Purpose: This study investigated the effect of toothbrush bristle stiffness and brushing force on the cleaning efficacy in vitro.
Keywords: bristle stiffness, brushing force, cleaning efficacy, toothbrush
Materials and Methods: Eighty bovine dentin samples were allocated to eight groups (n=10). Two custom-made toothbrushes of different bristle stiffness (soft and medium) were tested at four different brushing forces (1, 2, 3 and 4 N). Dentin samples were stained in black tea and brushed (60 strokes/min) for a total of 25 min in a brushing machine with an abrasive solution (RDA 67). Photographs were taken after 2 and 25 min of brushing time. Cleaning efficacy was measured planimetrically.
Results: After 2 min of brushing, the soft-bristle toothbrush did not cause statistically significantly different cleaning efficacy at different brushing forces, while the medium-bristle toothbrush cleaned statistically significantly less efficaceously only at 1 N. Comparing the two different toothbrushes, higher cleaning efficacy was observed only at 1 N for the soft-bristle brush. At 25 min brushing time, the soft-bristle cleaned statistically significantly better at 4 N compared to 1 N and 2 N and at 3 N compared to 1 N. Using the medium-bristle, cleaning efficacy increased with increasing brushing force. After 25 min of brushing, no statistically significant difference was observed between the two different toothbrushes.
Conclusion: Irrespective the brushing force, the use of a soft or medium toothbrush results in comparable cleaning efficacy. At 2 min brushing time, increasing the brushing force does not increase the cleaning efficacy.