Are electric toothbrushes better?

It can be a hard decision, spending upwards of $100 (or more) for an electric toothbrush over a few dollars for the manual version, but is it worth it? If you’re wondering if electric toothbrushes are better, we have the answer to help make your next toothbrush-buying decision a little easier.

According to Consumer Reports, a study by the international evidence-based research organization Cochrane found that electric toothbrushes reduce dental plaque 21 percent more than a manual brush. They also found that electric toothbrushes reduce gingivitis 11 percent more often.

According to Consumer Reports dental adviser Jay W. Friedman, the type of electric toothbrush you use — rotating, oscillating, sonic — doesn’t matter, adding that “Excessive brushing with manual or electric has its risks. Too much pressure and too frequent brushing can abrade enamel or the root if the gum has receded.”

However, doctors do note that it is possible to effectively brush your teeth with a manual brush as long as it’s done properly. An electric toothbrush, they say, can be a great alternative for those with dexterity problems, arthritis or other condition that makes brushing with a manual brush challenging.

The American Dental Association says for those who want to brush with a manual brush, you need to spend at least 30 seconds per section brushing at a 45-degree angle for a total of about two minutes twice a day. This will help remove food particles, plaque and tartar from the surfaces of your teeth.