For a long time, the choice between manual and powered brushes was mainly one of personal preference. Now, more evidence suggests that when it comes to breaking up oral biofilm (plaque), powered brushes may in fact be more effective.
The latest Cochrane Review on the matter was published this past summer. Analyzing 56 relevant trials, its authors found “moderate quality evidence” that powered devices are better for reducing both plaque and gingivitis (mild gum disease), both in the short and long term.
But why might this be?
As we’ve mentioned before, the high-speed pulsating and oscillating actions of sonic brushes especially make them much more able to thoroughly clean areas that are hard to clean well with a manual brush. More, they stimulate the soft tissues more effectively, acting as a deterrent against gum disease.
Additionally, most models give an indication after every 30 seconds of use. This makes it easier to remember to spend a full 2 minutes brushing: 30 seconds per quadrant.
Of course, manual brushes have their own virtues. For instance, many find them easier to angle for cleaning the inner arches. Also, cleaning the tongue can be more comfortable with a manual brush.
A good many of our patients use both, alternating between the two.
Either way, the best brush of all remains the one you use regularly and effectively.
Image by mgstanton, via Flickr