A customized toothbrush with an enhanced hand grip and a modified brush head can help cerebral palsy patients improve their oral health, a study found.
Results of the three-week study,“Evaluation of the effectiveness of a custom-made toothbrush in maintaining oral hygiene and gingival health in cerebral palsy patients,” were published in the journal Special Care in Dentistry.
Poor coordination and muscular limitations resulting from an injured central nervous system are common features of cerebral palsy that make everyday tasks harder.
Oral health is important for communication, appearance, and performance. However, “it is the most unattended health need of special children,” researchers said. These patients often face an array of dental disorders, ranging from simple cavities to more serious oral diseases.
Difficulty in swallowing causes patients to drool, while a lack of well-coordinated movements renders them unable to perform efficient oral hygiene.
“Furthermore, antiepileptic drugs, especially phenytoin sodium, used in these patients to treat commonly occurring seizure attacks, can cause gingival overgrowth,” researchers said.
In the study, researchers compared the efficacy of custom-made toothbrushes with conventional toothbrushes.
The toothbrushes were customized with wax finger imprints on the handle (easier to grab and rotate) and a modified head (a soft reliner was added to facilitate oral muscle exercises).