Which one’s better?: Manual Vs. Electronic Toothbrush

Other / Canada

Recently, I’ve been contemplating getting an electronic toothbrush. Why? Well, probably the #1 reason is laziness. There are some mornings/nights that I just don’t have the energy to move my wrist and apply pressure to my teeth for a full 2 minutes.

The second reason for getting an electronic toothbrush, which still has to be confirmed via Google, is whether or not an electronic version is more ‘green’ than its manual counterpart. One thing’s for certain is that the cheapie throwaway electronic brushes certainly aren’t good for the environment as you cannot change the heads and they’re made out of bulky, non-recyclable plastic!

(I’ve actually begged my bf to stop buying them for me because I feel guilty once they’re ready for the trash.)

Probably the third pro for switching to electronic is that it supposedly gets your teeth cleaner. According to Adria Vasil’s Ecoholic Body, the oscillating types are particularly better for cleaning than the type that just moves back ‘n forth.

And now for the cons: The added expense of electronic toothbrushes, the replacement heads alone seem to be average $10/brush and again, the uncertainty of whether or not they’re more environmentally-friendly in the long run. How often do you replace the head? And what do you do with the unit once the battery dies, within 3-5yrs?

So SCers, when it comes to toothbrushes, do you prefer manual or electronic?

25 responses to “Which one’s better?: Manual Vs. Electronic Toothbrush”

  1. Diane V says:

    My husband and I quit using our electronic toothbrushes because within 6 months we both had fillings which came out and a cap which came off. Yes, your teeth may be cleaner, but at a really expensive price.

  2. L6941 says:

    If you really want eco-friendly toothbrushes, use bamboo toothbrushes or guava leaves/twigs. 🙂

    I have a rechargeable electric toothbrush that I’ve used for 5 years now. I just replace the heads. Unless you live in a cave in Borneo, nobody nowadays can be 100% eco-friendly. My home is toxic-free (thanks to http://lesstoxicguide.ca) and I do not own a car. So I think I deserve to own an electric toothbrush. Although now I also want a rechargeable electric flosser.

  3. Gazpache says:

    I’ve got an oral B vitality and I LOVE it! Absolutely the best toothbrush I’ve ever had! After you use it you honestly get that “fresh from the dentist feeling.” And ever since I got it my dentist has said my teeth are super clean. last time I went the hygienist said my teeth were the cleanest she’d seen all week. I get much better reviews with the electric.

    The cost does suck but the brush itself is about $25. I’ve had the same unit for 6 years now. The heads are a bit pricey.. walmart sells them 3/$23. But you can get 6/$32 at costco.. a much better deal! I’ve never ever go back to a manual!

  4. luv2teach says:

    Love my electronic toothbrush! I have been using an electronic for about 10 years or so. I only use manual on short vacations or camping trips because I love the way the Oral B electronic cleans…worth the $ in my opinion.

  5. abbasgirl says:

    I used an Oral B for awhile. The heads are expensive. I switched to the Shopper’s Drug Mart brand. It works just as well and the heads are a lot cheaper. Mine has disposable batteries, but I think they also have rechargeable ones. I’ve never really thought about the environmental impact. I just use it because it does a better job than a manual brush.

  6. Meow Meow says:

    I didn’t read beyond the headline, but I will say this…. I had one of the last old-school (didn’t jump on the money-grubbing wagon) dentists in Toronto, and the ONLY reason he recommended an electric (non-disposable) toothbrush was because of my receding gums… He said it was less aggressive than regular brushing. So, brands and drama aside, I own an older model Braun with replaceable heads and rarely replace the heads, and yet continue to this day to maintain healthy gums and have excellent oral hygiene.

  7. jojobean says:

    I had an electric toothbrush and hated it. I’ve gone back to my ultrasoft toothbrush (which I usually get at the dentist office) and I have never had a cavity, nor is my gums receding. I take good care of my teeth and I eat healthy foods, don’t drink high sugared drinks, drink a glass of milk every day, and always brush my teeth 2-3 times/day. I also visit the dentist twice a year (covered by benefits). My dentist says my teeth are incredibly healthy and to continue what I’m doing.

  8. Jonathan says:

    Manual 🙂

  9. Judy says:

    I love the electric. My teeth feel incredibly cleaner than when I use a manual.

  10. sara says:

    I switched to an Oral-B one I got on sale in Costco. Heads are expensive so I use Rexall brand which is just as good. I also got a travel case at Personal Edge for short trips.
    My hygienest recommended I use electric after she told me I had gingivitis. Its no longer an issue and she has to do very little plaque removal when I go for my 6 month check ups. It also ensures I brush properly as it beeps every 30-secs.
    By contrast, my husband uses a manual brush and has never had a cavity. He has used listerine daily for years after his dentist told him it was more effective.

