Objective: Oral hygiene and oral health are major concerns for care-dependent elderly persons. The objective of this study was to examine the plaque removal efficacy of a novel experimental chewable toothbrush used by the subjects themselves.
Methodology: Fourteen subjects whose oral care was usually provided by caregivers in nursing facilities were enrolled in a two-phase, crossover study. The study was designed to evaluate plaque removal following a single brushing with either an experimental chewable toothbrush used by the subjects themselves, or a control manual toothbrush used by caregivers on the subjects. Plaque removal was assessed according to the plaque index of Silness and Löe.
Results: The overall plaque scores were significantly reduced from 2.14 +/- 0.53 to 1.23 +/- 0.39 using the experimental brush, and from 2.08 +/- 0.43 to 1.22 +/- 0.17 using the control brush (p < 0.05). Relative plaque reduction was 41.0 +/- 17.6% for the experimental brush group and 38.8 +/- 16.6% for the control brush group, with no significant difference between the two brushes (p = 0.84). On lingual tooth surfaces, the experimental brush showed a plaque reduction of 68.8 +/- 13.7% compared to 38.4 +/- 22.9% with the control brush, and the difference was statistically significant (p = 0.011). The chewable toothbrushes were harmless and acceptable to the subjects.
Conclusion: The experimental brush was able to remove a significant amount of plaque, particularly on the lingual surfaces, demonstrating its effectiveness for plaque removal when used by care-dependent elderly.