Focused question: Based on evidence as presented in systematic reviews what is the efficacy and safety of available homecare toothbrush regimens for mechanical plaque removal on plaque and gingivitis in adults?
Material & methods: Three Internet sources were used (up to and including August 2014) to search for appropriate papers that satisfied the study purpose. Plaque scores and gingivitis scores were considered to be the primary parameter of interest. Safety was considered an important facet in relation to efficacy. Data and conclusions as presented in the selected papers were extracted. The potential risk of bias was estimated and the emerging evidence was graded.
Results: Independent screening of 176 unique reviews resulted in 10 published and eligible systematic reviews. They were categorized into one review evaluating the effect of an oral hygiene instruction with a toothbrush on plaque and gingivitis scores, five evaluating the efficacy of manual and power toothbrushes and three reviews evaluating toothbrush safety and one evaluating toothbrush contamination.
Conclusion: Tooth brushing is effective in reducing levels of dental plaque. With respect to gingivitis power toothbrushes have a benefit over manual toothbrushes. The greatest body of evidence was available for oscillating-rotating brushes. Tooth brushing generally can be considered safe for the teeth and their investing tissues.
Keywords: dental plaque; gingivitis; manual toothbrush; meta-review; power toothbrush; safety; systematic review; tooth brushing; toothbrush contamination.
© 2015 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.