JADA: A study of the effectiveness of two types of toothbrushes for removal of oral accumulations

Synopsis: “This study evaluates the effectiveness of the Collis-curve toothbrush which has curved bristles in comparison with a controlled use of a straight bristle toothbrush in removing oral accumulations of plaque and debris and preventing gingivitis” (Shory 1).

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JADA: A study of the effectiveness of two types of toothbrushes for removal of oral accumulations

Bridgett Collis
Junior Executive of Marketing

 

This study, conducted under The Journal of the American Dental Association, evaluates the effectiveness of the Collis-Curve toothbrush which has curved bristles in comparison with a control usage of a straight bristle toothbrush in removing oral accumulations of plaque and debris and preventing gingivitis.
To promote oral cleanliness, it has been recommended to brush teeth and gingiva at home. The purpose of brushing is to remove oral accumulations of plaque and debris, thus preventing dental disease. The usefulness, efficiency, and cleanliness of the toothbrush is crucial to good oral hygiene. Several methods of tooth brushing have been recommended; no significant differences in cleaning efficiency have been found in studies of the Bass, Charter’s, scrub and roll, or modified roll techniques. Any method of brushing has shown to be ineffective in removing the proximal plaque. How well traditional brushing will remove dental plaque is greatly impacted by factors like proper instructions, supervision, manipulative skills of the person, and the problems of the dental patient.
The statistically significant improvement among students using the curved bristle brush would appear to be a direct result of the functional efficiency of the brush over that of the regular brush. The Collis Curve toothbrush, named after its creator Dr. George Collis, features a curved monofilament of .009-inch diameter bristles on the lateral aspects of the brush head and a short row of ½ inch long bristles in the center. The brush is reported to clean the interproximal and gingival sulcular areas more effectively than a straight bristled brush when used in a horizontal brushing method. The curved bristles “bunch up” as the toothbrush is moved horizontally along the occlusal surfaces of the teeth. The curvature of the bristles causes them to enter the interproximal and sulcular areas with a drawing and scaling action if used according to the Bass technique. Because of the softness of the curved bristles, any resistance theoretically causes the bristles to bend back on themselves and not puncture or otherwise injure the gingival tissues or cause as much tooth abrasion as a straight bristle brush.
A total of 578 children in middle school (grades 6, 7, and 8) were examined in 1984 and 1985. Children were examined at the same time of day for baseline and follow up examinations on their gingival and plaque index scores. Examiners calibrated their analysis of the children index scores to eliminate any differences in examination. 5 weeks after the baseline examinations were recorded, follow up examinations of the gingival index and plaque index were performed. 495 children were reexamined. 250 used the curved brush, 245 used the straight brush. During reexamination the examiner did not know which brush the child had used. Precautions were taken to prevent the examiner from accidentally discovering the type of brush given to the student.
The most improvement in gingival scores was seen among the students using the curved bristle brush. There was a rate of improvement of 65.35%, whereas the straight bristle brush had a rate of 36.64%. Plaque scores also improved in both groups, with those students using the curved bristle brushes showing most improvement. The plaque index score improvement rate was 62.99, whereas the straight bristle brush was 33.59%.
Based on the results obtained from this study, it appears that the use of the curved bristle brush significantly improves the condition of the gingiva and helps in removing dental plaque when used by children of middle school age.

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