Are Electric Toothbrushes Worth it?


Edina Suljic, Staff Writer

Nov 1. officially marks National Brush Day. Even though there are several types of brushes, the day was mainly about reinforcing healthy oral habits. Of course, it also focused on how long you should brush your teeth, how often you should brush your teeth, etc.

Speaking of brushing your teeth, the other day I was at Walmart looking for a new toothbrush. My sister has used an electric toothbrush for almost five years now and she claims how it is the best thing ever. So I was pretty set on buying an electric toothbrush.

The beautiful, sleek Philips Sonicare DiamondClean Smart 9300 Electric Toothbrush caught my eye. Even its name sounds fancy. My inner shopaholic was like I have to get this. Then I checked the price tag. $199.97. For a toothbrush. I ended up buying a cheap, manual toothbrush instead.

I have never had an electric toothbrush (mostly because I have better things to buy like shoes).  So is a three-digit figure for a toothbrush excessive? Is it worth paying that much for a toothbrush?

Most electric toothbrushes are equipped with luxury features that manual toothbrushes do not. “The electric toothbrush that I had, it really helped with how long you brush your teeth because it had a timer on it and with manual toothbrushes you just kinda guess. [A] manual toothbrush doesn’t spin in a circle,” Kathryn Walker ‘23 said. 

But there are multiple other features such as Bluetooth, sensors and lights that tell you if you are brushing too hard or just right, several different types of modes and intensities for brushing, etc. The purpose of the features is to assist in brushing and make it as easy and enjoyable of a process as possible. 

Speaking of which, electric toothbrushes can help a wide variety of people with brushing. According to Dynamic Dental Inc, “Electric toothbrushes make it easier to brush your teeth. If you have a dexterity issue or arthritis, you may not be able to brush effectively enough, which can eventually cause cavities, tooth decay, and gum disease. Electric toothbrushes make the process of brushing quite easy: you just turn it on, hold it against your teeth, and it does the job for you.” 

They can also help children develop healthy habits from a young age. As mentioned in The Elmwood Dental Group, “Smaller electric toothbrushes designed for children can be more fun for children, providing them with the motivation they need to brush their teeth.” 

Electric toothbrushes are effective at deep cleaning your teeth, which in the long run, could help improve your gum health. According to Carmel Dental Associates, “Another great benefit of an electronic toothbrush is the way it can gently scrub along the gumline to prevent gum disease and gingivitis. The vibrations can also help to loosen up tartar and plaque that builds up under the gum line before it hardens and turns to calculus, which is more difficult to remove.” 

For those who have braces, electric toothbrushes tend to clean teeth better than manual ones, hence why many people who have braces brush with them. “They really help with when you have braces. They really help get the food out of your braces and really make sure they’re extra clean, even in the places you can’t reach with a manual toothbrush,” Walker said. 

But there are several downsides of these toothbrushes as well. First, there is having to charge the battery, which takes a pretty long time to fully charge. This is very inconvenient for those who are busy and/or forgetful, which is, to be honest, most of us. And there are also instances where there is no electricity, like during power outages, so you cannot charge it even if you wanted to.

When I was searching for a new toothbrush, I scanned all the electric ones and saw that they were all large in size. That can serve as a deal-breaker, especially for all of you who are constantly out and about, because it is not very portable.

While I am on a roll here, let me not forget to mention that they are much heavier than manual ones. You might be thinking about why this might be a problem. Let me tell you. When you go to brush your teeth at night and the electric toothbrush ends up falling to the ground, it makes such a loud thump that your parents wake up and find out that you have been up until 3 am on a school night. Trust me, this has happened to me way too many times because I keep on knocking over my sisters toothbrush that is sitting on the bathroom counter. You can also blame its large size for that problem, but it could just be my clumsiness that is the real problem here.

And of course, there is the money component. You cannot forget about this one. Many electric toothbrushes are pricey. But in addition to that, it is recommended that the toothbrush heads should be replaced every three months. And they, too, are not the cheapest.

If you are able and willing to pay the price, then I think electric toothbrushes are definitely worth it. For those of you who are forgetful, lazy, or even clumsy (like me), think well before making a decision!

However, electric toothbrushes are not necessary; you can still achieve a bright and healthy smile without it! It is more important to take good care of your teeth and stay away from things that can damage them, rather than splurging on a toothbrush. And manual toothbrushes can still get the job done of cleaning your teeth.

Electric toothbrushes vary in quality and price. Before taking the leap and investing in an electric toothbrush, it would be beneficial for you to figure out which type would serve you the best. Talk to your dentist and/or read customer reviews. Try not to base your decisions off of the toothbrush descriptions from the brand since they rarely ever mention the negatives things about their products.