Limitations of Mechanical Brushing

Limitations of Mechanical Brushing

Although Dental Professionals routinely advise patients on good oral care habits, this advice is not always followed as it should be. Patients are often advised to brush for a certain length of time, however the patient's perception of the length of time spent brushing is not always accurate.1

Lack of brushing time naturally affects oral health. "The epidemiology of gingivitis and periodontal disease tells us that people do not brush well and, despite the widespread common knowledge that we should brush at least twice a day for two minutes, how many patients do?" 2
Dr A Roberts. The Dentist, 2008.

Compliance with brushing and flossing remains suboptimal

The British Dental Health Foundation UK survey from 2007 found that:
– 30% of people said they brushed for the required 2 minutes3
– 12% of people said they were brushing only 'a few times a week' or 'never'3

The British Dental Health Foundation UK survey from 2006 found that 40% of people admit to never flossing.4 Another study revealed that only 20% of patients regularly perform acceptable flossing.5

Re-Training Patients

Patients who have inadequate oral hygiene are frequently re-trained in correct brushing and flossing. Despite improvement, plaque may not be fully removed. The pictures show that even after brushing and flossing re-training, plaque remains.

Mechanical Cleaning Work

Mechanical cleaning with a toothbrush and floss/interdental cleaning is a mainstay of patient self-care and such techniques are the best way for a patient to remove plaque, and yet more than 60% of the population still has visible plaque.1


  1. Yankel SL et al. Patient perception of brushing time compared to actual care. J Dent Res 1981: 60: 619 (Abstr 1241).
  2. Roberts A. Patients' compliance. The Dentist December 2008: 44–46.
  3. British Dental Health Foundation press release, May 2007.
  4. British Dental Health Foundation press release, May 2006.
  5. Lang WP et al. The relation of preventive dental behaviors to periodontal health status. J Clin Periodont 1994; 21: 194–198.