Battle of the brushes: Electric vs Manual Toothbrush

But who will win?
27 November 2018

Interview with 

Nick Williams, Devonshire House Dental Practice

Battle of the Toothbrushes

Using disclosing tablets


Chris Smith left intern Eva Higginbotham brushing away the dye from a disclosing tablet, something that highlights all the plaque that builds up on teeth between brushings. She used an electric toothbrush to clean one half of her mouth and a manual toothbrush for the other side. But which is better? Dentist Nick Williams helped explained the results...

Nick - First of all I can see Eva has done a very good job, certainly better than a lot of teenagers that I see, and the left side where you see electric toothbrush it's worked perfectly. That's lovely and clean. The right hand side with the manual brush is just a little bit of the red stain along the gum line still and a little bit between the teeth, which is where the electric toothbrush is more effective at getting rid of that.

Chris - Does that tend to be normally the sort of danger area then, it's along the gum line, which is where we characteristically miss with a manual brush.

Nick - Yeah absolutely Chris, that's the real danger area and that can then cause inflamed gums, bleeding gums that can actually cause gum disease, which is the other problem that can affect the teeth as well as tooth decay.

Chris - But, your verdict is the electric toothbrush is doing a better job?

Nick - Definitely. And with the two minute recommendation electric toothbrushes have a little timer, so you get that two minute warning and they’ll also have a pressure sensor to avoid using too much force. One of the drawbacks of mechanical or manual toothbrushing is causing gum recession and wear in the teeth away, so all those things are prevented ideally.

Eva - So that's great. I have a question in that I am 27 and I've still got a wisdom tooth coming in and causing me lots of problems. I thought that I'd be done with my wisdom teeth years ago, so why do wisdom teeth take so long to come in.

Nick - Yeah, that's a great question. We all would normally have a third set of molars, which are the wisdom teeth. They come through anywhere from sort of late teens, early 20s to late 20s. And I think just now there is often not a lot of room for them, they do cause problems. They used to be taken out a lot more than they are now and with those teeth being left in, we do tend to find more problems for sure.


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