  11. Natalka says:

    Manual all the way! A lot of the reason people don’t think they clean well enough is that they don’t change their toothbrush often enough!

  12. Brenda says:

    Definitely electric. I bought an Oral-B Vitality on mega redemption day and I will never go back to a manual brush. My teeth always feel like I just had them cleaned at the dentist and it really helped my gums. I don’t really mind the cost of the replacement heads since I used to pay nearly that much on a good manual toothbrush anyways. The only downside I’ve found is when I go camping or on short trips I bring a travel manual brush and I have to spend the time with gross feeling teeth.

  13. Kerry says:

    I have been thinking about trying an electric toothbrush. My manual toothbrush only lasts about 3 weeks because I brush too hard, so I am a little concered that I would do the same with an electric and it would get pricey.

  14. Jane says:

    I’d be less worried about toothbrushes filling landfills & more worried about disposable hygiene products, like diapers & pads.

  15. andy says:

    You have to be careful when using an electric toothbrush. You cannot use any toothpaste that whitens because it is too abrasive for your teeth. You also have to be careful about how much pressure you apply when brushing. An example of this is when you rub a peach to feel the fuzz. Thats how much pressure you should apply.

  16. couponnoob says:

    I wish I had switched to electric years sooner than I did! My teeth feel so much cleaner and it is easier to make sure you actually brush for as long as you should. Also my dentist has commented that my gums are much healthier since I started using it. Not sure about the difference cost-wise, but even if it is a bit more expensive it is totally worth it!

  17. saver says:

    our dentist recommended an electric toothbrush for my son. there are a few brands that dentists prefer over others. some might be a little hard on your gums so you might want to ask your dentist what he recommends for you. soft bristles are the best.

  18. Captain says:

    Although the electric do make your teeth feel cleaner, I find them very pricey as I change my toothbrush every few weeks as I tend to chew the bristle out of shape somehow and therefore buy dollar store toothbrushes, otherwise I would spend a ton per year on them, when the money could be used elsewhere. As for the cavity thing, it does not matter what you use. I haven’t had one in years and actually had my very first cavity at 26.

  19. nick says:

    electric and get 6 months or more from a replacement head. My electric is 8 yearts old and still going, granted it needs to be charge more often then when new. I use a soft or ultrasoft brush. Electrics are much better around your gums.

  20. Katie says:

    Are the electric really that much more eco-friendly? Because when I hear batteries I think harmful chemicals leaching into the ground or of battery dumps in third world countries where small children are forced to work….

  21. Tina says:

    I use a manual toothbrush in the morning & my Oral-B at night (when I’m more tired & less likely to do a thorough job). The best of both worlds!

  22. Mrs Doubt flyer says:

    I just got an electric yesterday! 😀 (Its called ‘Spinbrush’ by arm & hammer and costs about 10$ at Jean Coutu- I think they are on sale) My guess is that the head should be replaced every 3 months like a manuel but maybe it might last longer. I also have receeding gums and recently the hygenist had condemned my dental hygiene so I decided to try an electric. Its weird, It feels like there is a certain “toy” in the mouth lol- they are both electric so duh), but after brushing, My teeth felt A LOT cleaner, and while brushing tiny food particles actually flew out between my gums. Reading one of the comments, I feel concerned about the fact that I have a lot of fillings, so maybe brush gently since the toothbrush is quite powerful.

    Regarding disposable toothbrushes- They make wonderful little scrubbers to use around the house. I also remember in high school we had a weird fad that involved wearing toothbrushes as bracelets! We boiled them in water so that we can change their shape and cut the bristles off..wow what a weird school I went to to! LOL

  23. Jane says:

    You can also use old toothbrushes for painting – just dip, & use your thumb to splatter the paint. It can give a neat effect

  24. Jenn says:

    Electric toothbrush does do a better job; however, there are those that tends to be very abrusive (the round spinbrush), so they are not so good – according to my dentist and dental hygienists. The other disadvantage is, for a really good one, they are very expensive, even when you can manage to get one on sale, the replacement heads are ridiculously pricey. If price is not an issue, then by all means. Therefore, it is not necessary if you’re good regular teethbrusher, if not, then it’s better for your overall teeth hygiene to get an electric.

  25. Talia says:

    http://www.reuseit.com/ has a manual toothbrush where you *just* replace the heads…. Sorry to cancel out that excuse lol…. ;P


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