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What Are the Differences Between Electric & Manual Toothbrushes?

Electric Toothbrushes

Electric toothbrushes have motorized action that allows the brush head to move automatically over the teeth. They may have a number of different settings for different situations, like deep cleaning, “polishing” the teeth, and even massaging the gums.

Although the structure of an electric toothbrush brush head does not differ much from that of a manual toothbrush, it is much easier to replace them. Brush heads are sold separately from the electric toothbrush body, so you can buy replacement heads instead of replacing the whole thing.

Electric toothbrushes generally operate using a rechargeable battery. These continue to function for many years under normal circumstances and, in some models, they can also be replaced as necessary. Also, if the battery runs out, the toothbrush can be used as a manual toothbrush.

Manual Toothbrushes

Manual toothbrushes are the traditional form of toothbrush that most people have grown up using.  They are easy to use and store and are generally simple to keep clean.

Many of today’s manual toothbrushes have specialized bristles intended to help clean hard to reach areas of the mouth.  Another common feature is the “color-changing bristles” that help you see, at a glance, when you should replace your brush for maximum effectiveness.

What Are the Benefits of Electric and Manual Toothbrushes?

Electric Toothbrushes

Intensity of Cleaning

Because the brush head does so much of the work of cleaning with an electric toothbrush, it is easier for most people to get their teeth completely, with the help of an electric brush. Most of these brushes are configured to move the head in a circular motion – all the user needs to do is move the brush to each tooth in turn.  Thus, users can benefit from more brush strokes per minute.

Special Cleaning Features

Most electric toothbrushes have a range of different cleaning options. Often, there’s one setting for “general” cleaning and one to buff or whiten the surface of teeth. In some cases, there may be a setting for soft tissue, including the gums, tongue, or both.   While you should take any claims about these settings with a grain of salt, they can make the brush more versatile.

Benefits for Limited Mobility

Elders and those with limited mobility often find that it is easier for them to operate an electric toothbrush.  Since they only need to concentrate on the up and down and side to side motions, it’s not necessary to have the range of motion to brush each tooth in a circular pattern.

Manual Toothbrushes

Simplicity of Use

Most people have used manual toothbrushes for years and are familiar with techniques for using them.  Because they are relatively simple, it’s a good idea to start children off with them early in life.  Once they understand the basic concepts, they can opt for an electric toothbrush.

Reduced Risk of Gum Irritation

Some people with sensitive gums might find they are prone to occasional irritation when they use electric toothbrushes.  This can be especially troublesome as brush heads age – the tips of the bristles change shape and become less smooth. A manual toothbrush is often more gentle.

Minimizing the Appearance of White Sports

With orthodontic treatment, brushing is extremely important to minimize the creation of white spot lesions.  You can have white spots if your teeth have become weakened from poor dental hygiene or consuming large amount of sugary drinks.  These spots show where your tooth enamel has eroded.  Your tooth enamel protects your teeth from bacteria that can lead to decay, so when it erodes, you have a higher chance of getting cavities.  You might also have white spots if you used to wear braces and had them removed.  These spots appear in areas where you weren’t able to thoroughly clean your teeth.

When it comes to the question of which type of brush to use, neither one is superior to the other in all situations.  Instead, it’s always best to use whichever type of brush helps you remember to brush regularly.  Try to brush at least twice a day for at least two minutes a day.

Amazing Smiles Orthodontics can help you achieve great dental health, contact us to learn more.

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