You brush three times a day, floss after every meal, and see your dentist twice yearly, but if you aren't using an electric toothbrush, you might be cheating yourself. A recent review of several studies shows that some electric toothbrushes might help reduce plaque by 11 percent and gingivitis by 17 percent over manual toothbrushes.
The review included 42 studies and 3,855 participants, which compared manual, electric and battery-powered toothbrushes with various types of bristle arrangements and motions. The review of the literature concluded that regular brushing with powered toothbrushes containing circular bristle heads that rotate in alternating directions were better at removing plaque and reducing the risk of gum disease than brushing with manual toothbrushes alone.
Although electric toothbrushes may help reduce incidences of plaque and gingivitis, the researchers emphasize the importance of regular brushing "whether the brush is manual or powered" and further indicate that "the results of this review do not indicate that toothbrushing is only worthwhile with a powered toothbrush."
Robinson P et al. Manual versus powered toothbrushing for oral health. The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2005, Issue 2.
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