Spinbrush electric toothbrush compared to manual toothbrush.

Electric vs. Manual Toothbrush: What are the Benefits of Each?

Oral hygiene has come a long way from the Babylonian chew stick from 3500 BCE or the bone-handled, boar-bristled Tang Dynasty toothbrush from 1,000 years ago. With vibrating, oscillating, rotating and standard toothbrushes available today, you may wonder which is better: an electric or manual toothbrush?

You can get your teeth clean with either an electric or a manual toothbrush. However, an electric toothbrush has an edge when it comes to reducing plaque and preventing tooth decay. Here are the “pros” of both manual and electric toothbrushes, whether sonic or spinning. We don’t even have a list of “cons” since brushing with any toothbrush is better than not brushing at all!

Benefits of a Manual Toothbrush

Everyone has a manual toothbrush – or two – in their bathroom closet, probably from their last visit to the dentist. Benefits of manual toothbrushes include:

  • Inexpensive – you can get a manual toothbrush for just a few dollars in most stores .
  • Portable – with no batteries or cords, manual toothbrushes are easy to slip in your travel bag or backpack for brushing on the go.
  • Always ready – manual toothbrushes won’t run out of battery life or need recharging.
  • Choice & Availability – manual toothbrushes come in different types of bristles, sizes, and colors so you can find one that feels good in your mouth and that you will happily put on your sink. Plus, you can find them at grocery, convenience, and drug stores everywhere, so you don’t have an excuse not to brush!
  • You control the brushing – Manual toothbrushes only work when you move them across your teeth. You decide how much pressure to apply, how long to brush, and in what motion. Just be careful – many people apply too much pressure and brush too aggressively, which can be rough on your gums and enamel. If your bristles are pushed apart, that’s a sign to lighten up.
  • Easily replaced – when the bristles are frayed or you just got over a bad cold, it’s time for a new brush. Old toothbrushes can be repurposed for cleaning intricate or hard-to-reach-areas, or to scrub your bathroom.

Benefits of an Electric Toothbrush

Whether you use a spinning head electric toothbrush or a sonic-powered vibrating one, there are many benefits to getting a battery assist for your teeth and gums.

  • More strokes per minute – no matter how strong or fit you are, a human using a manual toothbrush can only move the brush around about 300 times per minute. An electric toothbrush easily does well over 1,000, with each rotation getting bristles around and between teeth for better cleaning.
  • Removes more plaque –electric toothbrushes remove up to 70% more plaque than manual toothbrushes in hard-to-reach places*.
  • Good for your gumsan 11-year study of electric vs. manual toothbrush use found that electric toothbrushes resulted in 22% less gum recession.
  • Fewer cavities and tooth decay – this may not be a surprise since electric toothbrushes remove so much more plaque than manual toothbrushes, but studies show an 18% reduction in tooth decay and cavities for electric toothbrush users.
  • Replaceable brush heads – keep the base and change only the brush heads when the bristles wear out, helping you save money – and the planet!
  • Easier to use for many people – simply hold an electric toothbrush and let it do the spinning, oscillating, or vibrating to remove plaque. Plus, the larger handles are easier to hold onto. You don’t need a strong grip, precise control, or the stamina and dexterity to keep moving the brush, making electric toothbrushes great for young, old, and in-between.
  • Helps people brush longer –less effort and built-in timers help children and adults brush beyond the average of 45 seconds and closer to the recommended two minutes, according to the American Dental Association.
  • Easier and more thorough if you have braces – the vibrations of an electric toothbrush help loosen food debris that can get caught around bonds and wires and rotating bristles get around and between hardware.
  • Additional features – some electric toothbrushes integrate with personal care and health apps, for example.

Which is Better: Electric or Manual Toothbrush?

The evidence shows electric toothbrushes are superior to manual for removing plaque and encouraging better oral hygiene, but only you can decide whether a manual or an electric toothbrush is better for you. Or both! There’s nothing to say you can’t use an electric toothbrush at home and a manual one when you travel or sleep away from home.

Here are a few of our favorite electric toothbrushes for kids and adults:

  • Spinbrush™ PRO CLEAN Toothbrush removes up to 70% more plaque vs. a manual brush in hard-to-reach places and the hydro-blocking SoftSwitch helps prevent water from leaking inside.
  • Spinbrush™ PRO WHITEN Toothbrush delivers whiter teeth in one week with specially designed rotating whitening cup in toothbrush head.
  • PAW Patrol™ Kid’s Spinbrush™ Toothbrush help your kids brush 38% longer* and remove 2X more plaque for superior teeth cleaning*

*vs. a manual brush