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61 Rumbridge Street, Totton, Southampton, SO40 9DT

023 8086 8833


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Manual vs. Electric Toothbrushes – Which one is best for me?

With so many oral hygiene products on the market, what should you choose, and does it really matter? At Bridgeways Dental, we highly recommend that you brush your teeth twice a day using an electric toothbrush rather than a bog-standard manual. Here’s why:

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Manual Toothbrushes:

This is still probably the most common type of toothbrush. There are basic ones in multipacks for as little as a pound, or ones with angled bristles, different shaped grips and handles for a few pounds more.

Dentists don’t generally recommend manual toothbrushes because they are actually very challenging to use correctly. It is difficult to perform the correct motion at the correct angle all the way around your mouth, so it is common for some areas to be missed.

Also, the size of the brush head on most manual toothbrushes is far too large even for adult mouths, so you can’t fit it around any gaps or particularly behind the back teeth. People with reduced manual dexterity and young children may struggle to use a manual toothbrush properly.

On the flip side, it is possible to effectively clean your teeth using a manual toothbrush if you use the correct technique, and as they are inexpensive, easily portable (for example when travelling) and don’t require charging up, they do still have their place in our bathroom cabinet. Any toothbrush is better than no toothbrush, so if a manual brush is all you can manage right now, then carry on.

Electric Toothbrushes

Electric powered toothbrushes are the toothbrush of choice for dental professionals worldwide. They have been tried and tested to outperform manual toothbrushes in clinical trials for plaque removal, essential in maintaining healthy mouths, preventing bleeding gums, gum disease, bad breath and dental decay (dental caries).

Not all electric toothbrushes are the same. There are two main types of brush, oscillating and sonic. The market leader for an oscillating brush is Oral-B. They have a small round head which rotates in both directions very fast (up to 7000 times per minute).  They are very effective at removing plaque, and are easy to use. All you have to do is hold the brush in the right place, and slowly move it around your mouth. Sonic brushes have a brush head that looks more like a manual brush, and vibrate up to 40,000 times per minute. The manufacturers claim vibrations push water and toothpaste into areas normal brushes cannot reach, resulting in a more thorough clean. The most common brand of sonic brush is Phillips Sonicare.

At Bridgeways Dental, we recommend either of these brands, depending on personal preference, and advise that you stay clear of alternatives, including supermarket own or budget brands. They may come slightly cheaper, but the performance does not live up to expectation.

Both Oral-B and Phillips Sonicare have a range of brushes so select one that you can afford, but make sure it is a wall-rechargeable one rather than a battery powered.

Electric brushes for children

One thing we are often asked is if children should be using an electric brush too?

There are a variety of electric brushes designed especially for children, with slightly lower power and smaller, lighter handles. They come in child-friendly colours, often with popular cartoon characters to encourage your little ones into great habits at a young age. We recommend electric toothbrushes for children from the age of 3. As the brush is doing most of the work for you, it can be easier to brush children’s teeth with an electric brush too!

If you’re still not sure which brush is the right brush for you, then make sure to ask your dentist or hygienist at your next visit.

To book an examination with our dentists in Southampton, request an appointment here, or call us on 02380868833.

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