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Toothbrushes: Manual vs. Electric

True or False?
An Electric Toothbrush Is Crucial For Optimal Dental Health.
Well…owning an electric toothbrush is not crucial to your dental health, but it will certainly clean your teeth more effectively than a good ole’ manual toothbrush. At Fulks Family Dentistry we firmly stand behind this sentiment and highly recommend brushing your teeth twice daily with an electric toothbrush rather than a manual toothbrush.
Let us discuss the differences below.


To begin, let’s get one thing straight… it is possible to brush your teeth successfully with a manual toothbrush. After all, we have to remember that the most important thing is that you’re brushing your teeth at all!
The manual toothbrush comes in different sizes, shapes and is powered by you. Although we prefer an electric toothbrush, there are some pros and cons to using a manual toothbrush.


  • Manual toothbrushes are inexpensive and FREE when you visit the dentist!
  • There are a ton of styles, bristles, and heads to choose from!
  • They’re easy to travel with.
  • There are no batteries or charging needed!


  • More manual (obviously)
  • There’s no timer
  • Will not clean your teeth as efficiently as an electric toothbrush


There are 2 types of technology used in electric toothbrushes: oscillating and sonic.  Let’s start by reviewing the technology…
Oscillating toothbrushes come with smaller, round toothbrush heads that turn (oscillate) quickly in one direction and then in another direction to clean your teeth (anywhere from 2,500-7,000 strokes per minute depending on the brush).

Some research shows that electric toothbrushes with rotating-oscillating bristles are more effective at removing plaque and preventing periodontal (gum) disease than manual toothbrushes. However, this research did not compare other electric toothbrushes like those who use sonic technology.
Sonic toothbrushes use sonic technology. This makes the brush vibrate at 30,000-40,000 strokes per minutes.  The brush heads are shaped like regular toothbrush heads and vibrate side to side to clean your teeth.
Many brush manufacturers claim that sonic vibrations push toothpaste, water, and saliva into areas where bristles don’t touch, resulting in a better cleaning, and some scientific evidence does suggest that these brushes will indeed clean areas that others cannot.

So all this talk about different kinds…but what do we recommend for children?
Well, we are glad you asked.


Getting your kids to brush their teeth can sometimes be a battle, but electric toothbrushes are a good option to help take the hassle out of it!  Electric toothbrushes for kids typically come in fun colors, with cartoon characters, and many times have fun sounds, music or flashing lights to encourage them to brush for the recommended time frame.
According to the ADA, your child can start using an electric toothbrush as soon as you start to introduce oral hygiene habits!  One thing to keep in mind is that there IS a difference between an adult electric toothbrush and a child’s electric toothbrush.
Make sure you buy one that fits your child’s needs!


If you’re on the fence about investing in an electric toothbrush, talk to Dr. Fulks, Amy, Jennifer or Brittany the next time you come in for a cleaning.  We can help answer your questions and make a personal recommendation!

Hope to see you soon!