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A three year randomized study concludes that clinicians can safely prescribe either kind of toothbrush even for patients with pre-existing gingival recession. 
The study notes that tooth-brushing techniques, frequency, duration have been associated with gingival recession in observational studies and that there is ‘inconclusive evidence’ that gingival trauma from tooth-brushing results in recession or whether power brushes cause more soft-tissue trauma than manual brushes. 
This research, a three year randomized study of manual and power toothbrush effects on pre-existing gingival recession, was carried out by German researchers Christian E. Dorfer (University of Kiel) alongside Hans Jorg Syaehle and Diana Wolff (University of Heidelberg). 

It is a long-term, prospective, randomized, controlled clinical study whose aim is to examine the influence of tooth brushing  on subjects with pre-existing recessions. The study reported a significant reduction (nearly 0.5 mm) in gingival recession in both groups after 35 months and that the use of a power brush reduced the risk of change in gingival recession compared to the use of a manual brush. It suggests the daily regimen of two minutes’ brushing (with either kind of brush) ‘appears to have no adverse effect on pre-existing gingival recession’. 

The Study’s authors highlight various limitations of the research, including the ‘Hawthorne effect’, where participation in an investigation leads to behavioural changes, and the fact it was sponsored by Proctor & Gamble who are the owner of the Oral-B brand and provided the power brushes used. 

You can find a more detailed overview of the study by clicking the link below

Three-year randomised study of manual and power toothbrush effects on pre-existing gingival recession

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