Powered toothbrushes (PTB) have been available since the 1960s and Cochrane reviews have shown that powered toothbrushes with a rotation oscillation action reduce plaque and gingivitis more than manual toothbrushing (MTB). The main focus of these review has been their effectiveness rather than the safety of these brushes. Van der Weijden et al undertook a review if the safety of oscillating-rotating PTB in 2011 and this has now been critically summarised by the American Dental Association Center for Evidence-Based Dentistry.
The summary notes that that the review was based on a well designed search, quality assessment of the studies and inclusion of all but the lowest levels of evidence. the evidence was very heterogeneous. Given the scientific challenge of proving a negative this comprehensive review finds no evidence that PTB cause harm to the hard or soft tissues of the mouth.
Van der Weijden FA, Campbell SL, Dörfer CE, González-Cabezas C, Slot DE. Safety of oscillating-rotating powered brushes compared to manual toothbrushes: a systematic review. J Periodontol. 2011 Jan;82(1):5-24. Epub 2010 Sep 10. Review. PubMed PMID: 20831367.
Funding:- the Van der Weijden review was part funded by Procter and Gamble
Related Cochrane Reviews
Robinson P, Deacon SA, Deery C, Heanue M, Walmsley AD, Worthington HV, Glenny AM, Shaw BC. Manual versus powered toothbrushing for oral health. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2005, Issue 2. Art. No.: CD002281. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD002281.pub2.
Deacon SA, Glenny AM, Deery C, Robinson PG, Heanue M, Walmsley AD, Shaw WC. Different powered toothbrushes for plaque control and gingival health. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2010, Issue 12. Art. No.: CD004971. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD004971.pub2.