Brushing your teeth every day for 2 minutes a day is an essential part of maintaining good oral health for your child.
While the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends both manual and electric toothbrushes to remove plaque and prevent dental diseases, you might wonder whether electric toothbrushes get the job done better than manual ones.
Discover the pros and cons of manual vs. electric toothbrushes for kids including cost, effectiveness, and eco-friendliness so you can make the right choice for your child's dental needs.
Benefits of Using a Manual Toothbrush
With easy access and affordability, you likely have at least a few manual toothbrushes around your home. While manual toothbrushes are not as technologically advanced as electric toothbrushes, they can still help keep your child's teeth cavity-free and spare them visits to the dentist for emergency issues.
Manual toothbrushes can be:
- Accessible: They can be found at virtually any gas station, grocery store, or pharmacy.
- Affordable: They aren't expensive and most can be bought for under $3.
- Convenient: They don't require electricity or batteries to operate.
Cons of Using a Manual Toothbrush
While manual toothbrushes are cost-effective and convenient, they do have a few disadvantages:
- People tend to brush harder with a manual toothbrush than with an electric one, which can cause gum irritation.
- It can be difficult to know how long you're brushing your teeth every day with a manual toothbrush.
- Depending on your age, mobility, and hygiene habits, manual toothbrushes may also not be as thorough
Benefits of Using an Electric Toothbrush
Using an electric toothbrush is an excellent investment in your long-term oral health and wellness. Electric toothbrushes provide many benefits that can help you and your family's smiles stay healthy:
- Effectiveness: Electric toothbrushes use strong vibrating or rotating bristles that can clean your teeth easier without brushing too hard.
- Consistency: Many electric toothbrushes have built-in timers to ensure that you always brush for the recommended 2 minutes.
- Sustainable: Using an electric toothbrush could reduce waste since you only replace the head rather than the entire toothbrush.
- Easy-to-use: Electric toothbrushes are helpful for people who may need extra help to brush, including children and people with disabilities.
- Gum-friendly: When used properly, electric toothbrushes keep your gums free of plaque without irritation.
After trying out an electric toothbrush, it's easy to see (and feel) the difference that it can provide in effectiveness and convenience over manual toothbrushes.
One study found that electric toothbrushes resulted in 22% less gum recession and 18% less tooth decay over 11 years.
Cons of Using an Electric Toothbrush
Electric toothbrushes can be easy to use, effective, and help you brush for the recommended 2 minutes each time you brush. But electric toothbrushes do come with a few disadvantages:
- Compared to manual toothbrushes, electric toothbrushes are more expensive — they can cost anywhere from $15 to $250.
- Replacement toothbrush heads for electric toothbrushes can range in price from $10 to $45 for a pack of refills. Disposable electric toothbrushes usually cost between $5 and $8, plus the cost of batteries.
- For some models, finding the appropriate replacement head for their electric toothbrush may not be easy.
- Since electric toothbrushes use either electricity or batteries, they're less eco-friendly than their manual counterparts.
- Keeping electric toothbrushes charged while traveling can be inconvenient.
Rising Popularity of Electric Toothbrush Memberships
More people than ever before are turning to electric toothbrushes thanks to product memberships that make receiving them easy and convenient.
Choosing the Right Toothbrush for Your Child
With so many options to choose from, finding the right toothbrush for your child can be hard.
No matter what style of toothbrush you invest in, be sure that the bristles aren't too hard and it's small enough for your child to hold comfortably.
Electric toothbrushes are just as safe for young children as manual ones. With an electric toothbrush, you can rest assured your child's teeth are being cleaned effectively without damaging their enamel or gums by brushing too hard.
At the end of the day, the best toothbrush is the one that your child will use twice a day, for 2 minutes each time they brush.
Tips to Help Your Child Brush Their Teeth Properly
Regardless of whether your child uses a manual or electric toothbrush, here are a few tips to ensure they maintain good oral health for a lifetime:
- Avoid toothbrushes with hard bristles that can remove their tooth enamel and damage their gums.
- Hold the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle from their teeth and gums.
- Make sure they brush all surfaces of their teeth for 2 minutes twice a day.
- Use fluoride toothpaste.
- Floss once a day.
- Rinse their toothbrush after each use and store it upright to dry.
- The ADA recommends replacing your toothbrush every 3 to 4 months. If it begins to look worn or frayed before then, it should be replaced sooner.
- While manual toothbrushes must be thrown away, electric toothbrush heads can be removed and replaced.
The Best Apps to Help Your Child Brush Properly
There's no doubt about it: kids love being entertained. Sometimes, this hunger for excitement can make their more mundane tasks extra challenging — like brushing and flossing.
Luckily, these tasks can be fun with a little creativity and support.
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