Electric Tooth Brushing Comes Clean

To Electric Brush or Not

A review of recent studies concluded that electric toothbrushes with circular bristle heads that rotate in alternating directions are better at removing plaque and reducing the risk of gum disease than ordinary manual toothbrushes.

Over the short term of one to three months, the rotating brushes reduced plaque by 11 percent over manual toothbrushes and reduced the signs of gingivitis, or gum inflammation, by six percent over the regular brushes, according to Peter Robinson of Sheffield University in Sheffield, England, and colleagues. The electric brushes reduced gingivitis by 17 percent over the manual brushes after more than three months’ use.

The researchers found no evidence that electric brushes of any kind caused more gum damage than manual brushes. Despite the better performance by the rotating electric brushes, the benefits of regular brushing “occur whether the brush is manual or electric, and the results of this review do not indicate that tooth brushing is only worthwhile with an electric toothbrush,” the researchers write.