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Picking between a power or manual toothbrush

Get the most out of your brush by picking the right one with our toothbrush picking guide.

The basic task of a toothbrush is keeping your teeth clean and free of plaque. So are those electric toothbrushes with rotating and vibrating heads really effective? Or is sticking to a simple manual toothbrush better? To completely understand toothbrushes, we must understand what kinds of toothbrushes are in the market.

Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush

 These are toothbrushes that you can plug into the wall and recharge. The heads of these toothbrushes are supposed to be replaced every 3 months. The advocate different cleaning techniques like oscillating-rotating (3D Cleaning Action) or sonic technology.

Dripping in technology and features, electric toothbrushes provide many oral health benefits. Some can even enable you to improve your brushing habits. Hi-tech features include:

  • Various brushing modes specially designed for sensitive teeth, whitening benefits or gum-massaging action
  • Pressure sensors to signal when you’re brushing too hard
  • Timers to help you keep track of how long you’re brushing each quadrant of your mouth and make sure you do so evenly
  • Digital reminders to remind you that your brush head requires changing.
  • Oscillating-rotating or sonic technology
  • Multiple brush head compatibility to give you a choice of various bristle designs.

Most electric toothbrushes also come with features for added convenience, like a brush head or toothbrush holder, bathroom-counter storage units and travel toothbrush chargers.

Regular Manual Toothbrush

Compared to electric toothbrushes, the regular manual toothbrush is extremely basic- with a plastic handle and bristles. It is the most common type of toothbrush and doesn’t require any power sources.

These toothbrushes don’t provide features which are as advanced as those of rechargeable electric toothbrushes, the technology featured in their brush heads, bristles and handle designs can be quite effective, for example:


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  • Crisscrossed, extra-long or multi-level bristles
  • Polished or rounded bristle tips
  • Textured bristles
  • Cupped-bristle design for whitening benefits
  • Ergonomically designed handles with special grips
  • Tapered or angled brush head
  • Gum stimulators
  • Tongue cleaner pads
Battery Power Toothbrush

 These toothbrushes are similar in design to regular manual toothbrushes. They are powered by batteries to produce some vibration that aids the bristles in cleaning. In addition to those of manual toothbrushes, features include:

  • Built in or replaceable batteries.
  • “On/Off” or “+/-“ button located on the handle
  • Bristles or split brush heads specially designed to pulsate along with the vibrations
So what is more effective?

Studies have shown that electric and power toothbrushes are more effective than regular ones. According to a 2005 independent study, “Brushes that worked with a rotation oscillation action removed more plaque and reduced gingivitis more effectively than manual brushes in the short and long-term... No other powered brush designs were consistently superior.”

Rechargeable toothbrushes are more expensive than battery powered or regular toothbrushes. But for that price, you are getting better dental hygiene. Regular toothbrushes are the cheapest and power toothbrushes are slightly more expensive than them.

Get to know which toothbrush is right for you.

Read expert tips for oral health and dental care here.

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