The main objective of this study was to compare the effectiveness of a low cost toothbrush ("monoblock") to that of a conventional toothbrush with and without addition of dentifrice with respect to the removal of dental plaque. Thirty-two 4- to 6-year-old children took part in this study: they were evaluated under four experimental conditions defined by the combinations of the values of two factors, toothbrush (conventional or monoblock) and use of dentifrice (with or without). The effectiveness of the treatments was defined in terms of the reduction of a bacterial plaque index evaluated before and after toothbrushing. No statistically significant differences were detected between the two types of toothbrushes with respect to the reduction of the bacterial plaque index. Similarly, there were no statistical evidences that the use of dentifrice improves the mechanical control of dental plaque. These results are important from a public health point of view, specially in developing countries, where the dissemination of educational and preventive techniques of low cost are fundamental.