IADR 2017: How do value-brand sonic toothbrushes measure up?

2017 03 24 15 49 36 244 Iadr 2017 Logo 400

Numerous studies have shown that power or sonic toothbrushes are efficient at plaque removal compared with manual toothbrushes. However, these studies often use expensive brand-name brushes, which many consumers are unable to afford. A poster at the 2017 International Association for Dental Research (IADR) annual meeting described how value-brand toothbrushes performed as an alternative for plaque removal.

In their investigation, the researchers compared two value-brand sonic toothbrush heads with a manual toothbrush. They found that the value-brand sonic toothbrushes were as effective at plaque removal as an ADA-style 47-tuft manual toothbrush.

“The percentage plaque reduction measurements showed both affordable value-brand prototype sonic-powered toothbrush heads achieved high efficacy.”
— Kevin Yost and colleagues

"The percentage plaque reduction measurements showed both affordable value-brand prototype sonic-powered toothbrush heads achieved high efficacy, removing six times as much plaque as the ADA-style brush over the whole tooth and over 14 times as much plaque in the hard-to-reach areas between teeth," the researchers wrote.

Kevin Yost, senior director of product development for toothbrush manufacturer Ranir Global and a dental hygienist, presented the poster.

Plaque reduction tested

Well-known sonic or power toothbrushes from companies such as Philips Oral Healthcare and Oral-B have been shown to be effective at plaque removal in numerous studies. These devices, however, can cost hundreds of dollars, pricing them out of the reach of many consumers. As there are numerous lower-priced power toothbrushes on the market, the researchers decided to measure the effectiveness of these devices for plaque removal versus the use of a manual toothbrush.

Seventy-three patients participated in the study, all of whom had a Rustogi plaque index of at least 0.6 before brushing. They were randomly assigned to one of two groups, a value-brand sonic toothbrush group and an ADA-style manual toothbrush group (control group).

The patients brushed with the toothbrush for a week before plaque removal was measured. Colgate Cavity Protection toothpaste (Colgate-Palmolive) was used by all participants.

Those in the control group left the study after a week, while the test group continued after a week's intermission, using a second brand of sonic brush head. The results are shown in the table below.

Reductions in plaque and gingival margins using different toothbrushes
  Manual toothbrush (control group) 1st value-brand sonic toothbrush 2nd value-brand sonic toothbrush
Mean plaque reduction 0.051 ± 0.010 0.274 ± 0.10 0.273 ± 0.011
Percentage of reduction 5.9% 33.0% 33.7%
Gingival margin reductions 0.091 ± 0.017 0.404 ± 0.17 0.431 ± 0.019
Percentage of reduction 9.6% 44.7% 48.7%

Limitations of the investigation included the small number of participants and that it was a single-examiner study.

The authors concluded that value-brand toothbrushes were effective at plaque removal and gingival margin reduction, compared with ADA toothbrushes.

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