Is an Electric Toothbrush Better Than a Regular Toothbrush?

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On average, you will spend around 852 hours or 35.5 days during your life brushing your teeth.

That’s a lot of time! You want to make sure you’re doing the most you can to prevent dental problems for yourself and your family.

So are these electric toothbrushes any good and are they going to do a better job than the handheld brush you are currently using?

Some important points you need to know about tooth brushing first:

  • Plaque on teeth is what causes cavities and gum disease. If you remove plaque effectively (with brushing and flossing) you will get less cavities and gum disease.
  • Plaque is the soft sticky film that forms on your teeth after eating. It’s soft, so you only need a soft toothbrush (or electric toothbrush) to remove it. Scrubbing teeth, or using a medium/hard toothbrush over time, will cause your teeth and gums to wear away.
  • All manual (handheld) toothbrushes are basically the same in terms of effectiveness, despite what their ads claim they can do better.
  • No toothbrushes clean in between teeth, you still need to floss (or use interdental brushes) – unfortunately!
  • Despite what people think, most people are not very good at tooth brushing or plaque removal. The average person when brushing will only remove 40% of the plaque, leaving 60% behind- to cause dental problems. You know how your teeth feel after a professional clean at the dentist, that is how they should feel every time after you brush. Hmmm….

There are 2 reasons plaque is left behind and why most people’s brushing isn’t very good:

1) Not brushing for long enough. Most people don’t brush for the 2 minutes, twice a day that is recommended.  Why not set the timer on your phone next time you brush and see how long 2 minutes really is; I can tell you it feels like forever when you first start to do this?

2) Not having a good brushing technique.  The place where people have trouble cleaning is on the inside/ tongue side of the teeth, you need to twist your arm a little to clean this area, and it is not a usual or comfortable position, so we tend to spend less time in this area and this is where people get lots of plaque build up. The other area where plaque is left behind is between the teeth, that is where only flossing or interdental brushes can clean.

  • Good technique and spending enough time brushing is MORE important than the type of toothbrush you use.
  • So it goes without saying, that when it comes to tooth brushing, quality is more important than quantity, so doing a really good clean once a day is going to be more beneficial than a not so good clean three times a day.
  • Everyone has a different risk or susceptibility to dental disease, some people are prone to gum disease and others more prone to dental decay/ cavities. Whereas other people will eat rubbish and clean their teeth poorly or never and will hardly ever get dental problems. Some people will get away with bad brushing, others won’t. For example some people who are susceptible to bad gum disease, will have to be able to clean very well, as their gums react very badly to just the slightest sign of plaque, they practically have to be able to clean their teeth better than me, in order to keep the disease at bay. I have 5 years dental training at university and excellent manual dexterity behind me; the average person doesn’t have these advantages.

Benefits of an electric toothbrush

  • Spending enough time brushing and brushing well is important and electric toothbrushes encourage you to do a more thorough clean. You will tend to brush longer when using them and as they have timers, this will encourage you to brush for the adequate amount of time.
  • They take the hard work out of brushing for you, so if you have poor tooth brushing technique or lack motivation, they are great and can overcome some of this.
  • They have a smaller head, which makes it easier to get to more difficult places to clean, such as around the back teeth.
  • They are great for people with dexterity problems or if you are caring (doing the tooth brushing) for someone else e.g. someone with arthritis, elderly or children who can’t hold a manual toothbrush well
  • They have pressure sensors let you know when brushing too hard (as brushing too hard can damage teeth and gums).
  • Also a sure sign of a good thing is once people use an electric toothbrush they rarely go back to a manual.

Electric or Regular Toothbrush?

Good tooth brushing depends more on technique (enough time spent, moving the brush around all parts of the mouth, making sure get to the gums); rather than which toothbrush you use. However an electric toothbrush will help you brush better, especially if you don’t spend enough time brushing (and most people don’t) or if you don’t brush particularly well (like most people).

If you have a history of dental problems, you will definitely benefit from using an electric toothbrush.

So which electric toothbrush should I buy?

You don’t need one of the expensive units that you see around for $100+, the higher costs don’t make for a better brush.

I like the Braun Oral B electric toothbrush.  We stock and sell this brand at our dentist clinic in Mackay.

The reason I like them is they are a great brush (they are the best brush in terms of cleaning ability), they are reasonably cheap (less than $50), they are compact, have good longevity so should serve you well for many years.

Most people, especially those with dental problems,  would benefit from an electric toothbrush.

We have a range in store of our favoured Oral B electric toothbrushes including some in the children’s range as well.

Come in today and purchase yours.


Offering the full range of dental care for you and your family. As a local Mackay dentist with many years experience, we understand any concerns you may have. Our clinic is bright, fresh, modern and easy to find.

If you’re looking for excellent treatment with an affordable dentist, book an appointment or contact us for more info.

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