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    November 10, 2011

    Manual V Electric toothbrushes


    Manual Toothbrush compared with Electric toothbrushes

    Is there a significant difference between the plaque removal and hence healthier mouth with the use of an electric toothbrush?  A review of the literature and clinical appraisal.

    Summary of important points

    Healthy Adults

    1.     No great advantage of an electric toothbrush

    2.     The way you use the brush is much more significant i.e. along the gum line, new brush and how often you brush

    3.     Timers on electric toothbrushes help people to know for how long they are brushing. This can increase plaque removal.

    4.     Rotation/oscillation electric toothbrushes (Oral B 3000 or Triumph) are most effective because of their action and the small head

    5.     Change your toothbrush or brush head every 4 weeks!!

    Medically compromised or elderly adults

    1.     Any condition where there is a loss of dexterity (arthritis, Parkinson’s disease, spasticity, stroke, old age) electric toothbrushes can improve the amount of plaque removal.

    2.     Carers often find it easier to use an electric brush but it can often mean the brushing time is shorter which can often mean it is less effective

    3.     Use of adjuncts such as fluoride mouth rinses, GC mousse and high strength fluoride toothpastes are beneficial in reducing decay.


    1.     Small headed brush essential whether manual or electric

    2.     Timers can be good motivators for children

    3.     Battery powered brushes are generally just a motivator and do not increase plaque control.

    4.     Orthodontic patients have been shown to NOT benefit from electric toothbrush use and manual brushes are recommended.

    5.     3-year studies have shown no statistical significance in the caries incidence in children in relation to the brush that they use.


    ·      Small brush head

    ·      Change brush (manual or electric) every 4 weeks

    ·      How you are brushing is a very significant factor

    ·      How long you brush for is more significant

    ·      How often you brush is more significant

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