Power Up Your Pout
Updated: Apr 25, 2020
Last week German researchers gave us some definitive advice about the recommendation of electric tooth brushing. For years, all we have been able to say is that manual tooth brushing with the correct guidance can perform just as well as electric tooth brushes, but in some circumstances electric tooth brushes can compensate for a poor technique.
They have become more and more popular, but there have been no really good scientific studies that help us to justify them. Anecdotally patients love them, but we had little science to back up there use and our recommendation.
The German research group led by Dr Vinay Pitchika, of the University of Greifswald (pictured below) analysed 3000 patients over an 11 year period, at the beginning only 18% of the patients used an electric toothbrush, and by the end of the study 37% of patients were using them.
We know that in order for a mouth to be described as healthy then the gum must be tight against the tooth, with no pockets or gaps caused by gum disease. If a person develops gum disease, the gum and bone become irritated and shrink away from the tooth and pockets form between the gum and tooth speeding up tooth loss by creating traps that can't be cleaned by tooth brushing alone.
The people in this study who were using electric toothbrushes had less pockets, and therefore classified as having less gum disease, less risk of disease and a healthier mouth. Dr. Pitchika commented that "Our study shows that electric toothbrushes are most beneficial in maintaining good oral health and are linked with slower progression of periodontal disease. People who already have relatively good oral health and minimal periodontal breakdown appear to profit the most from electric toothbrushing,"
They acknowledge that older populations would also likely benefit from their use as their fine motor skills deteriorate, but the study hasn't looked at this.
The study for the first time shows us that with a large group of people over a long period of time, electric tooth brushing significantly out performed tooth brushing with a manual brush.
Currently in Boots they have two types of electric toothbrush with significant discount, a basic toothbrush (Pro 2 2000)at €49.99 down from €99.99 and the high end Oral-B Pro 6500 at €129.99 down from €259.99