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Ortho 101 for the Dental Professional

Course Number: 413

Manual Toothbrushes

When it comes to tooth brushing several studies have evaluated the efficacy of manual and power toothbrushes. They have been compared against each other in a variety of ways. When comparing conventional and orthodontic manual toothbrushes, studies have shown there is a difference in the effectiveness of plaque removal and gingival bleeding dependent upon the configuration of the bristles. Typically, orthodontic toothbrushes have central bristles set at a lower height than the outermost bristles. This arrangement allows space for the protrusion of the bracket and the outer bristles of the toothbrush to reach the tooth around the bracket. Utilizing an orthodontic toothbrush decreases the amount of visible plaque around the bracket and also decreases the amount of gingival bleeding. However, the study also suggested that the oral hygiene improved from baseline data with both the conventional and orthodontic manual toothbrushes due to the study groups increased awareness of the importance of good oral hygiene.9 Therefore, the demonstration of a modified tooth brushing technique is important to all orthodontic patients and cannot be underestimated.