Traditional Oral Hygiene vs. Electric Toothbrushes and Flossing Picks

Portrait of young woman flosses her teeth with dental floss

You’ve likely heard that good dental hygiene consists of brushing your teeth and flossing. You were taught from a young age to make flossing and brushing a part of your daily routine. Your dentist has given you some tidbits on how to keep enhance your at-home dental hygiene practices.

Oral hygiene has traditionally consisted of using a manual toothbrush and dental floss.

Today, there are additional dental care products available to make oral hygiene quicker and easier.

Some such products include electric toothbrushes and flossing picks.

Are these new dental products more effective? Not necessarily. It largely depends on how disciplines and well your dental hygiene technique is.

Here are the pros and cons of electric toothbrushes and dental picks to give you an idea what is best for you.

Electronic Toothbrushes

Electronic toothbrushes were first created and produced in Switzerland in 1954 to aiding dental patients who had limited motor skills and orthodontic patients with braces.  The electric toothbrush came to the U.S. in 1959. In 1992, the first supersonic electric toothbrush was created. Most electric toothbrushes today are ultrasonic.

Electric toothbrushes continue to be a great option for dental patients with limited motor skills and those with mobility issues (such as arthritis). They are also popular among young children and are effective in reducing children’s fears of the dentist as well as make dental hygiene fun.


There are a variety of electric toothbrushes available that feature different head sizes, head spinning speed, sound volume, head brushing power, time between recharging and available additional features such as Blu-Tooth connectivity and timer.

These brushes provide a more even cleaning and the timer option makes it easy for the user to brush the whole recommended 2 minutes.


Electronic toothbrushes are more expensive than manual ones. Their brush heads need replacing every three months like a manual toothbrush. The replacement heads are more expensive.

Being electric, they rely on battery power to operate. When the batteries in the brush quit and you don’t have any spare batteries, the toothbrush can only be used as a manual.

The plastic body (batter housing) of electric toothbrushes are not recyclable and fill-up landfills.

Against popular belief, studies have shown that the effectiveness of electric toothbrushes over traditional toothbrushes are not significant. In essence, you get the same quality cleaning as you would if you properly brushed with a manual toothbrush.

Dental Picks

Dental picks are Y shaped pieces of plastic with a short string of dental floss between the wide, top portion of the Y. The bottom of the Y is to be held and is usually pointed. The pick can be turned upside down and the pointed edge can loosen food stuck between teeth.


Dental picks are perfect for busy people always on the go. Their small size makes it easy for them to be put into a pocket or into a purse. Their small size also allows you to floss more discreetly.

These dental tools allow you to floss without the use of needing to wrap the floss around your fingers. Flossing, therefore is not as messy and you can more easily reach in between the back teeth.



Dental picks are more expensive than plain dental floss.

They are also made for one-time use, which means you’ll have to continuously buy package after package, going through them faster than a roll of dental floss.

Those concerned about the environment also will not like their one-time use as they are mostly made of plastic.

Modern dental care products have improved the effectiveness of oral hygiene in preventing cavities, and tooth and gum disease. They are, however, not for everyone.

Some patients do better with the traditional dental hygiene procedure of using a manual toothbrush and dental floss. These long-standing symbols of oral hygiene are very effective for some patients in maintaining their dental health.

Modern dental appliances and tools, however, are more effective dental hygiene tools for other patients.

Whether you use modern or traditional dental oral hygiene, your taking effective, proactive steps in maintaining your beautiful, natural smile.

Another important component of good oral hygiene is a twice-yearly professional teeth cleanings and examinations. To full protect your teeth and keep your beautiful smile for years to come, you need both at-home teeth cleaning and flossing and in-office cleaning and flossing.

Contact us today at Dental Horizons to schedule your bi-annual teeth cleaning and exam appointment.