Send to

Choose Destination
Oral Health Prev Dent. 2004;2(2):119-24.

Interproximal plaque mass and fluoride retention after brushing and flossing--a comparative study of powered toothbrushing, manual toothbrushing and flossing.

Author information

Department of Cariology, Faculty of Odontology, Göteborg University, Göteborg, Sweden.



To determine differences in interproximal plaque mass and fluoride retention with different modes of toothbrushing and flossing.


Forty-seven subjects in good health used four treatments in a four-period, randomized, crossover design: 1) manual brushing only; 2) manual brushing and daily flossing; 3) electric brushing using a rotational oscillation toothbrush; and 4) electric brushing using a sonic toothbrush. Subjects used a standard sodium fluoride dentifrice during the eight-day experimental periods and a fluoride-free dentifrice during the seven-day washout periods between treatments. Interproximal plaque samples were taken on Day 1 and on Day 8, weighed, and analyzed for fluoride content.


The amount of interproximal plaque was lowest with sonic brushing, which left 43-65% less plaque than all other treatments. Manual brushing and flossing yielded less plaque than manual brushing alone and rotational oscillation brushing. Differences were statistically significant (p < 0.05) for treatment; there was no time effect on plaque mass. For fluoride retention, at Day 1 sonic brushing gave at least 54% more fluoride in the interproximal plaque than all other treatments, which was significant. All treatments demonstrated a significant increase in fluoride concentration with time except manual brushing and flossing, which showed a significant decrease. At Day 8, the fluoride concentration was significantly higher for sonic brushing than for manual brushing or rotational oscillation brushing by over 40%, and all treatments exhibited significantly greater fluoride than the manual brushing and flossing combination.


The mode of toothbrushing may impact the amount of plaque retained interproximally and its fluoride concentration.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center