Are electric toothbrushes better than manual toothbrushes?

15 / 12 / 2021

One of the most common questions dentists are asked is whether electric toothbrushes are worth the investment. Whilst manual toothbrushes have long been the standard choice for daily brushing and do an excellent job at removing plaque, electric toothbrushes can be helpful for some individuals. In this blog post, Big Smiles Dental will be sharing some of the reasons why an electric toothbrush may be beneficial. 

Who can benefit from an electric toothbrush?

Whilst manual toothbrushes are suitable for everyone to use, electric toothbrushes are a good option for those with dexterity challenges as well as those who would like to enjoy a quicker cleaning process. The technique used when brushing teeth is important, and manual toothbrushes require sufficient motion and pressure for optimal coverage of all teeth. 

Electric toothbrushes on the other hand utilise an oscillating head, which can make it quicker and easier to clean your teeth. Some evidence (such as the Cochrane oral Health Group 2014 findings) has found that electric toothbrushes can reduce plaque by up to 21% more than manual toothbrushes, along with a 6% reduction in gum disease. However, it is important to note that when combined with a good brushing technique, manual toothbrushes are also very effective at reducing plaque and the incidence of tooth decay and gum disease. If brushing too hard, it is possible to damage the tooth enamel. If in doubt as to which type of toothbrush may be most suitable for you, you should discuss this with your dentist during your next appointment. 

In general, electric toothbrushes may be advisable in cases of:


  • People with excessive plaque build up
  • Dexterity challenges
  • Children who find it difficult to maintain a good oral hygiene routine


Pricing and Convenience of Electric Toothbrush Vs Manual Toothbrush

You can purchase manual toothbrushes from supermarkets, chemists, dentists and convenience stores for a few dollars each. These should be replaced every 3 months.

Electric toothbrushes are more expensive, and you will need to replace the brush heads every 3 months. You can expect to pay anywhere from $20 to $300 for a good quality electric toothbrush, with higher end options coming with additional features including travel cases, different brush heads/speeds, brush timers, pressure sensors and more. You can expect to pay between $10-$30 for a 6 pack of replacement brush heads.

Keep in mind that electric toothbrushes need to be charged on a regular basis, and they are heavier and more cumbersome to transport. You will need to weigh up whether you prefer the easy access and affordability of manual toothbrushes or the extra features that an electric toothbrush offers.

Choosing The Right Brush

Both types of toothbrushes will deliver an effective clean, and it is important to consult with your dentist as to which may be better for you or your children. Manual toothbrushes come in a range of sizes and bristle types, with the most common being a small toothbrush head with medium bristles. If you have sensitive teeth or gums, you may require soft bristles. 

Electric toothbrushes may be a good option for people with excessive plaque, as well as children who can benefit from features such as brushing timers and sensors to help them develop a good oral hygiene routine. 

Regardless of which toothbrush you pick, you should always:


  • Brush twice daily
  • Floss and rinse daily
  • Minimise consumption of high sugar and acidic food/drink
  • Drink water regularly to help rinse away bacteria
  • Visit your dentist regularly for routine check-ups and cleans


Book an Appointment at Big Smiles Dental Today

If you are due for a dental check-up, or if you would like some professional advice on choosing a toothbrush, please call Big Smiles Dental today on (02) 9921-1799 to book an appointment. We are your local dentist in Little Bay NSW, and we look forward to seeing you soon.