electric vs manual toothbrush

Can electric toothbrushes remove more plaque?

The short answer is YES!

But how an electric toothbrush removes more plaque and what research has been conducted to prove that they remove more plaque?

As I stated at the top of this post, an electric toothbrush can remove more plaque and it has been clinically proven. Now I should state that when we say removing more plaque, this is in comparison to the use of a manual toothbrush. If a manual toothbrush is used correctly, it is perfectly adequate for brushing your teeth. But there are benefits to using an electric toothbrush and studies have confirmed that an electric toothbrush can remove more plaque than a manual brush.

electric vs manual toothbrush

Plaque is essentially the very reason that we brush our teeth. It’s essentially a buildup of bacteria that forms primarily around the gum line of the teeth. If we don’t remove it, this plaque can harden into something called tartar or calculus and in turn, this complicates our oral health and can lead to conditions such as gingivitis and gum disease that we want to avoid.

We know that to keep your mouth healthy, you need to brush and floss your teeth regularly. An electric toothbrush can help to keep your mouth healthy because it ultimately removes more plaque. It does only remove more plaque if you are indeed using the toothbrush correctly. It’s important to note that where you use an electric toothbrush is slightly different from the way that you would use a manual toothbrush. You can check this post that explains how to use an electric toothbrush correctly.

Many studies have looked into the efficacy of plaque removal by an electric toothbrush. But research group Cochrane has perhaps done the best independent research. They looked at data from several studies from 1964 through 2011. The independent analysis that Cochran carried out revealed that over 5,000 participants had taken part in these studies that they analyzed. The data clearly showed that electric toothbrushes removed more plaque. There was an 11% reduction in plaque at 1-2 months of use and a 21% reduction in plaque when assessed after 3 months of use. For gingivitis or the early stages of gum disease, there was a 6% reduction at 1-3 months of use. An 11 % reduction when assessed after 3 months of use.

More recent studies notably a very impressive 11-year study into electric toothbrush use found that 36.9% of the participants had less probing depth, which is a measure of overall gum and oral health. The 11-year study clearly showed that 36.9% of participants had better oral health after using an electric toothbrush.

Not all of these studies necessarily tally 100%. Different studies look at slightly different parameters and use different toothbrushes. So the results can vary. However, the consensus is based on the data that an electric toothbrush can remove more plaque. It does so because of how an electric toothbrush works. An electric toothbrush is powered by a motor so that you get a more consistent movement in the bristles at the brush head, which in turn means that the brushing is generally more effective for users like you and me and ultimately removes more plaque in the process. How you use your toothbrush will have a bearing on how effective it is.

You can still have perfectly healthy teeth and gums when using a manual toothbrush. But the increased movements and consistency of the movements in an electric toothbrush allow the electric toothbrush overall to perform better and improve your oral health. 

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