The Pros and Cons of Using Electric Toothbrushes

We use our teeth and mouth daily more than most of us realize. That is why it is important that we always ensure that we brush our teeth correctly at least twice a day in order to maintain good oral health and overall hygiene. For hundreds of years, the manual toothbrush has reigned over bathrooms all over the world. But like most technology, advancements have been made in the oral care industry that warrants an adjustment to the day-to-day routines of people. One of these advancements that generally creates a better cleaning experience is the electric toothbrush.

Today, it is quite challenging for people to decide whether they need to get a manual toothbrush or an electric toothbrush. Some also have misconceptions about electric toothbrushes, while some have a lack of knowledge about how they work. Like most things, electric toothbrushes have their advantages and disadvantages. Therefore, if you are considering getting an electric toothbrush but are not quite convinced yet or want to learn more about it first, we are here to help you. In this post, we are giving you the pros and cons of using electric toothbrushes.

What are Electric Toothbrushes and How Do They Work?

a rechargeable electric toothbrush by the bathroom sink

Electric toothbrushes are high-tech types of toothbrushes that are powered by batteries. They clean the teeth by rotating in different motions and vibrating against the teeth and gums to help remove plaque and decrease gingivitis. They are regarded by many as superior compared to manual toothbrushes due to their vibration capabilities, which give micro-movements when used. Electric toothbrushes have various parts, which you can learn more about below: [1]

Outer Case

All of the components of an electric toothbrush are held by the outer case. This is where the controls are located, such as the on and off buttons and the battery life indicator. The outer case also works as a protection to the inner workings of the toothbrush, like the battery and circuit board, because these need to stay dry at all times.


When the power of an electric toothbrush is turned on, its motor will be activated. It will start to spin as energy is taken through the circuit board and to it. From this, the toothbrush will create a brushing motion to the brush head. The motor can also create back-and-forth and side-to-side motions with its cam and gear system, which replicates the effect that you would get from using a manual toothbrush. There are also some electric toothbrushes that have multiple modes. The setting that you choose will dictate the movement of the motor.


Most electric toothbrushes are powered by built-in rechargeable batteries. The power from the battery is what makes the motor inside the toothbrush spin. Battery power depends on the brush and will run out faster depending on the cleaning mode that you choose to use. The majority of electric toothbrushes use rechargeable batteries that can be replenished by an inductive charger. But there are also some electric toothbrushes that use replaceable batteries.

Circuit Board

When you switch on an electric toothbrush or choose a specific setting, a switch will be triggered on the circuit board. These are what tell the motor how to move, which is made possible by small memory chips in the circuit. Circuit boards also indicate the battery life or cleaning mode of the toothbrush. Some electric toothbrushes feature LED lights that tell what mode is chosen and show the battery level of the toothbrush.

Pressure Sensor

There are some toothbrushes that feature pressure sensors that help keep your oral health in check. When cleaning your teeth, feedback will be passed through the brush. When too much pressure is applied to the teeth, the sensor will be activated and will usually show in the form of an LED light. When pressure is relieved, the light will automatically turn off. This feature is usually available in more advanced electric toothbrushes.

A toothbrush with a pressure sensor can also be great for people with sensitive teeth. You can find out more about this in our guide to Choosing the Best Toothbrush for Sensitive Teeth.

Removable Brush Head

Almost all electric toothbrushes include a removable brush head. It’s because, over time, the bristles on the head will become worn down and less effective at keeping the teeth and mouth clean. Each brand of electric toothbrush has its own brush head design. It is important to replace them regularly in order to maintain good oral hygiene.

Pros of Using Electric Toothbrushes

person holding an electric toothbrush

If you are wondering about the benefits that electric toothbrushes may provide you with, below are some of the pros of using electric toothbrushes:

Removes Plaque More Effectively

The bristles of electric toothbrushes rotate and vibrate to help you eliminate plaque buildup from your teeth and gums. The vibration provides more micro-movements each time you move the toothbrush across your teeth. Based on a review of studies, electric toothbrushes, in general, can decrease plaque and gingivitis more effectively compared to manual toothbrushes. People who participated in the studies reported that after three months of use, their plaque was reduced by 21% and gingivitis by 11%. Also, oscillating electric toothbrushes seem to work better than just vibrating toothbrushes. [2]

Also, if you have sensitive teeth, it is also important to choose an appropriate toothpaste in addition to picking the right toothbrush. Find out more in our guide to Choosing the Best Toothpaste for Sensitive Teeth.

