If you’re on the fence and are considering swapping that old toothbrush for something a little more high tech, you’re not alone. Based on a survey by Statista, 131.43 million Americans used power toothbrushes in 2020. But, are electric toothbrushes better for you? Do they in fact clean your teeth more than a standard toothbrush? The American Dental Association (ADA) says that both manual and electric toothbrushes are effective at keeping your teeth clean—but, power toothbrushes do have some advantages.
In a study by Cochrane with 5000+ participants, comparing the effectiveness of manual vs electric toothbrushes, they found that there was “an 11% reduction in plaque at one to three months of use, and a 21% reduction in plaque when assessed after three months of use.” That’s a pretty significant reduction! When it comes to gingivitis, the study states that “there was a 6% reduction at one to three months of use and an 11% reduction when assessed after three months of use.”
Whether you’re looking to reduce your plastic waste, or have been longing for that fresh-from-the-dentist clean feeling, there are many reasons why switching to an electric toothbrush could be right for you. We’re tackling all of your toothbrush questions and more below, along with a solid comparison of the electric toothbrush vs manual so you can make the best choice for your personal oral health goals.
Where Electric Toothbrushes Outperform Manual
The great debate is over—your manual toothbrush likely won’t give you a better clean than an electric one. Can you blame it? It’s relying on your own human power to get things scrubbed clean.
Brüush moves at a whopping 31,000 brush strokes per minute—that's 100x faster than a manual toothbrush! While it only takes 2 minutes to clean your teeth with an electric toothbrush, it will take at least 3 or more minutes with a standard one. Below we go through some of the main benefits of using an electric model.
Overall Plaque Removal
As mentioned above, where electric toothbrushes shine is in their ability to move very, very fast. They usually have built-in rotation or vibration, depending on the brush model/brand. These quick movements and added dexterity help make your teeth cleaner, faster.
According to a 2015 consumer report, electric toothbrushes remove 21% more plaque than manual brushes due to their oscillating bristles, making them far superior at cleaning teeth. Now that’s früush. Make yourself and your dentist happy by switching to an electric model.
Accessibility for Children and People with Limited Mobility
Although you can technically get your teeth equally as clean with a manual toothbrush, it will take you much longer to get to that squeaky clean feeling! Research shows it takes 3x as long to achieve the same results with a steady, manual back and forth motion.
For kids (who tend to rush through the brushing process), or individuals who have a harder time manipulating a manual toothbrush (such as people with arthritis), using an electric toothbrush simply makes more sense. It also helps with those who have braces or dental devices in their mouths that require a bit more work to get clean
Increased Focus while Brushing
Brushing your teeth can be a rather boring task—but brushing with an electric toothbrush makes it a LOT more enjoyable. In a study spanning 3 weeks, dentists observed 14 people brushing with a standard tootbooth, then an electric one. They found that “users of the electric toothbrush appeared to brush in a more concentrated and focused tooth brushing pattern vs. the manual brush.”
The participants also felt an improvement in the cleaning efficacy, along with a better brushing experience overall. Hey, we can’t blame them—brushing with a power toothbrush DOES feel better.
Contributes to Less Plastic Waste
If plastic waste isn’t on your mind, then it should be. It’s a major issue to our environment, and at the rate the world is producing garbage, it’s just not sustainable. According to National Geographic, if you took all of the toothbrushes tossed away in the U.S. in a year, then laid them out in a line, they would wrap around the Earth four times!
Since the majority of toothbrushes are unrecyclable, one thing you can do to reduce your toothbrush waste overtime is to switch to an electric. Instead of having to toss out a full toothbrush every time you switch to a new one, you only have the brush head to replace.
Of course, your best option for a no-waste toothbrush is bamboo, but electric comes in 2nd as a compromise that’s simply better for the environment than a standard plastic toothbrush (and better at cleaning your teeth, too).
Electric toothbrushes come with some power behind them (hence the name). They’re like the helping hand you never knew you needed. Below are a few tech-enabled advancements that your manual toothbrush won’t have.
Built-in 2 Minute Timers
While manual toothbrushes rely on you to know when to stop, electric toothbrushes often come with some sort of timer that lets you know when you’re done brushing.
The Brüush power toothbrush takes it up a notch with a built-in 2 minute timer and a quadpacer, which means that it pauses every 30 seconds to indicate when you should switch from one quadrant of your mouth to the next. When you hit 2 minutes it will automatically shut off to ensure you’re not over brushing.
What is sonic technology? It’s sound waves that are used to move around particles in a medium—such as the bristles on a toothbrush head. It’s beneficial in teeth cleaning because the bristles are able to move side-to-side really, really fast.
Our Brüush power toothbrush uses an industry leading 31,000 brush strokes per minute, whereas our human powered brushing capabilities averages 200. That’s a HUGE difference.
