Which is Better: Electric Toothbrush or Manual?



With all the different brands of fancy electric powered toothbrushes out there, sometimes it’s easier to pick up the reliable, no bells and whistles manual toothbrush every day because you know it’ll get the job done. After all, people have been using manual brushes for decades! Electric toothbrushes cost a lot of money, are bulky, and need recharging. So which is better? We’ll break it down for you.

Manual Toothbrushes


  • Cheap. If you see your dentist twice a year, you can count on a complimentary toothbrush every six months, leaving oral care a relatively inexpensive cost around your home, aside from toothpaste and mouthwash. 
  • Travel is easy. Manual brushes cost around $2 to $8 and can be bought at any convenience store or supermarket, so if you are traveling and forget your brush, you won’t break the bank by getting another one. Electric brushes are quite bulky, especially if yours includes a travel case and charger.
  • Better for brushing your tongue. Electric brushes, especially circular headed ones, have a hard time cleaning your tongue well. Manual brushes reach and clean great.


  • No timer. Most electric brushes have a two minute timer with signals to let you know when to switch quadrants while brushing. It’s easy with a manual brush to finish quickly, thinking you’ve done a fine job, when really, you might have only brushed for 45 seconds or a minute.
  • You do all the work. Your brush stroke actually matters with a manual brush to ensure your teeth are cleaned properly. With an electric brush you just have to hold it at the correct 45 degree angle between your gums and teeth.

Electric Toothbrushes


  • Efficient cleaning. Many electric brushes have a smaller head that can reach in the very back of your mouth and in smaller crevices.
  • Easy for anyone to use. This brush does the work for you, which is great for lazy brushers, children who don’t know proper technique, and for the elderly who may have arthritis or other disability that makes holding a small manual brush difficult for even a few minutes.
  • Timer keeps you accountable. With a two minute timer, electric brushes keep you from quitting early and feeling proud, without doubt that you’ve cleaned your teeth well.


  • They’re expensive. The popular and highly rated brushes cost anywhere from $40 to $200, depending on all the fancy features you want. Those prices are quite a difference from your $2 drugstore manual brush.
  • Need replacement heads and charged frequently. Purchasing extra brush heads that attach to your electric brush can cost you $5 to $10 a head. You also must budget for replacement batteries, unless your brush has a built in charger (which will cost more).

No matter what kind of brush you prefer, the important thing is to brush for two minutes twice a day using proper technique. Ask Dr. White what kind of brush he uses, and ask for a recommendation on an affordable and efficient electric brush if you’re interested in trying one. At James White Dental, we care about your smile and want you to care for your teeth, no matter what kind of brush you use. For more information, contact Dr. White’s office at (702) 329-8181.