Abstract

Aim

This systematic review was performed to establish the effect of a manual toothbrush with tapered toothbrush filaments (TFTBs) compared to a manual toothbrush with end-rounded toothbrush filaments (ERTB) on clinical parameters of dental plaque, gingivitis and gingival abrasion.

Materials and methods

MEDLINE-PubMed and Cochrane-CENTRAL databases were searched. The inclusion criteria were (randomized) controlled clinical trials, participants ≥18 years and papers evaluating the effect of a TFTB compared to an ERTB. Data were extracted for dental plaque index (PI), bleeding scores (BS), gingival index scores (GI) and gingival abrasion scores (GA). A descriptive analysis and a meta-analysis were performed when appropriate.

Results

An independent screening of 33 unique papers resulted in seven eligible publications, which included eight comparisons. Meta-analysis did not show a significant difference between TFTB and ERTB with respect to PI scores. The meta-analysis of the GI scores showed a significant mean difference in favour of the TFTB (DiffM=−0.12 [95% CI: −0.17; −0.07]). Of the three comparisons evaluating GA, no differences were found.

Conclusion

With respect to plaque removal, evidence that supports the recommendation for usage of a TFTB over an ERTB is lacking. Regarding GI, there is minimal evidence favouring a TFTB over an ERTB and the clinical relevance of this difference is probably negligible. Therefore, based on the collective evidence emerging from this systematic review, the strength and direction of the recommendation, there appears to be no firm evidence for a dental healthcare professional to advise the use of a TFTB over the use of an ERTB.

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