Toothbrushing and Its Effectiveness
Everybody knows that it is vital to brush the teeth at least twice a day, if not after every meal. Some of us use manual brushes, while others use electric ones. Most of us also know that regular check-ups and dental cleanings are crucial to maintaining the highest level of oral health, and that we can’t achieve this on our own at home. But how effective are our at-home routines, and could we be doing anything to increase its effectiveness?
A study was conducted in 2012 evaluating the efficacy of manual tooth brushes. Thousands of articles were reviewed for this study, and one hundred and twenty were chosen for closer examination. Of these one hundred and twenty, two hundred and twelve described brushing experiments that that met the including criteria. The average amount of plaque reduction calculated from these experiments was 30%, using the Quigley and Hein index. Using the Navy index, the number was 53%.
A sub-analysis was then conducted of various bristle designs, which showed manual tooth brushed with flat-rimmed bristle designs was the most frequently recommended brush, and remove less plaque than ones with multi-leveled bristles. However, based on an estimated weighted mean using the Navy Index, the most effective brush is one with angled bristles, which removes plaque 61% better than alternative options.
The two most important factors of efficacy were shown to be the duration of the brushing and the bristle design. Another sub-analysis indicated that the amount of plaque removal increased by 27% per each minute of brushing. Patients can benefit immensely by noting these findings and following specific instructions from their dentist.
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