June 12, 2024

Electric Toothbrushes: Pros and Cons

Oral care is undeniably linked to overall health and wellbeing. As such, toothbrushes are rightfully at the front of the discussion when deciding the best route to oral health, and many people wonder whether manual or electric toothbrushes are best. 

Electric toothbrushes are a great tool for upping our oral health game – they provide an easy solution for keeping your teeth thoroughly cleaned and help you get to those hard-to-reach places in the mouth. Electric toothbrushes are, obviously, operated by electricity - either via battery or through a wall outlet, and they clean effectively by using a bristle head which moves faster than the human hand. These toothbrushes deliver a lot of revolutions per minute to ensure that the teeth become much cleaner than what would otherwise be possible. However,  there is some discussion about its downsides which prevent people from making the transition. 

As one of the top dentists in Boulder, Colorado, we have decided to open up this topic for further discussion, and the following article serves as a comprehensive guide to electric toothbrushes, including the pros and cons of using them. 

The Importance of a Good Toothbrush

Toothbrushes are the basis of daily oral hygiene, as it is critical for effectively removing bacterial plaque (oral biofilm) and for preventing the leading complications that its accumulation causes such as tooth decay, gum disease, tooth sensitivity, and bad breath. 

A good toothbrush will directly impact the effectiveness and efficiency of the time you spend brushing your teeth, it will help prevent the development of oral problems, and it will contribute to a comfortable and ergonomic tooth-brushing experience. On the other hand, a poorly designed toothbrush (or overused) will not effectively clean your teeth. Even if you’re spending decent amounts of time brushing your teeth every day, a bad toothbrush can lead to unfortunate consequences such as pain or the development of dental issues that are detrimental to your overall health. 

Toothbrush Options to Consider

There are several factors that can vary between types of toothbrushes, and they are likely to affect your decision about the best toothbrush for you. Be sure to look out for these factors in potential toothbrushes: 

  1. Bristles

Toothbrushes will normally have bristles that are made of nylon, but their strength will vary between soft, medium, and hard bristles. Soft bristles will be more comfortable and are less likely to cause any damage to gums and enamel, but harder bristles will do a better job of removing plaque. 

  1. Mode of Action

The two main types of toothbrushes are manual (disposable) and electric (powered). Each has its advantages and disadvantages, and we will dive into the pros and cons of electric toothbrushes specifically later on in this article. 

  1. Size and Ergonomics 

The size of a toothbrush should be chosen in order to reach every part and surface of your teeth. A flexible neck and a short head (0.5” x 1.0”) is usually suitable for most adults. You should also consider choosing a toothbrush that fits comfortably and firmly in your hand.

  1. Cost

The cost will certainly be a factor to consider. Electric toothbrushes tend to be far more expensive than manual ones (initially); however, manual toothbrushes need to be replaced every 4-6 months while electric toothbrushes can last for years. 

The Pros of Electric Toothbrushes

Electric toothbrushes come in a variety of makes such as the Philips Sonicare Platinum and 9400. While they have some unique features, there are several shared advantages to using electric toothbrushes that make it an attractive choice for many people. Benefits include: 


Perhaps the biggest advantage of electric toothbrushes is that they are extremely efficient at what they do. They are able to rotate and brush the surface of your teeth far faster than you could possibly accomplish with your hand using a manual toothbrush. They require less manual input on your behalf compared to manual toothbrushes which only work as much as you do, and they will clean your teeth in a shorter time. 


Electric toothbrushes are more effective at cleaning your teeth and removing plaque than manual toothbrushes. At Pearl Street Dental we can notice a visible difference between patients who use electric toothbrushes and those who use manual toothbrushes, and electric toothbrushes usually come with a built-in timer which ensures your brushing your teeth for the exact amount of time that is recommended. 

Hard-to-Reach Places

Some parts of your mouth are hard to reach, such as teeth at the back of your mouth and their inward surfaces. Electric toothbrushes ensure that even these hard-to-reach areas receive just as much care and attention as other regions that are easy to reach. 

Braces and Mobility Difficulties 

Individuals who have braces or musculoskeletal problems that prevent them from operating a manual toothbrush effectively will greatly benefit from the advantages of electric toothbrushes. 

The Cons of Electric Toothbrushes

There are some disadvantages to using electric toothbrushes as well. Cons of electric toothbrushes include: 


Although there are affordable options on the market, of course, electric toothbrushes are more expensive than manual toothbrushes. They often last a lot longer than manual toothbrushes, however, which must be replaced regularly.

Electricity Required

Electric toothbrushes do require electricity to operate. This is not a problem for most people, but if you’re on the road, you’ll need to remember to pack an extra battery or ensure that you have a bathroom with an electricity socket. 


Some individuals simply do not like the feeling of a vibrating toothbrush in their mouth, and for this reason, they will choose to stick with a manual toothbrush. 

Get Your Electric Toothbrush at Pearl Street Dental

Choosing a toothbrush largely depends on your own preferences, but in most cases, we recommend selecting an electric toothbrush for the superior cleaning effectiveness and efficiency they bring. At Pearl Street Dental, we have experience working with both types of toothbrushes, so if you have more questions about choosing a toothbrush for yourself or if you’re looking for a general dentist in Boulder, Colorado who are accepting new patients, we encourage you to contact us to make an appointment.