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Manual Toothbrush vs. Electric Toothbrush

Ah yes, the question of the ages… manual or electric toothbrush? Okay, maybe it’s not quite that dramatic, but it’s a question folks have been asking themselves for decades, ever since the first electric toothbrush came on the scene more than a half century ago. If you’re an electric toothbrush user, you probably swear by it. And, if you’re someone who just wants to use a nice, regular manual toothbrush, you likely have found one you love and you have every intention of sticking with it. But should you switch from your usual routine and cross over to the other side? Is there really that much of a difference between the manual and electric toothbrush? Top cosmetic dentists have answers to these and other questions about manual and electric toothbrushes that may help you decide which is right for you.

History of the toothbrush

Manual toothbrushes have been around since ancient times, in one form or another. In fact, the first recorded bristle toothbrush (that looked like the toothbrushes we use now) dates all the way back to circa 700 A.D. It was used by the Tang Dynasty and was constructed of, believe it or not, hog hairs. That’s right, hog hairs. They were used for the bristles, and the handle was constructed of bamboo or even animal bone. Bristle toothbrushes caught on much later in Europe, right around the 17th century. But it wasn’t until 1954 that the first effective electric toothbrush came on the scene. This was known as the ‘Broxodent.’ It was invented by Dr. Philippe-G. Woog and was first marketed in Switzerland. It wasn’t until 1960 that it was introduced to the U.S. at the 100th anniversary of the American Dental Association.

Manual toothbrushes

So what are the advantages to manual toothbrushes? Well, the first advantage of the manual toothbrush is, of course, its pleasant price tag. Manual toothbrushes can be purchased as cheaply as a dollar. You can even find some at the big dollar-store chains that have three or more in a package for just a buck. Another advantage of the manual toothbrush is its availability. Manual toothbrushes are almost as prolific as water these days, and you can find them in every grocery, drug, dollar, and superstore there is. Finally, they’re easy to travel with… you can just toss one in your purse, suitcase, or overnight bag. You can even find manual toothbrushes that fold up and go in your pocket! Additionally, some dental experts say that manual toothbrushes put less pressure on the teeth and gums, which helps to protect enamel and other structures of the mouth.

Electric toothbrushes

So what are the advantages to electric toothbrushes? To get the answer to this question, it’s probably best to talk to someone you know who actually uses an electric toothbrush. Many folks who use them say their teeth just plain feel cleaner when they use their electric toothbrushes compared to how their teeth felt when they used their manual toothbrushes. Another big advantage of an electric toothbrush is that these can be good for folks who don’t have the manual dexterity they may need to use the force necessary to make a manual toothbrush effective. For example, people who suffer with medical conditions such as arthritis may find an electric toothbrush easier to use, as they may have limited ability to move arms and hands.

Manual or electric toothbrush? It’s a question Plato himself might have pondered (if there had been electric toothbrushes in ancient times). So how do you decide which one is right for you? The answer is simple, especially since today’s electric toothbrushes can be found in varying price ranges. If you’re a manual toothbrush user, you might want to consider switching just to see how the other half lives. Electric toothbrushes can be easier to use, and some people swear their effectiveness, saying it far outshines that of the manual toothbrush. Others, even those who’ve used electric toothbrushes, swear by their manual toothbrushes and wouldn’t switch for the world. So which of these do top cosmetic dentists recommend? Simple. They recommend the one that will make you brush most efficiently and effectively, at least twice every single day.

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