Study: Better oral health with electric toothbrushes
The use of electric toothbrushes protects against premature tooth loss. A German research team came to this conclusion in an eleven-year observational study. As a result, users of electric toothbrushes had an average of 20 percent less tooth loss than those who used conventional toothbrushes.
As part of a health study, researchers from the University of Greifswald accompanied 2,819 adults over a period of eleven years. Among other things, the effects of oral hygiene have been observed. As the team found, electric toothbrushes not only became popular during the study period, they were also associated with less tooth loss and reduced progression of periodontitis. The study was recently presented in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology.
Electric toothbrushes have become more popular
At the start of the study, only 18 percent of the participants used an electric toothbrush. Eleven years later, that share was 37 percent, more than twice as high. "Electric toothbrushes have become more popular in Germany in all age groups, but only a few studies have tested their long-term effectiveness," says study author Dr. Vinay Pitchika in a press release from the Greifswald University Medical Center.
Effective protection against tooth loss and periodontitis
The current study shows that electric toothbrushes are the most beneficial for maintaining good oral health. Above all, this can slow the progression of periodontitis and prevent premature tooth loss. The formation of so-called gum pockets, which occur in the course of periodontitis and make the tooth more and more unstable, was 22 percent slower for users of electric toothbrushes. On average, this group lost 0.4 teeth less in the eleven years of observation.
Common disease periodontitis
The Fifth German Oral Health Study by the Institute of German Dentists shows that more than half of middle-aged adults are affected by periodontitis. That is around five million people. Among the elderly, the proportion of those affected is two thirds. Many people are unaware of their periodontitis, which initially spreads slowly and painlessly over many years.
The early bird catches the worm
If periodontitis is too advanced, therapies often have little or no success. Electric toothbrushes can no longer help here either, as the current Greifswald study shows.
"If the participants were classified according to the severity of periodontitis, significant correlations between electric tooth brushing and less gum recession were only found in people with mild and moderate periodontitis," explains Dr. Pitchika. In participants with severe periodontitis, the connection between using an electric toothbrush and reduced tooth loss disappeared.
Those with reasonably good oral health benefit most
"People who already have a relatively good oral health and no or a minor periodontal disease benefit the most from the electric toothbrush," summarizes the dental expert. People with severe periodontitis should better seek professional treatment.
All toothbrushes have the same effect against tooth decay
The research team found no evidence that electric toothbrushes protect against tooth decay more effectively than conventional ones. "It can be assumed that fluoride in toothbrush creams plays a more important role in preventing tooth decay or reducing caries progression," emphasizes the specialist. (vb)