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Electric toothbrushes, yes or no?

Yes… and no… it depends. It may not seem like a very professional introduction, and it definitely does not answer the question in the title, but it is the most accurate and assertive thing you can be on this topic. For decades, a large number of electric toothbrush options have been on the market, some are rotary, others are oscillatory, others massage, others have horizontal movements, some make several of these movements and others do them all and more, in their Advertisements are promoted as solutions to dental problems, such as plaque control, gum inflammation, cavity prevention, which are not achieved with manual toothbrushes, are faster and more comfortable. The reality is that everything is relative.


No brush, manual or electric, is efficient on its own, the type of bristles, the type of toothpaste, the brushing technique, the frequency, the type of patient, are definitely more important in the control of oral hygiene. The brush uses batteries or not. Definitely, if a patient suffers from any syndrome, disease or condition that limits their movements, an electric toothbrush will be more effective than a manual one. However, if a healthy patient without systemic complications uses the same electric toothbrush as the aforementioned patient, and If you do it with poor technique, with excessive force, or for less time than required “because advertising says it is faster”, you will end up causing more problems than solving or preventing them.


In a joint study by researchers from the United States, Canada and Germany, doctors Julie Grender, C. Ram Goyal, Jimmy Qaqish and Ralf Adam published in the International Dental Journal, in April 2020, compare the effect on plaque control and gingivitis in adult patients using manual and electric toothbrushes for 8 weeks, having control and maintaining very precise monitoring of brushing techniques, they concluded that electric toothbrushes are indeed more effective in plaque control and gingivitis than manual brushes from even the first brushing and continuing during the 8 weeks of the study; however, the difference, although noticeable, required constant monitoring, improvement, and supervision of the brushing techniques used in each group.


While in the control groups, where there was no monitoring of brushing techniques, there were no changes in plaque control or improvement in gingivitis in patients with manual brushes, while a significant increase in gum inflammation and bleeding was observed. when brushing in patients who used electric toothbrushes. Therefore, electric toothbrushes?... Yes, and no... it depends. Yes, they can work very well and help in specific cases, in specific patients with special conditions and in patients who closely follow the brushing techniques indicated by their treating dentist. No, in cases where patients do not follow the required brushing techniques, they brush for less time, or neglect their brushing habits, giving more confidence to the movements of the electric toothbrush than they should.


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