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STUDY: One electric toothbrush tops study
JOURNAL: Cochrane Collaboration’s Oral Health report
AUTHORS: William Shaw
ABSTRACT: Only one type of electric toothbrush clearly does a better job of cleaning teeth than the old-fashioned manual kind, according to the first comprehensive attempt to evaluate the devices used by an estimated 55 million Americans.
COMMENTARY: ELECTRIC BRUSHES with bristles that spin in both directions are the sole kind offering sufficient proof of any advantage over regular toothbrushes, according to the report from the Cochrane Collaboration, an independent nonprofit group based in Oxford, England, that evaluates medical practices.
“The others were not worse, but they were just not any better” than manual brushes, said William Shaw, a professor of orthodontics at the University of Manchester in England, who helped coordinate the report of the Cochrane Collaboration’s Oral Health report.
To evaluate electric toothbrushes, six reviewers combed through every published study on the devices and asked manufacturers for any unpublished results they had. The team then combined 29 studies it considered to be well designed, yielding data involving 2,547 people in North America, Europe and Israel.
BRAUN ORAL-B TOPS STUDY
Of five types of brushes examined, only the “rotational oscillation” design of the Braun Oral-B device was clearly more effective than manual toothbrushes, the researchers concluded. Compared to manual brushes, that design removed about 11 percent more of the build-up on teeth known as plaque, and reduced by about 17 percent the development of gum disease, or gingivitis. None of the other brushes evaluated — the Philips Sonicare, the Interplak, the Teledyne Aqua Tech, the Ultrasonex, the Rowenta Dentiphant and the Rowenta Plaque Dentacontrol Plus — performed better than manual brushes, Shaw said. Michele Szynal, a spokeswoman for Gillette Co., which makes the Braun Oral-B, said the company is “thrilled” by the findings. “This basically confirms four decades of our own research,” she said.
The Braun product is the choice of 41 percent of Americans who use electric toothbrushes, according to Gillette.