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Electric vs Manual … The Toothbrush Dilemma

Whether you select an electric toothbrush or a manual toothbrush is really a matter of choice. However, research actually shows that electric toothbrushes have a slight advantage over manual. The key reason for this is that they are easier to get a good result with. Whereas manual brushes are more sensitive and thus more susceptible to misuse. Electric toothbrushes are also good for kids, elderly, and people with braces, as the vibration and automatic movement aides in cleaning around tough to get areas. So it’s really up to you to decide which type of toothbrush fits your needs and lifestyle.

Whichever type of toothbrush you decide to use, the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends you replace the brush every 3 to 4 months. Electric toothbrushes come with disposable tips, which are usually available at pharmacies and drug stores. There should be directions for brush replacement that come in your electric toothbrush package.

Electric toothbrushes use nylon bristles, as do manual toothbrushes, but the heads are usually smaller. Many electric toothbrushes have round heads, with the bristles arranged in a circular pattern, while others are placed in a linear pattern, more like manual brushes. The smaller heads are easier to get into tight spaces than larger, longer brush heads, so that may be a consideration for people with smaller mouths and teeth. Because the movement of the toothbrush head is creating the brushing action, not as much brushing “vigor” is required to brush with an electric toothbrush.

One consideration between electric and manual toothbrushes, for most people, is cost. A manual toothbrush is only a few dollars and dentists often give them out to patients at annual dental checkups. If you replace your toothbrush every three months, you’ll buy four a year, for about a total of $10 to $12. Electric toothbrushes have a wide range of costs from battery operated brushes for $4 to $12 each (plus the cost of the batteries), to highly sophisticated, multi-headed sonic or ionic brushing systems ranging from $25 to $150.

Certainly, today’s consumer has a wide variety of choices … almost too many. If you are interested in an electric toothbrush, you can check out several websites, such as the Consumer Search website (, to obtain a review and cost comparison of the electric toothbrushes on the market today.

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