What is an Automatic Toothbrush?

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  • Written By: Anna T.
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 15 July 2019
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The automatic toothbrush may look similar to a regular toothbrush, but is typically battery operated or rechargeable. When the toothbrush is turned on, the head might either spin or vibrate rapidly, depending on the brand or type. Automatic toothbrushes typically come in either electric or sonic form. In general, these toothbrushes are supposed to clean the teeth more thoroughly than a manual toothbrush. The base of an average automatic toothbrush could last for a long time, but the head will normally require regular replacement.

Electric automatic toothbrushes generally have fewer strokes per minute than the sonic variety, with most brands not exceeding 7,500 strokes per minute. The bristles might either spin around or move backward and forward, requiring the user of the toothbrush to do nothing more than hold it in place over all areas of the teeth. Sonic toothbrushes normally have much faster brushing action at up to 40,000 strokes each minute. They have the same spinning and back and forth action as the electric toothbrushes, but with added vibration. This vibration is the reason sonic toothbrushes are able to do more strokes per minute than the electric type.


The first automatic toothbrush was invented in the 1950s by an inventor named Philippe-G. Woog. It was neither battery-operated nor rechargeable, and had to be plugged directly into an electrical outlet during use. In the 1960s, a much more popular cordless model was released by General Electric. Since then, the automatic toothbrush has grown in popularity and continued to evolve. Many people still prefer manual toothbrushes, but the automatic type is considered very beneficial for people with arthritis or any other disorders relating to the wrists and hands.

Some studies indicate that automatic toothbrushes may do a better job of cleaning the teeth and gums and eliminating germs inside the mouth than manual toothbrushes. When a manual brush is properly used, it can typically clean the teeth just as well as an automatic one. Many people who use manual toothbrushes, however, do not brush thoroughly enough to clean the teeth correctly, nor do they brush long enough to do a good job. Automatic toothbrushes may be a good investment for anyone who has problems using a manual brush correctly.

Automatic toothbrushes tend to be on the expensive side, and this is probably why many people don't buy them. A person who wants to get the same results from a manual brush that they would get from an automatic one should brush for at least two minutes each time. It is also recommended by dentists to clean the teeth at least twice each day using a soft-bristled toothbrush.



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