Tooth Brushes

Adapted handles or specialty grips can be custom made to meet the needs of individuals with reduced dexterity, or suffer from difficulty griping small objects. Everyday objects that can be placed over a toothbrush handle for easy holding include rubber bicycle grips or a tennis ball. Long handled toothbrushes are also available for those who are unable to fully bend their arms.


HTplus-electric-bushesAn electric toothbrush is a good alternative to a manual brush, especially if someone has physical limitations that affect their ability to brush. When used properly, certain electric toothbrushes are known to be more effective than manual brushes at removing plaque. Electric toothbrushes have higher speeds and motions that cannot be reproduced using a manual brush.

Make sure to read all instructions before use, as all electric toothbrushes are designed differently. Technique remains important, as improper brushing technique can irritate gums and be less effective.



  • Powered toothbrushes reduce plaque and gingivitis more than manual tooth brushing in the short and long term.
  • The evidence produced shows benefits in using a powered toothbrush when compared with a manual toothbrush. There was an 11% reduction in plaque at 1 to 3 months of use, and a 21% reduction in plaque when assessed after 3 months of use. For gingivitis, there was a 6% reduction at 1 to 3 months of use and an 11% reduction when assessed after 3 months of use. The benefits of this for long-term dental health are unclear.

Complete study results comparing manual vs. electric brushes are available here.

Collis Curve

A Collis Curve brush is specially designed so that the bristles are curved. These curved bristles surround the tooth when used properly. This is meant to allow both the inside and outside surfaces of the teeth to be brushed at the same time.

Children’s Toothbrushes

Child sized toothbrushes may be useful if you or the resident have trouble opening their mouth widely. Children’s toothbrushes have smaller heads and handles.

Suction Toothbrushes

These toothbrushes have a suction machine attached and allow the care provider to brush a resident’s teeth while the suction works to remove any debris or saliva as they brush. This is ideal for anyone who has trouble swallowing.

Content supplied by the Brushing Up on Mouth Care Program