Is an Electric Toothbrush Better? (Research-Backed Pros & Cons)

Electric toothbrushes are certainly popular, but are they actually better than manual brushing? 

With so many brands and so much information out there, it can be hard to know which information to trust! In this article, we delve into the pros and cons of using an electric toothbrush. 

We take a look at what the research says about using electric toothbrushes, and whether they’re the best way to achieve a radiant, healthy smile.  

Whether you’re looking for the best toothbrush for you or your family, we’ve got all the facts you need to make an informed decision. We cover:

  • The benefits of brushing with an electric toothbrush
  • Possible drawbacks of using an electric toothbrush
  • A point-by-point comparison of manual toothbrushes vs electric
  • Should you change to using an electric toothbrush?
  • How to choose the right electric toothbrush for you. 

Let’s get into it!

The Benefits of Using an Electric Toothbrush 

Electric toothbrushes have been around since the 1950s, and they’re currently more popular than ever before. But what are the benefits, and how do they work to improve our dental health? Let’s take a closer look at the facts. 

Efficient cleaning and ease of use

Electric toothbrushes work with an oscillating rotating action, which has been found to be more efficient at plaque removal than manual toothbrushes. 

This efficiency means that you’re more likely to get a thorough clean in two minutes of brushing with an electric toothbrush compared to two minutes of manual brushing. 

Electric toothbrushes are also just easier to use - you just need to hold them to the surface of the tooth and let the brush do the work for you. 

Built-in timers

Most electric toothbrushes include a built-in timer function to ensure that you brush your teeth in two minutes. This brushing time is recommended by the American Dental Association and is key for good oral hygiene. 

Improved gum health

Electric toothbrushes have also been linked to an improvement in gum health. 

According to the Cochrane Review, there is some evidence that electric toothbrush users experienced a reduction in gingivitis (gum disease) after three months of use. 

Reduced plaque buildup

According to the same Cochrane Review study, electric toothbrushes were found to be more effective when it comes to removing plaque! There was an 11% reduction in plaque at one to three months of use and a 21% reduction in plaque when assessed after three months of use. 

This is particularly true for brushes that use an oscillating and rotating action. Dental plaque can lead to cavities, gum disease, and other dental health issues. 

Various brushing modes

Some electric toothbrush brands offer a range of brushing modes to suit different needs.

These can include a gentle cleaning action for sensitive teeth, extended brushing time, and even whitening settings, depending on the brand. 

According to the results of a study, the author found some evidence that rotation oscillation brushes reduce plaque and gingivitis more than side-to-side brushes in the short term.

Pressure sensors

Certain electric toothbrush brands feature pressure sensors that are designed to prevent users from brushing too hard and damaging tooth enamel

Boka electric toothbrushes even feature hyper-gentle charcoal bristles, which clean teeth thoroughly yet gently – avoiding issues like temperature sensitivity and receding gums. 

Replacement brush heads

Electric toothbrushes may be more of an investment upfront, but nearly all brands come with detachable heads – making replacement a breeze! 

This way, users can always ensure that the bristles are not too worn and that they’re in optimal condition for cleaning. 

Travel-friendly options

Electric toothbrushes are just as convenient for traveling as manual ones. Many models are compact and have small chargers, making them easy to transport. 

Fun for kids

Electric toothbrushes are great for getting kids excited about brushing their teeth. 

They’re an excellent way to start good teeth-brushing habits in your child, and they’re also fun to use!

Good for orthodontic patients

For people with braces, electric toothbrushes are a great choice. 

The rotating oscillating action of the brush head makes getting food out of those hard-to-reach areas a breeze. 

When used correctly, electric toothbrushes are the most effective tooth-brushing solution for orthodontic patients. 

Are There Any Drawbacks?

While there are many benefits to electric toothbrush use, they’re not without some downsides. 

From higher costs to possible environmental concerns, we take a close look at some of the potential drawbacks. 

Cost / Initial Investment

Although they are more effective, electric toothbrushes generally have a higher upfront cost than manual toothbrushes. 

That being said, the electric toothbrush itself usually lasts for many years (with only the heads needing to be replaced) – so the long-term costs are not too much higher than manual toothbrush use! 

Charging requirements

The charging requirements do add an extra step to the toothbrushing process. 

However, in a world where we’re used to charging our smartphones and many other appliances, this is a minor inconvenience – particularly considering the superior cleaning powers. 

Bulky for travel

Electric toothbrushes are bigger and bulkier than manual ones, and this can raise concerns about adding extra weight or taking up extra space when traveling. 

In reality,  however, the extra room they take up is negligible – and if you’re only going away for a couple of days, you can even get away with leaving the charger at home!

Potential for technical issues

Any electronic device can experience technical issues, and electric toothbrushes are no different. 

Many products (like the Boka electric toothbrush) come with extended warranties, and the likelihood of experiencing technical difficulties is low.

Environmental impact (battery disposal)

Disposing of batteries is a valid environmental concern if you choose to opt for an electric toothbrush. 

Thankfully, many local waste and recycling centers have options in place to let you dispose of electronic devices safely so that no harm is done to the environment! 

Manual vs. Electric Toothbrush 

When weighing up whether to purchase an electric or manual toothbrush, it’s important to directly compare their different features.

