80% of Americans have some type of gum disease caused by a buildup of plaque along the gumline. Plaque is a sticky film containing bacteria. Plaque is the primary cause of gingivitis and can lead to periodontitis, a more serious gum disease. Plaque buildup can also lead to tooth decay.
A manual toothbrush can be effective, but few people use such brushes well enough or long enough to truly prevent cavities or gum disease. The vast majority of clinical trials have shown the benefits of using an electric toothbrush when compared with a manual toothbrush. There is a measurable reduction of plaque by 21 % and gingivitis by 11% in the short term.
Advantages of using an electric toothbrush include ease of use by all patients. Electric toothbrushes encourage patients to brush longer and most come equipped with a two minute timer. They are great for patients with orthodontics, persons with impaired dexterity, children and adolescents, and patients with hard to access areas such as dental implants and poor homecare. Electric toothbrushes have also been shown to deliver better stain removal and tooth whitening than manual brushes.