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J Clin Periodontol. 1996 Jul;23(7):641-8.

Comparison of a sonic and a manual toothbrush for efficacy in supragingival plaque removal and reduction of gingivitis.

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  • 1Department of Stomatology, University of California, San Francisco, USA.


A new sonic electric toothbrush (Sonicare) and a traditional manual toothbrush were compared for efficacy in removing supragingival plaque and reducing gingival inflammation in a 12-week, single-blind clinical trial. 60 subjects with a gingival index (GI) of > 1.5 and no probing depths > 5 mm were randomly assigned to use either the manual or sonic brush, instructed in its use, and asked to brush each morning and evening for 2 minutes. Plaque scores were taken at baseline and at 1, 2, 4, and 12 weeks using the Turesky modification of the Quigley-Hein plaque index. Gingival inflammation was assessed by the GI, bleeding tendency score, presence or absence of bleeding on probing, volumetric measurements of gingival crevicular fluid (GCF), and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) levels in GCF. Repeated measures multivariate analyses of variance were used to detect time- and device-dependent differences for all clinical assessments between the 2 groups over the 5 visits. Both types of brush were effective in removing supragingival plaque. The sonic brush was statistically superior, on a percentage reduction basis, in removing supragingival plaque from the dentition taken as a whole (F-statistic; p = 0.012) and was particularly better in hard-to-reach areas such as posterior teeth (F-statistic; p = 0.003) and interproximal sites (F-statistic; p = 0.004). Both devices were equally effective in reducing gingival inflammation. The sonic brush exhibited less tendency to cause gingival abrasion than the manual brush (1 incident with sonic, 5 incidents with manual), confirming the safety of this product as an oral hygiene device.

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