The most basic electric toothbrushes will have only one setting. If you’re using a Brüush electric toothbrush, you’ll have 6 different modes at your disposal:
- Daily: Ideal for everyday use, using 31,000 brush strokes per minute.
- White: Deeper clean that uses stronger vibrations, which helps to remove more surface stains.
- Gentle: More subtle sonic pulses, while still giving you an effective clean.
- Gum: This vibration pattern gently massages and promotes blood circulation in your gums.
- Max: Unique pattern of sonic vibrations—and instead of brushing for 2 minutes, the timer goes for 3 to get a deeper clean.
- Tongue: Flip the brush around and use the back of the head on your tongue with this setting!
Never Use an Old Toothbrush Head Again
The ADA and CDC recommend swapping out your toothbrush or toothbrush head every 3-4 months. It can be hard to keep track of, but it’s super important because bacteria can easily build up over time, and damage to the bristles makes brushing less effective. This is why Brüush wanted to make this process simple and efficient!
You can subscribe online to our brush head refill plan that sends you 3 new toothbrush heads every 6 months for $18. Never use an old toothbrush again!
Downside of Buying an Electric Toothbrush
Harder on Gums if Brushing Incorrectly
Often when people transition from a standard toothbrush to an electric powered one, there’s a slight adjustment in the way you should brush. It’s recommended to use less force/pressure, and instead let the brush do most of the work. All you have to do is move the brush head around evenly to properly clean the surface of your teeth.
The con here is that if you do not adjust your brushing habits when switching to an electric, you may actually see some gum recession over time! So, be gentle with your brushing and head to the dentist on a regular schedule to make sure your teeth and gums are nice and healthy.
The Brüush electric toothbrush uses extra soft Dupont Tynex nylon, which happens to be the dental industry's highest quality bristle material. Our nylon bristles are even more gentle on your gums than a standard toothbrush, making it the best electric toothbrush for sensitive teeth. These bristles help to provide a squeaky clean feeling without risking any damage to your gums.
Likely one the largest barriers to entry in the electric toothbrush market is the price. Depending on which brand you’re looking at, prices can vary on average from $65 to upwards of $200. That’s a pretty big investment! But, rest assured that overtime you can save money, particularly if it means less expensive dentist visits in the future.
Once you’ve paid for the actual brush, you’ll just need to make sure to replace your brush heads to keep things fresh and clean.
Benefits of Manual Toothbrushes
They’re More Affordable
You need a new toothbrush TODAY, and don’t want to make a big purchase? Well then a standard toothbrush is for you. Averaging in price from $1 to $5 for a regular polypropylene plastic model, this is a very small investment for the majority of the population. Head to your nearest drug store and you’ll likely find a whole aisle filled with toothbrushes. Want hard bristles? How about the addition of a tongue brush? No problem. What about an all pink toothbrush, or one that’s multicolored? Don’t sweat it.
Because toothbrushes are such a hot item (hello, everyone uses them), most stores will have a good selection consistently in stock, and for a cheap price. Whereas, the electric toothbrush section may be a little slim picking in your local superstore.
You should still make sure to replace your standard toothbrush every 3-4 months!
They’re Portable and Don’t Take Up Much Room
This one speaks for itself. Manual toothbrushes don’t come with any fancy gadgets, which means less clutter for your home, and easy portability. All you have to do is pop it into a case or put your toothbrush head cover overtop, toss it in your bag, and you’re set!
We thought about this benefit while designing the Brüush toothbrush travel case, which is included in every toothbrush purchase. Not only does it keep your electric toothbrush safe, but it also looks pretty dang cute.
Should I Buy an Electric Toothbrush?
By now, you should hopefully have a good idea of whether an electric toothbrush is right for you. But, are they more worth it than a standard brush? Well, you’ll have to think about what your overall oral health goals are.
- Do you want teeth that appear whiter?
- Do you want that fresh-from-the-dentist clean feeling?
- Have you always thought about trying an electric toothbrush but haven’t yet made the leap?
If the answer is yes to any of these questions, then it’s time you made the switch. Electric toothbrushes are definitely ‘worth it’ if you’re looking to level up your teeth cleaning routine. They can also save you money in the long run by giving you a better clean and preventing overbrushing, which leads to more expensive dental visits.
We may be biased, but we believe that Brüush has the best electric toothbrush on the market. From the more affordable price point, to the easy brush head refill subscription, to the oh-so-chic look (in a multitude of colors)—what’s there not to love?
Benefits of owning a Brüush:
- Industry-leading sonic technology
- 4-week battery life
- 2-minute timer
- 6 cleaning modes
- Extra-soft bristles
And it looks nice on your bathroom counter, too.
You can also try Brüush, risk free. With a 90-day guarantee, you can rest assured that if you don’t love your Brüush within that time frame, you can simply return it. Check it out!