Dental :: Most electric brushes no better than manual toothbrushes

A review of 42 trials has shown that in most cases manual toothbrushes remove as much plaque as their expensive electronic counterparts, and protect just as well against inflamed gums. In fact, the only type of electric toothbrush more effective than a manual brush is that with a rotating-oscillating head.

The review, led by Professor Peter Robinson of the University of Sheffield, found that only brushes with circular heads that move a quarter turn in one direction and then back a quarter turn, clean better than a traditional toothbrush.

These results show that many people may be wasting money on toothbrushes they believe will clean their teeth better, when actually a much cheaper traditional brush would do the job just as well. For the best possible cleaning performance consumers should opt for an electric brush with a rotating-oscillating head.

Sales of electric toothbrushes are rising in the UK. In 1999 they accounted for two per cent of all sales, and by 2001 this figure had increased to seven per cent. There are a range of different types of electric toothbrushes available – including those that move bristles with ultrasound, and those where the head either moves side to side or round and round, as well as those with rotating oscillating heads.

Professor Robinson explains, “People with electric toothbrushes that don’t have rotating-oscillating heads shouldn’t worry, as it won’t be doing them any harm. However, if they bought an electric toothbrush to get their teeth as clean as possible then it is worth investing in a brush with a rotating-oscillating head.

“Toothbrush choice is as much about personal preference as anything else, and people tend to take affordability, availability and professional recommendation into account. However, it is important that consumers know how well their toothbrush will work before making a choice.”

Leave a Comment