’re rushing for an important client meeting can be one of the most frustrating feelings known to man. Additionally, for battery-powered toothbrushes, having to dig in your storeroom for the exact size of batteries can be an extremely painful experience.
All in all, oral specialists around the world say that both manual and electric toothbrushes are more than adequate tools for proper oral care. Simply pick the one that fits you the best, observe good brushing habits and overall dental hygiene, and you’ll be good to go!
- Cronin M, Dembling W, Warren PR, King DW. A 3-month clinical investigation comparing the safety and efficacy of a novel electric toothbrush (Braun Oral-B 3D Plaque Remover) with a manual toothbrush. Am J Dent. 1998 Sep;11(Spec No):S17-21. PMID: 10530095.
- Boyd RL, Murray P, Robertson PB. Effect of rotary electric toothbrush versus manual toothbrush on periodontal status during orthodontic treatment. Am J Orthod Dentofacial Orthop. 1989 Oct;96(4):342-7. doi: 10.1016/0889-5406(89)90354-5. PMID: 2801640.
- Us5613259a - High Frequency Electric Toothbrush. https://patents.google.com/patent/US5613259A/en
- Creeth JE, Gallagher A, Sowinski J, Bowman J, Barrett K, Lowe S, Patel K, Bosma ML. The effect of brushing time and dentifrice on dental plaque removal in vivo. J Dent Hyg. 2009 Summer;83(3):111-6. Epub 2009 Aug 14. PMID: 19723429.