Choosing a Toothbrush: Manual vs. Electric

Brushing your teeth is an important part of your daily oral hygiene. You should brush your teeth at least twice each day; once in the morning and again after dinner or before going to bed. It is also recommended that you floss before brushing to help loosen the food particles between teeth. Toothbrushes are made with soft to hard bristles, but it is recommended that you use a soft bristled toothbrush. Because the bristles are hard, it does not mean that they are more effective at removing stains or plaque, in fact, hard or stiff bristles can cause damage to your gums and teeth. The goal of good oral hygiene is correctly and effectively using a toothbrush, so should you use a manual toothbrush or an electric toothbrush-both have their advantages and disadvantages.

Toothbrush - Manual vs. Electric | Best dentist at Norwood Dental, MN

Manual Toothbrush

Manual toothbrushes have a variety of bristles, styles, colors and head shapes to choose from. Children’s toothbrushes typically have small heads and are available in bright colors and designs, which may make brushing more pleasant. Here are the pros and cons of a manual toothbrush:

Toothbrush - Manual vs. Electric | Best dentist at Norwood Dental


  • You can thoroughly clean your teeth by only brushing for two minutes
  • Manual toothbrushes do not require charging, electrical outlets or batteries
  • A manual toothbrush is inexpensive (they should be replaced about every 3 months)


  • Unlike an electric toothbrush, you have to time the brushing yourself when using a manual toothbrush
  • Inexpensive toothbrushes may break down or lose bristles more frequently

Electric Toothbrush

Like a manual toothbrush, electric toothbrushes are available in a variety of colors, sizes, and styles. The pros and cons of an electric toothbrush include:

Toothbrush - Manual vs. Electric | Best dentistry at Norwood Dental, MN


  • One of the best advantages of an electric toothbrush is that it does the work for you
  • Some people have better results with an electric toothbrush at removing plaque
  • An electric toothbrush may help children brush longer and more frequently. The timer lets them know when they are done and it helps children brush more thoroughly


  • The number one con with an electric toothbrush is the cost. Electric toothbrushes cost significantly more than manual toothbrushes. There are several price ranges for electric toothbrushes, but even the least expensive one is more costly than a manual toothbrush.
  • An electric toothbrush either has to be charged or have the batteries replaced frequently.
  • The heads may be difficult to find for some brands of electric toothbrushes.

Whether you choose to use a manual or an electric toothbrush, it is important to choose a head size that fits comfortably in your mouth and that has soft, sturdy bristles. You should replace your toothbrush about every three months or earlier if you are sick or if the bristles begin to fray. If you aren’t sure what type of toothbrush is best suited for your needs, ask your dentist for a recommendation.