manual and power toothbrushesIt’s the debate that never ends: Is it better to clean your teeth with an electric brush or manual?

When we last checked in on the matter, there was some evidence that while some power brushes can be a little too abrasive, overall, they might be a bit better for removing biofilm and improving gum health.

Whoa, there! Not so fast! says new research in BMC Oral Health.

For the study, 55 college students who had brushed daily with a power brush and 60 who did so with a manual brush were asked to clean their teeth to the absolute best of their abilities using their brush of choice. Before and after, researchers checked their teeth for biofilm (plaque), as well as the overall health of their teeth and gums. Each student’s hygiene performance was videoed and analyzed.

The result? The type of toothbrush didn’t make a difference.

No advantage of daily powered toothbrushing as compared to daily manual toothbrushing was seen with respect to oral hygiene or clinical parameters. The capability to achieve oral cleanliness was low, irrespective of the type of toothbrush under consideration. Additional effort is thus needed to improve this capability.

We’d rephrase that last bit, though. It’s not about trying harder. It’s about brushing with the proper technique. Here’s how to clean effectively with a manual brush:

And here’s how it’s done with a power brush:

As ever, the best toothbrush remains the one you use both regularly and effectively.

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