Purpose: This in-vitro study deals with the question of whether the wear and tear of the manual toothbrush over a simulated timeframe up to 24 months has an effect on its cleaning performance. The purpose was to find indications as to whether and when a toothbrush needs to be replaced based on its cleaning performance.
Keywords: cleaning, performance, toothbrush, wear and tear
Materials and Methods: Models equipped with artificial teeth (coated with titanium dioxide) were brushed in-vitro using a brushing machine with clamped manual toothbrushes. The machine carried out even, horizontal brush strokes (120 brush strokes/min) for 1 min with a constant contact pressure of 2.5 N. The percentage of the area of titanium dioxide removed from the buccal, mesial and distal surfaces of the artificial teeth corresponded to the cleaning performance. The manual toothbrushes were used on bovine roots to simulate the wear and tear after 2, 4, 6, 12, 18, 24 months of use. The cleaning performance was re-evaluated after each simulated timepoint of wear. In addition, the brushes were photographed after each cycle.
Results: An increase in the in-vitro cleaning performance of the toothbrush was observed up to 6 months of wear compared to the starting point. After that, the cleaning performance decreased somewhat, but always remained above the initial cleaning performance.
Conclusion: Based on the in-vitro cleaning performance after 24 months, the toothbrush would not have to be replaced. However, this in-vitro study cannot determine when a toothbrush should be replaced, because in-vivo it is also dependent on a variety of other factors such as fraying and microbial colonisation. Direct transfer of results from this study to everyday clinical practice is therefore difficult.