Background: Removing dental plaque may play a key role in maintaining oral health. Methods for oral hygiene vary from country to country and from culture to culture. Chewing sticks (miswak) and toothpowders are popular oral hygiene tools in Pakistan.
Objective: To compare the plaque-removing efficacy of toothpaste and toothpowder with and without manual toothbrushes.
Materials and methods: The study was designed as an examiner-blind crossover study. The Silness and Löe plaque index was used to evaluate the plaque distribution. Thirty-six volunteer dental students were recruited for the experiment. After scoring, the subjects were randomly divided into two groups. The first group was asked to brush with toothpaste or toothpowder according to a split mouth protocol. The second group was asked to follow the same protocol except they were asked to use their finger instead of the brush. The remaining plaque was scored again.
Results: Plaque-removing efficacy of the toothpowder was higher whether it was used with brush or with finger. There was a significant difference between paste and powder users (p = 0.009).
Conclusion: The results of this study indicate that toothpowder is an effective means to remove plaque with a brush.