Electric toothbrushes: Your toothbrush needs an upgrade

Electric toothbrushes-Your toothbrush needs an upgrade

Medically reviewed by  Dr. Vidhi Bhanushali Kabade BDS, TCC

Last updated Mar 20, 2024

Medically reviewed by  Dr. Vidhi Bhanushali Kabade BDS, TCC

Last updated Mar 20, 2024

You ask your dentist which toothpaste to use, don’t you? But do you know your toothbrush plays a more important role in improving your oral hygiene than your toothpaste? Have you ever asked your dentist which toothbrush to use? You must really be concerned about your oral hygiene if you did so, which is good. But I bet you must have never asked your dentist which is better electric or a manual toothbrush?

Manual Vs electric toothbrush

The debate is a never-ending one. However, studies do prove people using electric toothbrushes have better oral hygiene as compared to the ones who use a manual toothbrush. The reason behind this being, many are not aware of the right brushing technique.

Right from chewing sticks, tree twigs, animal bone, porcupine quill down to the first manual toothbrush, to toothbrushes with advanced technology that comes with an app, dental technology has come a long way. The advent of electric toothbrushes or powered toothbrushes made oral care much easier. Electric toothbrushes are a combination of modern technology with added benefits over manual toothbrushes.


Electric toothbrushes for efficient cleaning

The electric toothbrushes consist of a detachable brush handle and ahead. The handle is a little bulky so as to accommodate the motor and for a better grip. Generally, the head of the electric toothbrushes is circular and compact. Also the compact head of the toothbrush has short dense bristles which gives a more effective cleansing action.

The biggest advantage of the compact head is that it can reach the most difficult parts of the mouth where you cannot reach by yourself with a manual toothbrush. Also, the bristle arrangement may favor cleaning in between the teeth which does not happen with our regular manual toothbrushes. Thus, the meticulous design of the new electric toothbrushes aid in cleaning of the oral cavity in a much effective and better way!

How do the electric toothbrushes actually work?

The basic model or first generation of electric toothbrushes simply had a back-and-forth motion which kind of simulated the manual toothbrushes. According to studies conducted, there was not much difference in the efficacy of manual and these first-generation powered toothbrushes. Also, the short life span of batteries did not serve many purposes and soon became obsolete.

The second-generation powered or electric toothbrushes had a unique working style like a rotating head of the toothbrush with a long-lasting rechargeable battery. The mechanism of action of this second-generation electric toothbrush is mechanical with a rotating and oscillating head.

So, what does that mean? It means that the bristles on the brush head rotate in 360 degrees in one direction or they simply rotate in clockwise and anti-clockwise alternately. As a piece of information, one should know that these brushes move at around 3800 oscillations per minute or at 40,000 strokes per minute. What does that imply? It implies a much effective mechanical removal of plaque, bacteria, and food debris clinged to the teeth surfaces. 

close-up-brunette-half-naked-woman-with-perfect-skin-nude-make-up-hold-brush-showing-how to use an electric toothbrush?

How to use an electric toothbrush?

Well, it’s pretty simple to use since the toothbrush does most of the job. All you are supposed to do is to hold the toothbrush correctly and brush for a whole 2 minutes. Hold the toothbrush at 45 degrees to the tooth surface. Only after that you are supposed to switch on the power mode. The brush should be moved gently over all the surfaces of tooth for at least 3 to 5 seconds.

Since, the head of the toothbrush is small it reaches the nooks and crannies of mouth. Also, the toothbrush can be slightly tilted in between the two teeth to facilitate interdental cleaning.

Why use an electric toothbrush?

Studies prove that the rotating-oscillating head of the electric toothbrush is much more effective in removing plaque and food debris from the tooth as compared to the manual toothbrush. The oscillating motion in particular helps to create micro-movements which dislodge the adhered plaque from tooth surface.

A review of studies has reported reduction in the plaque formation and subsequently lesser gingival swelling and infections in people using electric toothbrush. As compared to manual toothbrush, electric toothbrushes are very useful in people with limited dexterity. Also, an interesting note observed with the use of electric toothbrushes is that people are way more focused and alert while brushing with electric toothbrushes.

Certain electric toothbrushes have an in-built timer that helps the user to brush for a specific period of time. Instead of manual brushes electric toothbrushes aid in better oral hygiene in patients having braces in their mouth. Unlike manual toothbrushes, electric toothbrushes having a detachable head need to replace only the head instead of discarding the entire brush. These only downside is that the electric toothbrush price in India is slightly on the higher side. 

When and when not to use electric toothbrushes?

Anyone and everyone who does not have any major dental problems can upgrade their toothbrushes to electric ones. People who have bleeding gums and gum infections should ideally not use them. If you have braces you should take it slow and steady with electric toothbrushes. People with severe sensitivity and gum surgeries should avoid using them.

Electric toothbrushes have also proven to improve the oral hygiene of people with limited physical and mental dexterity. Individuals with special needs, handicapped individuals, hospitalized patients and senior citizens with limited body movements find using electric toothbrushes more convenient.

The bottom line

You always find it easier to clean your things at home with different machinery like vacuum cleaners and different types of mops. You do find out a way to clean your home more efficiently. It’s time you also think about maintaining your oral hygiene efficiently. So give your toothbrush an upgrade by switching to electric toothbrushes and bid a farewell to manual ones.


  • The second generation electric or powered toothbrush have replaced the earlier models with a long-lasting rechargeable battery.
  • The recent electric toothbrushes have a compact head with rotating-oscillating motion.
  • The electric toothbrushes are more effective than manual ones due its oscillating head, which helps to dislodge the plaque formation.
  • Everyone can use electric toothbrushes.
  • The electric toothbrushes can be used by all but in particular are very useful in people with limited physical or mental dexterity, patients with braces, hospitalized patients or senior citizens with arthritis.
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Stay Informed, Smile On!

Author Bio: Dr Priyanka Bansode has completed her BDS from the prestigious Nair Hospital & Dental College, Mumbai. She has also completed her Post Graduate Fellowship in Microdentistry from Government Dental College, Mumbai and a Post Graduate Dip. In Forensic Science & Related Laws from Mumbai University. Dr Priyanka has a vast and a diverse experience of 11 years in clinical dentistry and has maintained her private practice of 7 years in Pune. She is keenly involved in community oral health and has been part of various diagnostic dental camps, attended several National & State Dental conferences and is an active member of many social organisations. Dr Priyanka was awarded the ‘Swayam siddha Puraskar’ by the Lion’s Club, Pune in 2018 on the eve of International Women’s Day. She believes in creating an awareness on oral health through her blogs.

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