Is a Manual or a Powered Toothbrush Better
to Remove Plaque?
In recognition of National Dental Hygiene Month, we are celebrating our 2 hygienists, Renee and Michelle. Both of our talented hygienists are an integral part of our dental health care team and work alongside our dental specialists, Drs. Vince Prestipino and Tassos Sfondouris. Both of our hygienists have been with our practice for a combined 45 years!
Our hygienists assist the doctors at PDG, by maintaining the health of our patient’s mouths by using cutting edge instruments and techniques to reduce the bacterial biofilm (plaque) that build up on our teeth and provide tailored oral hygiene education to our patients that match their unique challenges. As such, our practice does not exist without the support of our talented hygienists who promote, health comfort and function. Additionally, patients seek treatment by our hygienists because of their gentle touch.
In keeping with the theme of hygiene, our hygienists and doctors are frequently asked whether it is better to brush with a powered or a manual toothbrush. There are numerous types of powered toothbrushes on the market that range in price and mode of action. Different powered toothbrushes work in different ways (such as moving from side to side or in a circular motion). It is important to know whether powered toothbrushes are more effective at removing plaque than manual toothbrushes, and whether their use reduces the inflammation of the gums (gingivitis) and prevents or slows the progression of periodontal disease.
A 2014 systematic review evaluated whether a manual or a powered toothbrush was more effective in reducing plaque. The systematic review only included adult randomized clinical studies. The evidence shows benefits in using a powered toothbrush when compared with a manual toothbrush. There was an 11% reduction in plaque at 1-3 months of use, and a 21% reduction in plaque when assessed after three months of use.
Based upon the results of this systematic review, a powered tooth brush was more effective in reducing plaque compared to a manual toothbrush. Due to many different types of powered toothbrushes included in the study, one cannot make a definitive statement as to which powered toothbrush is better. Rather if used properly, a powered toothbrush can be more effective compared to a manual toothbrush.
Information about the Author: Dr. Tassos Sfondouris is a board certified periodontist and a former clinical assistant professor at the University of Maryland, School of Dentistry. I am passionate about periodontal and restorative procedures therapies that promote the health, comfort, and function of our teeth. I welcome your comments and suggestions and encourage you to like me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter to get the latest unbiased information on dental health topics.
1. Yaacob M, Worthington HV, Deacon SA, Deery C, Walmsley AD, Robinson PG, Glenny AM. Powered versus manual toothbrushing for oral health. Cochrane Database Systematic Rev. 2014 Jun 17;(6)