Toothbrushes: Manual vs. Electric

When you think of the word “toothbrush” you probably envision the standard manual toothbrush you’ve been using for years. While the original manual style of toothbrush has been around since the 1930’s, new advancements in technology have given birth to a totally new style of toothbrush, the automatic toothbrush.

We’ve all seen them in the toothbrush aisle at the grocery store, but may have skipped over them since we’re not familiar with them and don’t know how well they work. So, the real question is, is the price worth it? Is the electric toothbrush really that much better than the manual toothbrush? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each to find out.

Electric Toothbrush – Pros and Cons


  • Easier to use – While we all know that brushing your teeth isn’t necessarily difficult, it’s easy to slack on your dental hygiene when using a manual toothbrush. The electric toothbrush moves much faster than the standard manual toothbrush, removing more plaque and making it easier to maintain great dental hygiene.
  • Children love them – It’s hard enough to get kids to brush their teeth, and if Superman spearmint toothpaste isn’t cutting it, a lot of parents are turning to electric toothbrushes to get the job done. It’s less work for your kids to get much cleaner teeth and maintain their dental hygiene, it “tickles” their teeth and gums, and most electric toothbrushes have a 2-minute timer which can let kids know when they are done brushing.
  • Customizable options – When you buy a manual toothbrush and the bristles are too tough or too soft, you have to buy a new toothbrush or possibly several if you can’t seem to hone in on the right one for you. With an electric toothbrush, most have interchangeable heads with different kinds of cleaning movements, bristle texture, and cleaning intensity. This makes you able to have a great experience with a toothbrush that is comfortable for you.


  • Cost – This is usually the main deterrent from purchasing an electric toothbrush. Electric toothbrushes ranging anywhere from around $40 to upwards of a $100.
  • Batteries and Charging – With an electric toothbrush, you do have to worry about keeping it charged or keeping batteries on hand just in case. This can pose a problem if you are traveling.
  • Fragile and easy to break – While it’s fairly hard to break a manual toothbrush, electric toothbrushes have a lot of small and delicate pieces that can break easily. If you or your child were to drop your electric toothbrush, you could be forced to buy a new one if one of the internal mechanisms breaks.

Manual Toothbrush – Pros and Cons


  • Cheaper than the electric – At the end of the day, they are both still toothbrushes. You may find that a motor and timer aren’t important enough to you for you to spend the extra money. It’s all about what is important to you when making your selection.
  • Easy to travel with – There are no cords, batteries, or charging associated with a manual toothbrush. Just toss it in your bag whenever you are ready to leave and it can get the job done wherever you are. Most manual toothbrushes are slim and easy to pack while some electric toothbrushes are heavy and bulky.


  • Requires more work – The manual toothbrush requires more effort to use than the electric toothbrush since there isn’t a motor to do the brushing for you.
  • Timing issues – With a manual toothbrush, there is no alarm for two minutes of brushing. People often forget how often long they have been brushing their teeth, and if you don’t brush long enough your teeth won’t fully get clean. If you brush them too long, you risk damaging the enamel on your teeth.
  • Not as effective as the electric - Dentists say that using an electric toothbrush combined with good dental hygiene habits is more effective at removing plaque and preventing gingivitis because of the 6,000 motions per minute as compared to the 300-600 you average with a manual toothbrush.


Whichever toothbrush you choose, your teeth will remain healthy as long as you are taking your dental hygiene seriously and taking consistent care of your teeth. If you are on the fence about what kind of toothbrush you should be using, talk with us about it at your next teeth cleaning!