Best for People with Limited Mobility

When you use an electric toothbrush, it will do most of the work for you. Therefore, they can be very helpful for people with limited mobility, such as those with arthritis, carpal tunnel, and developmental disabilities.

Built-In Timers

There are electric toothbrushes that feature built-in timers. These can help you brush your teeth long enough to remove plaque from your teeth and gums sufficiently.

May Cause Less Waste

In electric toothbrushes, the only thing that you have to replace is the head. Therefore, it is less wasteful compared to throwing away a full manual toothbrush. But if you are using a single-use electric toothbrush, you still need to throw it away completely when it is time to replace it.

Oral Health Improvement in People with Orthodontic Appliances

Based on a study, electric toothbrushes were particularly helpful for people with orthodontic appliances like braces, as they made brushing easier for them. Therefore, if you find it challenging to brush your teeth while having orthodontic therapy, using an electric toothbrush may help improve your oral health. [2]

Fun for Kids

Not all kids are interested when it comes to brushing their teeth. Therefore, letting them use an electric toothbrush may make it more engaging for them. It can help them accomplish good oral cleaning and set healthy habits.

Cons of Using Electric Toothbrushes

an electric toothbrush with extra brush head

While an electric toothbrush has a lot of benefits, there are also some drawbacks that you need to learn about to help you decide whether you should get one or not. Below are the cons of using electric toothbrushes: [3]

Increased Cost

Compared to manual toothbrushes, electric ones are more expensive. They may be priced anywhere from $15 to $250 or even more per toothbrush. Some may need battery replacements, which is an additional cost.


While most electric toothbrushes will work for several days without being charged, you still need to bring along their charger, especially for longer trips. If you are visiting another country, the type of charger that the toothbrush uses may not be compatible with the type of electricity available in that particular country, which can be a problem.

Aren’t Easily Accessible

If you are traveling and you forget to pack your toothbrush, it is easy to run to any store to buy a new one. However, this is not the case when it comes to electric toothbrushes. It’s because they cost quite a bit, making them not as accessible as manual toothbrushes.

Difficult to Get Used To

If you have been using manual toothbrushes all your life, then you switched to using an electric toothbrush, the vibration from the brush may feel funny on your teeth. Most people get used to this, but some people can’t get used to it and choose to use a manual toothbrush again.

Challenging to Find Replacement Heads

The removable brush head that snaps or screws onto the base is what should be replaced every few months. Most manufacturers of electric toothbrushes make brushes and heads specific for each other. This means that you will not be able to purchase from anyone other than them. Therefore, replacement parts may cost more than ones that are easily available, and it is not always easy to find the specific replacement heads needed.


When it comes to cleaning your teeth, both electric and manual toothbrushes are effective. But for a lot of people, electric toothbrushes may make brushing easier, which results in better plaque removal. At the end of the day, it is still up to your personal preferences and needs on whether or not you should use an electric toothbrush. You may also want to talk with your dentist if you have questions about the best type of toothbrush that you should use. We hope this post helped you learn more about the pros and cons of using electric toothbrushes.

Brushing your teeth regularly helps in preventing toothaches. But in case you are already suffering from it, you may read our post on the Strongest Over-The-Counter Pain Medication for Toothaches for more information.


[1] James. (2022, May 31). How do electric toothbrushes work? Bella Bathrooms Blog. Retrieved March 4, 2023, from

[2] Norris, T. (2019, March 8). Electric toothbrush vs. manual toothbrush: Which is better? Healthline. Retrieved March 4, 2023, from

[3] Dr. Huynh. (2019, August 7). Are electric toothbrushes really better? Pros & Cons – Eastport Dental: Mesa. Top Rated Cosmetic & General Dentist in Mesa AZ 85203 | Eastport Dental. Retrieved March 4, 2023, from