| A US Marine brushes his teeth at a camp in southern Afghanistan. (AFP)
New York, Jan. 11 (Reuters): Use of a certain kind of power toothbrush each day could keep the dental hygienist at bay.
People who wake up in a cold sweat at the thought of dental assistants with sharp instruments hacking away at plaque on their teeth, or those simply interested in the most efficient method of daily dental care should use a power toothbrush with rotational/oscillation action, according to a new report.
The finding, announced at a symposium in Boston today, comes from the oral health wing of the Cochrane Collaboration, an international non-profit organisation that compiles and reviews data from healthcare studies.
Rotational oscillation toothbrushes — those that rotate in one direction and then the other — removed up to 11 per cent more plaque and reduced bleeding of the gums by up to 17 per cent more than manual or other power toothbrushes, according results compiled by the Manchester, England-based Cochrane Oral Health Group that analysed data from clinical trials conducted over 37 years.
The Cochrane study extracted data from reports on 29 clinical trials involving 2,547 participants in North America, Europe and Israel. Some of the trials dated back to 1964, while others contained data from as recently as 2001.
The trials compared the effectiveness of all forms of manual and six types of power toothbrushes with mechanically moving heads used over one-month and three-month periods.
According to the findings unveiled at the conference sponsored by the Forsyth Center for Evidence-Based Dentistry, only the rotational oscillation toothbrushes proved more effective than manual toothbrushes in reducing plaque and gingivitis. The results did not explain why the rotational oscillation toothbrushes were more effective than power toothbrushes with only circular or side-to-side motion.
While the study does not deal with long-term benefits to dental health, Richard Niederman, a periodontist and director of the Forsyth Center called it “a huge first step.” The next step, he said, would be a review of use of the toothbrushes over three or five years.