Evaluation of a Powered toothbrush new technology with saliva collection

B. Dasari, M. Strickland
Rutgers School of Dental Medicine,
United States

Keywords: Powered toothbrush, respiratory care, medical device


Background: An unstimulated whole saliva flow rate in a normal person is 0.3–0.4 ml per minute. Low unstimulated and stimulated whole saliva flow rate is claimed to be ≤0.1 ml/min and ≤0.7 ml/min respectively (1, 2). A novel toothbrush with evacuation may circumvent concerns of aspiration, infection, and risk for pneumonia in vulnerable populations who lack coordination/ability to efficiently brush without assistance. Objectives: To perform 3D printing of new designs for toothbrush heads. To make comparisons of different versions of the toothbrush for proof of concept, versions 2.0 and 3.0 will be compared. This technology-powered toothbrush with evacuation was funded by TechAdvance and the National Science Foundation I-Corps teams' program. The new technology includes an electric vacuum to allow for continuous suction, regardless of manual strength/dexterity, to help patients at risk for aspiration pneumonia. This oral care device self-contains water as it is removed from the mouth this can prove useful in a microgravity environment. We envision it to be used also as an on-the-field oral care device for the army navy and marines. Dr. Strickland the inventor, working with Rutgers Tech Transfer Office has filed a non-provisional patent in the US and Europe. Patent numbers are US 16/972,954 and EU 19814148.3. A second provisional has been filed in the US 63/402,670. Methods: A total of 20 patients were enrolled in a prospective study. Only healthy adult patients (ASA 1) 18 -70 years were included. Patients consented. Printing of the new toothbrush head design was done using a digital 3D printer at RSDM. Prototypes of the new toothbrush and technology for powered toothbrushing were compared in each group of 10 subjects. Each brush head differed from the others in terms of manufacturing, appearance, and fit to the powered device, as well as the waste compartment. Patients were asked to brush their teeth and to fill out a survey for ease of use. A 2-minute tooth brushing session occurred with the participant. Evacuated saliva was collected and measured. Results: Mann-Whitney U test was used to compare saliva between version 2.0 and 3.0 the median collected was 0.70±.036 and .80± 0.19 p=0.436 respectively. Chi-square/Fisher’s exact tests were used to determine if there was an association between the 2 versions of the toothbrush and the survey responses. There was no significant association found between using two different versions of toothbrushes and the responses to all survey questions (all p-value>0.05. However, 60% felt version 2.0 was too heavy vs. 20% for version 3.0 and 90% in both groups said they would most likely recommend this toothbrush to the intended user Conclusion: Continued prototyping of the new evacuation toothbrush is planned since the preliminary versions might be slightly bulky for some users. A larger sample size is needed to show differences in the amount of saliva collected when compared to the normal flow rate.