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What is a Finger Toothbrush?

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  • Written By: J. Airman
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 07 November 2016
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A finger toothbrush is a small set of soft cleaning bristles worn on the fingertip. Most finger toothbrush bristles are made of the pliable and easy-to-clean material silicone. Finger toothbrushes are often worn by people who are brushing teeth that are not their own to achieve maximum control and avoid causing tooth or gum injury. The finger toothbrush is fitted onto the finger of the user so the person is able to gently clean teeth and massage the gum line at angles that no rigid toothbrush would be able to achieve. Technicians in the health care and veterinary industry often use disposable finger toothbrushes to effectively clean the teeth of their patients without spreading infection.

Doctors and veterinarians often suggest that finger toothbrushes be used for home dental care of the assisted elderly, infants, and pets. When maneuvering a hand-held toothbrush inside the mouth of another, it can be difficult to avoid losing control and making contact with the tool in a way not intended. Battery-operated toothbrushes, rechargeable toothbrushes, or even small rigid children's toothbrushes have hard edges that can poke and scrape the soft surface of the gums. A finger toothbrush made from thicker silicone protects the finger of the wearer from those who have a tendency to bight down during cleanings. Finger toothbrushes are available for purchase in most pharmacies and pet supply stores.

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Using a finger toothbrush is a safe and easy-to-use alternative to traditional hand-held toothbrushes. The majority of finger toothbrushes are simply flexible silicone sheaths that are slid onto the end of the index finger and stop before the second joint. A brush must fit snugly onto the fingertip to make sure it will not come off during use and become a choking hazard. Some finger toothbrush bristles are built into latex gloves so the brush stays on and the wearer and individual receiving the cleaning are both protected from contamination. Once the finger brush is in place, the user simply applies gentle pressure with the bristles to clean the teeth and gums using a tight circular motion.

Upgraded finger toothbrush designs are two-sided to offer a secondary textured surface for gum massage. The finger toothbrush can be spun around on the finger on the desired side without the need to remove it completely. Some varieties of finger toothbrushes come with carrying cases and ultraviolet sanitizing lights to kill bacteria during storage.

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candyquilt
Post 4

@anamur-- In my opinion, a finger toothbrush cannot take the place of a regular toothbrush. I use a finger toothbrush only as a travel toothbrush because it is small and easy to carry. But it doesn't clean as well as a regular toothbrush. It's very difficult to reach to the back of the mouth with it.

I think a finger toothbrush is best for pets and babies because they can't brush their own teeth.

serenesurface
Post 3

Does anyone use a finger toothbrush in place of a regular toothbrush? Do you think a finger toothbrush works equally well?

ZipLine
Post 2

@anon170131-- It can be used and I'm sure it is being used by caretakers to clean the teeth of disabled patients or loved ones. I use one for my toddler and it works very well!

I'm not a healthcare professional, so you might want to advise a doctor or a nurse about this. But I would imagine that you can use a finger toothbrush for any disabled person who is non-violent and who is easy going.

Your finger will basically be in the person's mouth and some people might not like that. He or she might even bite your finger! So you need to be careful.

Also, a disabled person might swallow toothpaste, so use a small amount and maybe one formulated for children in case it is swallowed.

anon170131
Post 1

can the finger toothbrush be used for disabled people? if yes what type of disabled people can use it?

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