Electric vs. Manual Toothbrushes

New Brushes Add Novel Features

If you have trouble cleaning your teeth, some new products can offer solutions. Power toothbrushes offer a growing number of features designed to make the time you spend brushing more effective, enhance your technique, and offer a more pleasant experience.

According to The Journal of Contemporary Dental Practice, these features include:

  • Timers: The average person spends just 46 seconds brushing — less than half of the recommended two minutes. To reach that goal, some power toothbrushes have a two-minute timer. Some also feature a timer that emits a sound or vibration every 30 seconds. That's your signal to move on to the next quadrant of your mouth.

  • Pressure indicators: While brushing, some people apply too much pressure. That can wear away gum tissue and abrade teeth. In some models, pressure indicators let you know if you are pressing too hard.

  • Brushing modes: Some models let you pick various brushing modes. These modes include the standard cleaning, soft (for sensitive teeth), massage (for gums), or polish, depending on your needs and health preferences.

All this feedback might help you brush the way you should. In a trial involving 40 patients conducted by dental professionals with one brush manufacturer, people who timed themselves for 30 days used this power toothbrush an average of 136 seconds. In comparison, manual brush users brushed for 99 seconds. Those using the power brush were also five times more likely to have brushed their teeth twice a day as recommended.

If you're not sure which toothbrush features could help your dental care routine, ask your dentist for advice.


"A Novel Oscillating-Rotating Power Toothbrush with SmartGuide: Designed for Enhanced Performance and Compliance." P.A. Walters et al. The Journal of Contemporary Dental Practice. May 1, 2007, vol. 8, no. 4. Abstract: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17486181. Accessed 2013.

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