We hear this question a lot as dental professionals: Is an electric toothbrush really better than the old-fashioned kind? According to the American Dental Association (ADA), manual toothbrushes can be just as effective as their more technically advanced siblings. At the end of the day, it’s the way you brush, not what you use to brush, that makes the biggest difference.
That said, there are plenty of studies out there that show distinct advantages of using an electric toothbrush. A review of 56 different studies conducted between 1964 and 2011 found that powered toothbrushes reduced plaque (that gross bacteria-ridden film that accumulates on teeth) and gingivitis more effectively than manual toothbrushing in the short and long term. However, similar studies also said it would be easier to assess overall benefits of electric toothbrushes if there was more standardization in the technology. Not all electric toothbrushes are created equal!
Powered toothbrushes with an oscillating motion (such as when the brush head rotates alternately from one direction to the other) are the most effective. So if counter space is not an issue, there is a lot of evidence that it is worth the investment in your oral health to switch to an electric toothbrush. There are even tons of options for kids with handles that look like everything from race cars and bunnies to astronauts and disney princesses.
More importantly than what type of toothbrush you use is how you use it. Make sure that you are following proper brushing techniques (watch our video) and flossing every day!