Toothbrushes date back centuries, with the first bristled toothbrushes being used as far back as the Tang Dynasty in China (619 – 907 A.D). This toothbrush was made from hog’s hair. According to the historical record, the hogs were from Siberia, and because they lived in colder climates, their hair was much thicker and firmer – perfect for bristles.
This bristled toothbrush paved the way for innovations over the centuries, but the concept has remained the same and dental health is all the better for it. Manual toothbrushes were the way that things were done for centuries, though hair fibres and brushing techniques and technology changed over time. That was until 1954 – when a Swiss invention paved the way for a new and exciting technology: the electric toothbrush. Named the “broxodent”, the electric toothbrush was invented by Dr. Philippe Guy Woog.
But what’s the difference between the two types of brushes? And which one is better for you?
Because manual and electric toothbrush technology is so good nowadays, it really comes down to personal preference as to which toothbrush you choose to use. Having said that, there are some important advantages and disadvantages to both and some important considerations to make.
Why We Love The Electric Toothbrush
Plaque Removal: Because of the rotation and speed of the bristles of an electric toothbrush, it is more effective than non-electric brushes at removing plaque from your teeth.
Cost-Effective: While electric toothbrushes are more expensive initially than their manual counterparts, they’re a far more cost-effective solution for your dental health. Manual toothbrushes are supposed to be replaced roughly every three months, whereas electric toothbrushes with interchangeable heads can last for years.
Limited-mobility friendly: For those who suffer from mobility issues in their hands, say, patients suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome or arthritis, the electric toothbrush does the work so that they don’t have to.
Other benefits include:
- Timers available on some models
- They’re fun for kids
- Less work
And The Manual Toothbrush
While the three pros above are directed at electric toothbrushes, there are plenty of benefits to a manual brush choice.
Affordable & Accessible: No matter where you are in the world, you’re going to find a toothbrush of some sort for cheap. The affordability and accessibility of manual toothbrushes have significantly increased oral health in many of the world’s poorest nations.
So, essentially, manual toothbrushes are:
- More available
- More affordable
- And they don’t need batteries or cords to charge them
What About Cons?
Of course, there are also cons to both sets of brushes that should also be considered.
With manual toothbrushes, you only get as much benefit as you’re willing to put into them. In other words, you need to get the technique right when you’re brushing your teeth.
The electric toothbrush, on the other hand, is more expensive, and they’re not readily available all around the world, as your manual counterparts. An electric toothbrush can run into several tens, even as much as a hundred dollars, this makes them inaccessible for a large portion of the population.
What If I Have Dentures?
It perhaps goes without saying that you should keep your oral hygiene to just as high a standard with dentures, as you would without them. Nothing should change about your oral hygiene routine. In general, a dental hygienist will recommend that you not use an electric toothbrush on your dentures, as it is generally advised that dentures are cleaned with soft brushes to prevent speedier decay. However, partial dentures, such as those implanted by an emergency dentist, like those at Camden Dentists, will often advise that you brush those partial implants with an electric brush.
Generally speaking, dental implants are fine to be brushed with either type of brush, but electric toothbrushes generally produce better results. If you know the cost of dental implants, then you know how critical it is to ensure that your dentures are kept in good, clean condition.
When Do I Need To See A Dentist?
There’s a myth that if you use an electric toothbrush you don’t have to see the dentist as often. Unfortunately, it’s just a myth. The type of toothbrush you use is not reflective of the type of foods and drinks you consume – and this is what really plays a role in the health of your teeth. You should talk to your local dentist and see how often they would like you to visit. Some ask you to return for a check-up every six months; others say 12 months, depending on the health of your teeth and gums.
If you have any further questions about your choices when it comes to cleaning your teeth, it is always best to speak with either your dentist or dental hygienist. They will give you some guidance on how best to clean your teeth and even give you advice on the best type of brush for you.