As a West Linn family dental provider, our staff at Roane Family Dental receives a lot of questions regarding patients’ oral health. The more patients know about the risks their oral health faces on a daily basis, the better able they are to protect the long-term health of their teeth and gums. If you have a question about the best practices for you and your family’s oral health, we encourage you to ask any member of our West Linn family dental staff during your next visit.
A question we hear commonly from patients is – Does using an electric toothbrush help to improve my oral health?
You have a lot of choices when it comes to your oral care, including whether to use a manual or electric toothbrush. Recently, a team of researchers examined the long-term effects of brushing using an oscillating-rotating power toothbrush versus a manual toothbrush on pre-existing gingival recession, or receding gums.
Electric Vs. Manual
To conduct their study, researchers gathered healthy participants with pre-existing gum recession in a controlled, single-blind group study. After randomizing the participants, 55 were asked to brush with a power toothbrush and 54 used a manual toothbrush for three years. Each study participant brushed twice a day for two minutes, and used a toothpaste containing fluoride.
Researchers also examined the current level of gum recession in each study participant prior to the three-year period. Researchers also determined the existing gum recession as the difference between pocket depths and clinical attachment loss. Soft and hard oral tissues were examined to assess safety as well.
The average gum recession did not significantly differ between the manual and electric toothbrush groups after 35 months, but it was significantly reduce from the recorded baseline from 2.35 mm to 1.90 mm among subject that used an electric brush and from 2.26 to 1.81 mm among participants that used a manual brush.
What these numbers show is that study participants that used an electric toothbrush were able to reduce the size of the gum recession pockets after using the brush for 3 years. Pockets refer to the gap that appears at the base of the tooth from where the gum line has receded. Gum recession pockets allow harmful bacteria to infiltrate the delicate roots of your teeth, eventually leading to decay and gum disease. By being able to reverse the size of these pockets, the study does suggest that using an electric toothbrush may help to reduce an individual’s long-term risk of gum disease and improve oral health.
Protecting Your Oral Health
Brushing and flossing rank as the most important daily habits you can perform to protect your oral health. No matter the type of brush you use, you need to brush at least twice a day and floss daily to enjoy the best oral health possible.
While the debate between a manual and electric brush remains undecided, electric brushes do have a few other advantages over manual brushes. Electric brushes are designed to use a correct brushing technique, which many users of manual brushes don’t. Many electric brushes also feature automatic shut offs if too much pressure is applied during brushing, which helps eliminate the risk of brushing too hard. Finally, many brands of electric brushes feature built in timers, so that you are guaranteed to brush for the right amount of time.
While your West Linn family dental provider at Roane family dental recommends using whatever type of brush you feel most comfortable with, the most important thing is that you keep brushing everyday. That’s the key to great looking, healthy teeth.