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Electric Toothbrush vs Manual Toothbrush: What's the Difference?

Electric Toothbrush vs Manual Toothbrush: What's the Difference?

From a young age, we have been educated about the importance of brushing our teeth in order to establish good oral care habits. Reaching excess bits of food between teeth has historically been a hurdle. But from adding wires to twigs to fusing bristles to plastic, we learned that reaching all areas of our teeth, gums, and tongue is possible.

There are two toothbrush options available today: manual and electric. And commonly, dentists get asked this question: Do I need an electric brush or should I stick with the old-fashioned one? Upon noticing widely advertised electric toothbrushes, you may wonder about their effectiveness in cleaning.

According to the American Dental Association (ADA), both electric and manual soft-bristled toothbrushes can effectively remove dental plaque as long as you brush your teeth for two minutes twice a day1. So it’s not really “electric vs manual toothbrush”, but instead, it comes down to your own preferences, and we are here to help you identify them! Read on to learn about each toothbrush so you can decide which is the best fit for you!

The Force, Energy or Strength Required When Brushing

Besides using a soft-bristled toothbrush and brushing for two minutes with a fluoridated toothpaste, your brushing techniques also must be considered. The goal of brushing your teeth is to remove dental plaque, which is a soft and sticky substance. But brushing too hard or too long can cause many complications such as damage to the protective layer or gum irritation2.

When using an electric toothbrush, you tend to exhibit less force when brushing because the rotating bristles do most of the work. There are also sonic toothbrushes that work based on vibration, designed to provide greater effectiveness in the form of superior plaque removal and gentler brushing.

Therefore, the biggest benefit of electric toothbrushes is that it does most of the work for you, so if you are unsure of the force needed or just want to be more cautious, electric toothbrushes are better for you. However, it is never a bad idea to start brushing with a manual toothbrush, especially for growing children as good habits are developed from an early age.

This way, they can learn how to exhibit the right amount of force needed before meddling with electric ones. This can also prepare them for future scenarios where they do not have access to electric toothbrushes. Darlie houses manual toothbrushes of various bristle types, toothbrush head and handle sizes, so choose away!

The Different Ways You Can Utilise Them

Conventional manual toothbrushes also have their own advantages. They are cheaper, easily accessible and simpler to pack for travel. While using one requires some extra work, it allows you to maintain a desired amount of pressure, so you can brush at your own pace and feel more in control. Just keep in mind that removing excess food necessitates a minimal amount of force6.

One of the bigger benefits of electric toothbrushes is its natural ability to help ease the lives of those who suffer from impairments like arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, or developmental disabilities2,5. Using a manual toothbrush may be challenging for them because proper grip and dexterity are required to properly clean their teeth, making electric toothbrushes the obvious and better option among the two.

The Time Needed to Properly Brush your Teeth

You should brush your teeth for at least two minutes, twice a day. That is sufficient for removing all the plaque on the surfaces of your teeth, thus maintaining your oral hygiene. It is unnecessary to brush for a long time as plaque is too soft to be removed within two minutes. Overbrushing can actually harm your gums or the enamel layer of your teeth, which can then lead to more problems like hypersensitivity or caries2,4.

Many electric toothbrushes come with a built-in timer to prevent overbrushing. Of course, if you choose to use a manual toothbrush, you can set your own timer with your smartphone3. Brushing speed is also a factor that gets overlooked most of the time. Some people tend to brush their teeth at a slower pace to their comfort, and manual toothbrushes are tailor-made for these instances.

When it comes to the conversation of electric vs manual toothbrushes, you now know that both types are great in their own ways. If the pros of electric toothbrushes seem appealing to you, make the switch today.

If you are looking to explore the various bristle standards available with manual toothbrushes, explore Darlie's wide selection of manual toothbrushes, instead. We believe that the right fit matters, so there’s definitely a toothbrush that’s perfect for you!


  1. Department of Scientific Information, Evidence Synthesis & Translation Research, ADA Science & Research Institute, LLC. (2019, February 26). Toothbrushes. American Dental Association. Retrieved July 7, 2022, from
  2. Is it possible to brush your teeth for too long? River Run Dental. (2020, May 12). Retrieved July 7, 2022, from,as%20cavities%20and%20periodontal%20disease
  3. Norris, T. (2019, March 8). Electric toothbrush vs. manual toothbrush: Which is better? Healthline. Retrieved July 7, 2022, from
  4. WebMD. (2003, June 20). Too much pressure or time brushing your teeth can hurt. WebMD. Retrieved July 7, 2022, from,it%20is%20for%20your%20teeth
  5. Family Dental Health. (2019, March 20). Oral Hygiene and Disabilities. Family Dental Health. Retrieved July 7, 2022, from,section%20of%20teeth%20being%20cleaned
  6. Electric vs manual toothbrushes - what's best? Orthodontics Australia. (2021, August 27). Retrieved July 7, 2022, from
Being a dentist at the prestigious Tiew Dental, Dr Jacquelyn Lim is one you can rely on for accurate, professional advice. She graduated from University Malaya in 2019, and now has invaluable experience and knowledge, thanks to her time serving at government dental clinics. She has a special interest in Orthodontics and Periodontics. When she’s not treating patients at her clinic, she is either at the gym or travelling to her favourite destination.
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Electric Toothbrush vs Manual Toothbrush: What's the Difference?