Evidence-base lacking for tooth brushing

The research, published in the British Dental Journal, highlights how the methods recommended by toothpaste companies differs from that recommended by dental associations.

The study looked at online material about toothbrushing from dental and healthcare associations, along with dental textbooks and research-based sources and the advice provided by manufacturers.

Results showed that there was a large diversity of recommendations on how to brush teeth.

The researchers, Dr J Wainwright and Professor A Sheiham, summarised by saying they: 'Feel very strongly that there is an urgent need for research into the effectiveness of brushing methods.

‘The evidence-base is lacking.’

The Modified Bass technique came out as the most commonly recommended technique, with the Bass technique coming in second and the Fones technique third.

Most of the advice suggested brushing teeth twice a day, but some suggested it should be three times a day.

When the length of time to brush teeth for was looked at, most sources advised brushing for two minutes, some for two to three minutes and a couple suggested three minutes of brushing.

Dr Nigel Carter, from the British Dental Health Foundation, told the BBC that there was little evidence for recommending one brushing technique over another.

‘Dentists generally feel it is better to take a person’s existing habits and modify them if necessary,’ he explained.

‘Even children have a preferred way of brushing their teeth, and dentists should point out the areas that are not being cleaned well, rather than teaching them a whole new technique.’

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