Electric toothbrushes are repeatedly shown to remove more plaque and bacteria than their manual counterparts. Because they make up to hundreds and thousands more strokes than you would with a manual brush, they are much more efficient in cleaning teeth.
Brushing two teeth at a time, angle the brush toward the gumline at a 45-degree angle. Hold the brush gently against the gums for a few seconds, and then move to the next two teeth. Many brushes have built in timers to help you focus your attention on one quadrant of the mouth at a time, for a total brushing time of 2 minutes. These timers also increase compliancy of recommended brushing time, which is another reason why they improve oral hygiene.
Dentists don’t recommend electric toothbrushes just because they feel like it, they recommend them because they actually work. Some brushes remove up to 99% of plaque.
Remember, you’ll get what you pay for. Cheaper toothbrushes will tend to be more abrasive and make fewer strokes/movements. Quality toothbrushes like Sonicare or Oral B products will have more features like whitening, sensitivity mode and gum stimulation in addition to being extremely gentle and more effective.
Electric toothbrushes are great for all ages. Some models feature changeable heads so that the base can be shared between family members. Patients with limited dexterity or appliances such as braces are wonderful candidates for electric toothbrushes. Adolescents and children also benefit from electric toothbrushes, because they are usually more likely to spend less time and dedication brushing their teeth.
Parizi MT, Mohammadi TM, Afshar SK, Hajizamani A, Tayebi M.; Efficacy of an electric toothbrush on plaque control compared to two manual toothbrushes; Int Dent J. 2011 Jun;61(3):131-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1875-595X.2011.00029.x.