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Research Supporting Your Practice

Electric Toothbrushes Outperform Manual Brushes in 11-year Study

Following an 11-year longitudinal study on the effectiveness of powered toothbrushes (PTB), scientists at the University of Greifswald, Germany, have confirmed what dentists have long suspected: when it comes to reduced gum disease, reduced loss of clinical attachment, and tooth retention, powered toothbrushes are more effective than their manual counterparts (MTB).

Chief Executive of the Oral Health Foundation (OHF) in Britain, Dr Nigel Carter OBE, said in BOHF’s coverage of this study that: “Health experts have been speaking about the benefits of electric toothbrushes for many years. This latest piece of evidence is one of the strongest and clearest yet – electric toothbrushes are better for our oral health. Electric toothbrushes, especially those with heads that rotate in both directions, or ‘oscillating’ heads, are really effective at removing plaque. This helps keep tooth decay and gum disease at bay.”

Study Aims

This first-of-its-kind study sought to establish the longitudinal effects of PTB usage on:

  1. periodontal health in terms of mean probing depths (PD) and mean clinical attachment loss (CAL);
  2. coronal caries experience using decayed, missing and filled surfaces (DMFS) and decayed and filled surfaces (DFS) scores and;
  3. number of teeth present using 11‐year data from the representative population‐based cohort, Study of Health in Pomerania (SHIP).

Global Oral Health

Caries and periodontitis, typically due to an accumulation of bacterial plaque on teeth are responsible for approximately 60% of tooth loss globally. What’s more, caries and periodontitis are the most commonly occurring dental diseases worldwide.


The research team’s main findings suggest that over an 11-year period, PTBs:

  • Reduced the progression of mean probing depths (PD) and mean clinical attachment loss (CAL) in the study participants and;
  • as a result, participants retained more teeth over the course of the study.

It is worth noting that powered toothbrushes did not influence caries DFS progression even after classifying the subjects based on CDC/AAP definition.

Powered toothbrush seems to be an effective preventive tool in maintaining oral hygiene. Therefore, dental practitioners might recommend its usage. The Canadian Dental Association has validated the Oral-B Professional Care 5000 with Smart Guide Power Brush and the Oral-B Professional Care 3000 Power Brush to be recommended by dentists and used by the general public.

Access the articleLong‐term impact of powered toothbrush on oral health: 11‐year cohort study.


1 Comment

  1. Dr. Sheryl P. Lipton August 9, 2019

    Empirically, I agree with the statement that Electric Toothbrushes are more effective than manual brushes in removing plaque. I would love to see this study was financed in full or in part by Oral B.


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