Electric vs. Manual Toothbrushes – What Type of Dental Pro are you?
While commercials boast the superiority of electric toothbrushes and push consumers to get out and buy one, where dentists generally do not get the chance to shed some light on the topic unless speaking directly with patients in the operatory.
But what’s the right answer: manual or electric?
As dentists, educating patients is of the utmost importance. I decided to dig deeper into the subject and ask this exact question to different experts in the industry to gain a general idea of what dentists and hygienists really think. I didn’t expect so many different opinions, but after the responses started rolling in, it proved that no one had a concrete answer. What I did end up with was a myriad of different points of view that all took differing factors into consideration. Let’s dig deeper into the results.
Below in this picture, you will find the main points that were made in defense of both manual and electric toothbrushes.
To read the full article by Dr. Paul Massari click here: The Electric vs Manual Toothbrush Debate – 16 Experts Add Their Insight
So … Manual or Electric?
The general opinion tends to show that manual toothbrushes are great if used the right way. There’s no need to get an electric toothbrush if you already brush your teeth twice a day for 2 minutes, with the right technique. Another positive thing about the good old manual brush is that it’s cheaper and doesn’t require the maintenance of a battery or replacement head. It is basic yet effective, if you are brushing correctly, but not everyone sticks to the right timing and technique. That is where electric models come into play.
Electric toothbrushes boast many different advantages.
- They take the guesswork out of brushing. These models seem to be less technique-sensitive doing the work for the patient, making it easier for them to brush their teeth correctly.
- Patients are more motivated. With built-in timers, it’s becomes easy to brush for the proper amount of time. This especially comes in handy for children.
- They remove more plaque. Another point our experts mentioned is that in their opinion, electric models remove more plaque compared to their counterparts, due to the constant vibrations and oscillations.
Other experts also underlined the fact that electric models have a pressure sensor, which is particularly useful in preventing gum recession. These models are especially useful for patients with orthodontic braces in need of the extra help maintaining their oral hygiene as well as the older population in which dexterity is decreased and brushing becomes a burden.
But with the pros also comes the cons.
- The brush heads can be harsher on your teeth and gums. A light touch is recommended; let the toothbrush do its work.
- The price is higher compared to manuals.
- They can do more damage than good if used the wrong way.
Focus on the technique
Before we focus too much on the model, let’s remember that the correct brushing technique still remains the most important thing.
In fact, another good point brought up by one of the experts was that it’s more important to see how conscientious a patient is while brushing, instead of focusing on the model used. If a patient is not using the right technique and is not brushing for the recommended time all is lost and they may be causing more damage than good to their overall dental hygiene.
Educating your patients
The majority of the experts I interviewed, in fact, do recommend electric brushes, or at least find these models to be more effective in one way or another. It’s very easy for patients to go out and get an electric toothbrush, without consulting their dentist first, so why not educate them before they make the decision?
Commercials can be misleading, and you, as a dental professional, can tell whether your patient may or may not need an electric toothbrush. Communicating the advantages and disadvantages of both manual and electric toothbrushes could help the patient make the right decisions for their personal needs.
So what do you think? Are Electric Toothbrushes better than Manuals? What are you recommending to your patients? Let us know and comment below!