Using an electric toothbrush helps to prevent tooth loss, a new study has found.
According to German researchers, while electric toothbrushes have become increasingly popular in recent years, ‘few studies have tested their long-term effectiveness'.
They looked at almost 3,000 adults over an 11-year period. At the start of the study, 18% used an electric toothbrush and by the end of the 11 years, this had risen to 37%.
The study found that those who used an electric toothbrush experienced 20% less tooth loss compared to those who used a manual brush. The benefits were slightly better in those who brushed with their electric toothbrush at least twice a day.
The researchers noted that in a healthy mouth, gums fit tightly around teeth. However if a person has gum (periodontal) disease, this can cause the destruction of the bone surrounding the tooth. This leads to deeper pockets around the teeth, which can result in tooth loss.
The study found that using an electric toothbrush was linked with less pockets and better attachment of teeth to the gums and bone.
"Our study shows that electric toothbrushes are most beneficial in maintaining good oral health and are linked with slower progression of periodontal disease. People who already have relatively good oral health and minimal periodontal breakdown appear to profit the most from electric toothbrushing," commented the study's lead author, Dr Vinay Pitchika, of the University of Greifswald in Germany.
He pointed out that electric toothbrushes were much more effective as a preventive tool rather than when gum disease had already progressed.
He also acknowledged other studies which have found that electric toothbrushes help with plaque control in older people who may have reduced fine motor skills.
Details of these findings are published in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology.
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