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Dentists are split on benefits of electric toothbrushes

Yahoo! New Zealand Business

Dentists are breaking ranks over claims that electric toothbrushes are better than standard manual toothbrushes.

According to their website, the Oral-B electric toothbrush is "the brand more dentists and hygienists use," and are available in supermarkets from $39 to $100.

But a survey of independent dentists by the Herald on Sunday found unease about their profession's close relationship with dental product marketing companies.

Many of the dentists surveyed argued a manual toothbrush is quite capable of doing the same job of looking after your teeth as the more expensive electric version.

Auckland cosmetic dentist Clarence Tam told the Herald on Sunday "It's all the same. What is important is the technique you use."

Of the 30 dentists canvassed, 24 do recommend 'brands' to patients. But when asked 'is there a difference in quality of clean when using a manual toothbrush versus an electric one," opinion was evenly split with 15 agreeing and 15 disagreeing.

Oral-B could not be contacted about its advertising methods while the professional associations were coy about the subject.

New Zealand Dental Association executive director David Crum refused to comment on the claims.

While Gillian Tahi, president of the New Zealand Dental Therapists Association was unable to comment on the Herald on Sunday story due to 'sponsorship reasons.'

One dentist who wished to remain anonymous, expressed frustration that companies could make claims without asking most dentists what they recommend.