Manual toothbrushes are simpler and cheaper, while electric toothbrushes offer a superior clean but have a higher initial cost. 


Aspects

Manual Toothbrush

Electric Toothbrush

Cost

Low

High initial outlay, then low

Cleaning efficiency

Adequate

Superior, proven to clean teeth better. 

Ease of use

Easy, but requires good technique

Easy, less technique dependent

Portability

Very portable

Slightly bulkier but still portable

Power source

None required

Battery-powered requires charging

Environmental impact

Plastic waste concerns

Battery disposal concerns

Vibration 

No vibration

Vibration occurs while using


Should You Switch to Electric Toothbrush?

Deciding whether to switch to an electric toothbrush is a personal choice and will vary for different people depending on their lifestyle and preferences! 

If you’re someone who values science-backed evidence when making oral care decisions, then the facts do favor electric toothbrush use. 

Electric toothbrushes are shown to be better when it comes to plaque removal, gum health, and cavity prevention – all essential parts of oral health. 

And oral health is more important than you might think; evidence shows that the health of your mouth, gums, and teeth is closely linked to your general health. 

Scientists found that people who use an electric toothbrush have healthier gums, less tooth decay  and also keep their teeth for longer, compared with those who use a manual toothbrush.

If cost is an issue for you, remember that while the initial outlay may be higher, your electric toothbrush will last for a long time! For instance, Boka’s offering has a warranty period of two years, ensuring peace of mind. 

Overall, you need to decide what matters most to you when it comes to oral health. If you prioritize effective cleaning and convenience, then an electric toothbrush is the right choice for you.

Choosing the Right Electric Toothbrush

All electric toothbrushes are not created equal, and choosing the right one can make a huge difference to your oral care routine. 

Different toothbrushes use different technologies, and bristles and offer a variety of features that can impact on your oral health. 

Assess your dental needs

Before choosing, ensure you thoroughly understand your unique dental needs. Do you have braces, are your teeth sensitive, do you suffer from gum disease? 

The toothbrush you choose should cater to these needs for optimal oral health. If you have sensitive teeth, for example, using a toothbrush designed for a gentle brushing experience (such as this one from Boka) is ideal. 

Look for a reputable brand

Choose a brand with a proven track record for dental health! 

Boka has excellent reviews, we pride ourselves on the fact that all our products are science-backed.

As such, you can be confident you’re doing the best thing for your oral health~ We also offer a two-year warranty period for their electric toothbrush. 

Evaluate brushing modes and bristles

There are two main types of brushing modes for electric toothbrushes: rotating oscillating toothbrushes and sonic toothbrushes. 

While both are proven to be effective, Sonic toothbrushes have the advantage of producing more brushes per minute

This can give an advantage when it comes to plaque removal, particularly when it comes to hard-to-reach areas of the mouth. 

Bristle choice is also super important, and that’s one of the ways Boka’s electric toothbrush stands out!

It’s the first electric toothbrush to use activated charcoal bristles, and this innovative addition really makes a difference. 

The activated charcoal helps to limit bacteria grown on the bristles and also provides a gentle yet effective cleaning experience. 

Soft bristles help you avoid over-brushing, which can cause enamel erosion, receding gums, and sensitive teeth. 

Check for a pressure sensor

When choosing a toothbrush, check to see if it contains a pressure sensor. A pressure sensor helps you prevent pressing too hard on your teeth and damaging your gums or enamel! 

Battery life and charging

Battery life is an important consideration, particularly if you plan to travel without taking your charger. 

The Boka brush has a long-lasting charge, so you don’t need to worry about running out of batteries if you forget to charge it; the lithium-ion battery lasts for over 25 days!

Compatibility with replacement heads

Always choose a brand that supports replacement heads. This means there is no need to replace the entire brush once the bristles wear off – you can just quickly and easily switch out the heads!

The Boka brush comes with two replacement heads, and if you sign up for the subscription option, you’ll regularly receive new heads without having to do anything. 

Timer and quadrant alerts

Make sure you choose an electric toothbrush that comes with a timer! 

This is the easiest way to ensure you’re brushing for the full two minutes recommended by the American Dental Association. 

The Boka brush also features 30-second alerts, so you can tell how far into your brushing session you are. 

Appearance

Although the most important thing to bear in mind is cleaning ability, toothbrush appearance is also a consideration. 

Aesthetics are important, especially if you have a recently renovated bathroom! 

If this is a relevant factor for you, choose a toothbrush with a sleek, modern design, like the Boka brush. Its stainless steel accents and minimalist design mean it will look at home in any bathroom. 

Easy Docking 

You want charging your toothbrush to be easy and fuss-free!  

Look for electric toothbrushes that don’t need to be plugged in; the Boka brush features a magnetic docking station so you can just put your brush down and go. 

Portable

If you frequently travel, look for an electric toothbrush that is designed to be portable!

Some brands offer a specially designed travel case, so it’s easy to take your toothbrush on the road. 

Additional features (e.g., app connectivity)

If other features are important to you (such as app connectivity), do your research before purchasing to find brands that support this. 

App connectivity can allow you to track your brushing habits and make changes based on your trends. 

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