Are electronic toothbrushes better? When I first started using an 'electric' toothbrush with an automated shut-off system, it surprise me how long it ran (about 2 minutes per use). I had gotten into the habit of brushing my teeth in 30 seconds or less during my morning rush to get to work. So when I asked my dentist if the electric ones were 'better' she told me it probably had a lot to do with how long one brushed.
However, a new research paper was release this month in Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dentistry, that studied this very question. Dental health is ultimately related to the plaque that builds up on your teeth. When there is excessive plaque build-up, there is increased risk for caries and inflammatory gingival and periodontal disease. Daily tooth brushing and using other oral hygiene aids is the best way to control plaque. The researchers compared overall plaque scores for manual vs. powered toothbrushing in a small randomized clinical trial. They concluded that "powered toothbrushes offer an individual the ability to brush the teeth in a way that is optimal in terms of removing plaque and improving gingival health, conferring good brushing technique on all who use them, irrespective of manual dexterity or training."