A question as old as, well, the electric toothbrush – which toothbrush works better? Since the electric toothbrush’s introduction to the US in 1960, it’s been debated if these bulkier, buzzier brushes do a better job than manual brushes. The claim is that the electric toothbrush can compensate for anyone’s poor brushing technique, making it more effective than a standard toothbrush, which is dependent of brushing technique.

There have been numerous studies that show the electric toothbrush performs slightly better than the manual toothbrush. One study showed a reduction of 5% build up of plaque and gingival inflammation after three months of using an electric toothbrush compared to a manual brush. Though, many independent studies find most electric brushes to be no more effective than manual toothbrushes, assuming proper brushing techniques are used. It’s tough to determine a clear winner in the battle of better cleaning.

However, in the assessment between electric toothbrushes, there is a clear winner. A 12-week clinical comparison between an oscillating-rotating electric toothbrush versus a sonic toothbrush showed that the oscillating toothbrush produced superior results in reductions of plaque and gingivitis. Meaning, the most effective electric toothbrush is one with an oscillating-rotating head.

In the end, the key to a healthy smile may not lie in the choice of toothbrush, but the user’s personal preference. Whichever toothbrush is likely to make you brush more is actually the best choice. The frequency and thoroughness of brushing has a significant effect on oral health and if one type of toothbrush excites you more than another, use it! With the variety of brush styles and bristles, and even electric brushes with Bluetooth, there’s bound to be the perfect toothbrush for everyone.