It’s all in the head

George Black explains why not all electric toothbrushes are the same

Toothbrushes, though not necessarily as we know them, have been around since time immemorial. From frayed twigs used by the ancient Egyptians to brushes carved from cattle bone topped with swine bristles in the late 18th century, toothbrush design has come a long way.

Natural animal bristles were the norm until the company Dupont de Nemours introduced nylon bristles in the 1930s, paving the way for simpler, cheaper, mass-produced toothbrushes, which we are all familiar with today.

Today’s vast range of manual and electric toothbrushes can make trying to select the most suitable one somewhat bewildering for the average person. Whilst in essence most toothbrushes, including electric, are still a plastic handle with a nylon brush head, the choice of curved, straight, angled, contoured handles, soft, medium, or hard bristles in a range of colours can make anyone wonder whether there is any significant difference between them.

Manual versus electric

Whilst a manual toothbrush can do a good job of cleaning teeth if used correctly, it can be difficult to adequately clean the most hard-to-reach areas of the mouth. The majority of research has shown that electric toothbrushes are generally much easier to use and do a far better job of clearing away plaque and keeping gums and soft tissues healthy.

The latest toothbrushes have effectively turned into the must-have ‘power’ toothbrushes featuring timers, different cleaning modes, pressure sensors and advanced brush heads based on oscillating, vibrating or ultrasonic technology – not to mention apps and Bluetooth connectivity.

Coming back down to basics, the fundamental job of the toothbrush is to remove plaque, a process essential for optimal oral health and preventing gum disease, and which is the responsibility of the toothbrush head. Brush heads come in all shapes and sizes, claiming to whiten, floss or give a more thorough clean, but in reality, they’re all pretty much the same – aren’t they?

Not just another toothbrush…

A toothbrush is now available with three brush head designs that sets it apart from the rest, and thanks to its patented microfilament design, has become the most effective brush in battling periodontitis.

The Rotadent Procare, which is not available in shops and only available through dental practices on prescription from a dentist (eliminating retail competition), boasts a brush head that contains 4,577 microfilaments. These proprietary bristles are one-third the width of traditional toothbrush bristles, giving access to areas a standard toothbrush might miss, such as below the gum line and between the teeth.

With 360° rotation and easy grip handle, the filaments remove 92% of plaque in the first minute (Preber et al, 1991).

Less force, more brush!

It’s well known that brushing too hard can damage the gums or abrade the enamel. Rotadent Procare has been shown to use less brushing force than other power toothbrushes (Boyd et al,1997), making it an ideal solution for those with veneers or extra-sensitive gum tissue.

It is safe to use on dental restorations, including crowns, fillings and bridges and has been proven to be a safe at-home oral hygiene aide on and around all implant surfaces (Thomson-Neal et al, 1989). For those undergoing orthodontic treatment, Rotadent Procare helps to minimise the problems of staining and decalcification and has also been proven to control gingivitis and plaque that can build up around braces.

Take the chalkboard challenge

Rotadent Procare is not just another toothbrush – it is a professionally recommended home care instrument for disease control, helping to protect and maintain all types of restorative and cosmetic dentistry. Extremely effective on plaque with its superfine microfilament bristles and head designs for accessing those hard-to-reach areas, Rotadent Procare has just made choosing a new toothbrush a whole lot easier.

Whichever toothbrush you’re using, or recommending to your patients, why not check out the results of our ‘chalkboard challenge’ at

References available on request.

Article originally published in Dentistry magazine [15 February 2018]