Plaque removal by professional electric toothbrushing compared with professional polishing

J Clin Periodontol. 2004 Oct;31(10):903-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-051X.2004.00582.x.


Objectives: This parallel examiner blind study was designed to compare the results of professional brushing with an electric toothbrush (ETB, Braun Oral-B 3D Excel) to a professional polish session.

Material and methods: For this study, 90 non-dental students were selected. All received a single oral prophylaxis where plaque and calculus were removed and the teeth were polished so that all subjects started with equally clean teeth. Approximately 4 weeks later the subjects received a new appointment prior to which they were asked to abstain from oral hygiene procedures for at least 48 h. At baseline the examiner (M.P.) evaluated the amount of dental plaque (Sillness & Löe) at six surfaces of each tooth. Subsequently, in the absence of this examiner, the subject's teeth were brushed or polished by a dental hygienist (Y.I.J.). Three groups were formed; the subjects in Group 1 received 10 min of polishing with a rubber cup/point using dentifrice as abrasive paste, in Group 2 subjects were brushed for 2 min with an ETB and dentifrice by the hygienist and in Group 3 brushing for 10 min was performed with an ETB and dentifrice. Care was taken to call upon the examiner always >10 min after her leaving the room so that she was unaware of the treatment. Electric brushing was carried out carefully following the contour of the teeth and turning the brush head separately in the direction of the mesial and distal aspect of each tooth in each approximal space. After finishing with the brushing/polishing, the examiner re-evaluated the amount of remaining dental plaque.

Results: The baseline plaque levels in Groups 1-3 were 1.54, 1.62 and 1.55, respectively. The reduction in plaque scores in Group 1 was 94.8% (+/-4.0), for Group 2 94.2% (+/-4.7) and for Group 3 99.4% (+/-0.5). The results in Group 3 were significantly better than in Groups 1 and 2. Explorative analysis revealed that these differences were due to a higher plaque removal from the approximal surfaces and molars.

Conclusion: Two minutes of professional brushing with an ETB was as effective as 10 min of professional polishing. Whereas 10 min with an ETB was even more effective.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Dental Devices, Home Care*
  • Dental Plaque / therapy*
  • Dental Prophylaxis / instrumentation
  • Equipment Design
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Time Factors
  • Toothbrushing / instrumentation*