Are Electric Toothbrushes Worth It? Advantages and Disadvantages

By Ernani Berces Jr. May 7th 2016

Electric toothbrushes are battery-operated toothbrushes that promote cleaner teeth using a bristle head that moves at a rate much faster than any human hand can brush on its own. The bristle heads move in two types of motions: A rotating oscillating motion (where bristles move round in round in one direction and then the other), or an oscillating motion (vibrating bristles moving side to side in different directions).

With the recent wave of hoopla surrounding electric toothbrushes and the constant sight of them in every oral hygiene aisle in stores, one can only wonder if it's really worth it. Does this motor-operating mouth cleaning device live up to its prestigious reputation as the most effective tool for its function? Or is it just another expensive alternative to a simple and traditional way of cleaning your teeth? Here are some advantages and disadvantages of owning an electric toothbrush.

Advantages of an Electric Toothbrush

Electric toothbrushes enhance cleaner and whiter teeth: With bristles moving at a frequent rate of 3,000 to 7,500 (some from 30,000 to 40,000) brush strokes per minute, it's no wonder why they work more effectively to remove plaque, stains and prevent gum disease. Each bristle head is designed to clean every part of your mouth, even in hard-to-reach areas (molars and wisdom teeth that are almost impossible for a manual toothbrush to reach) and the tiniest cracks between your teeth. Electric toothbrushes also have a built-in, two minute timer which is the recommended time needed to maintain a clean and healthy mouth.

Electric toothbrushes can cause less damage to your gums: The vibrating motions of an electric toothbrush not only cleanse the surface of your tooth's enamel really well, but it is also beneficial for your gums as the vibrations provide a gentle massage to stimulate healthy blood circulation. Additionally, many electric toothbrushes help prevent damage to your gums, due to vigorous brushing, through pressure sensors that automatically stall or stop if there is too much pressure being applied.

Electric toothbrushes are preferred by most dentists: According to numerous studies of comparing between electric and manual, electric toothbrushes have outperformed manual brushes. Over 80 percent of clients that have switched from manual to electric toothbrushes are said to show better and healthier oral hygiene during their next visits to the dental office. The rotating and vibrating motions of electric toothbrush resemble the same ones professional dentists use when cleaning your teeth. Therefore, most dentists today are recommending this toothbrush to their patients.

Electronic toothbrushes are great for those with disabilities and limited mobility: For people with limited mobility and disabilities such as arthritis, manually brushing their teeth can prove to be an extremely difficult challenge. Using an electric toothbrush doesn't require a lot of movement which makes the process simpler and less challenging.

Disadvantages of an Electric Toothbrush

Electric toothbrushes are expensive: The cost of a basic electric toothbrush can start at $15, but if you want to invest in something that has a higher performance rate, the cost can go as high as $120. Additionally, because all electric toothbrushes require a battery, the cost of replacing disposable batteries or the electricity used to charge one also need to be taken into consideration. Replacing brush heads every three months can also cost over $20 each time, as opposed to the old fashioned manual toothbrush, which can be purchased for as little as $1.

Electric toothbrushes are not good for sensitive teeth: People that have sensitive teeth must often revert to using a manual toothbrush because it is hard to find electric toothbrushes with soft or ultra-soft bristles. Because the nerves in your mouth aren't used to the vibrations and speed of an electric toothbrush, it can actually be the cause of the sensitivity.

Electronic toothbrushes are less suitable for traveling: Some electric toothbrushes can be less preferred for traveling because of their bulky size and weight, and their need for battery replacement and charging. And although some electric toothbrushes were specifically designed for travel, it still cannot be easily folded and placed into a regular sized pocket, like some of the manual travel toothbrushes that are offered.

The Bottom Line

When it comes to deciding whether to buy an electric toothbrush or not, it's really based on the user's preference, oral hygiene habits, and most importantly, choosing one that will actually be used. While electric toothbrushes are known to produce better results, that doesn't mean your manual tooth brush is obsolete. The same results can still be obtained with extra effort and discipline. It's also best to take into account professional recommendations from your dentist before making this decision.

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