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Community Dental Services
There are a range of brushes that can help people with reduced dexterity who may find it difficult to hold and move a toothbrush.
An electric toothbrush usually has a thick handle and the movement of the bristles does most of the work for the user.
A thick handled brush, or one that is adapted (e.g. by placing a ball or foam over the end), can also make brushing easier.
Some specialised toothbrushes, like the ‘Collis Curve’ or ‘Dr Barman’s Super Brush’, can help a person with limited dexterity or a carer to brush the teeth as more surfaces are brushed at once.
If you wish, you may contact your dentist to discuss what options may be most suitable for your needs. Some options may incur a more significant cost than others.
Toothbrushes can either have a wider handle added or can come with a widened handle in place to make gripping easier.
Toothbrushes can have tennis/squash balls, insulation tubing, putty or handle bar grips adding to them to make the handles larger and the toothbrush longer.
Often have thicker, more chunky handles which are easier to grip. They are heavier than a manual toothbrush. The movement of the brush-head can help with finer cleaning movements.
A 3 headed toothbrush with angled bristles. Enables users to simultaneously clean all surfaces to the tooth and gum line
A 3 headed curved bristle toothbrush. Enables users to clean all surfaces of the tooth and gum. Available in various sizes including a chemotherapy soft brush, and brush for gum disease.
Some patients have the ability to brush their own teeth and may only require some modifications to their toothbrush. Here is some information on how to modify a toothbrush to make it more usable for those with reduced dexterity:
This can allow someone to hold and manipulate the brush themselves.
This can be done by:
To elongate the toothbrush, add some type of tubing to the bottom of the brush.
For those who are able to brush their own teeth, try an electric toothbrush. Not only does this make holding the brush easier, it also reduces the dexterity required.
For older children and adults with limited dexterity and unable to use a conventional toothbrush. It allows patients to brush over the tops of their teeth, while tilting the brush slightly to reach the inner and outer surfaces. The wider spaced bristles hold water which can help deliver moisture to patients with dry mouth.
The TePe Extra Grip will fit the handle of certain toothbrushes. It can help to give better control and enable the user to clean more effectively if they have specific problems in gripping more slender handles.
This can aid tooth brushing where gripping a toothbrush is not possible. The strap attaches to the hand and holds the toothbrush in place. An elastic band can also be used.
This can be done by:
Where there are difficulties dispensing toothpaste from a tube onto a toothbrush, these can assist.
Useful search engine terms:
Whilst some brands are specifically named in this leaflet, we do not endorse these brands. These are only suggestions and similar products may be used/ substituted.
Barnsley (New Street)
Telephone: 01226 645150
Doncaster (The Flying Scotsman Centre)
Telephone: 01302 563163
Rotherham (Rotherham Community Health Centre)
Telephone: 01709 423110
Produced by the Rotherham Community Dental Service. February 2022.
Version: 1.0. Next Revision Due: February 2024.
©The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust 2022. All rights reserved.