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Ergonomic toothbrush?

By William K. Wenger

(Ergonomic toothbrush) This toothbrush comes in both right-handed and left-handed versions. It is contoured to fit the hand and has a depression for the thumb. The idea is that since you probably hold your toothbrush with the preferred hand, why not contour it to make it comfortable to hold?

The problem with using this toothbrush is in holding it only one way. Ordinarily, people will re-position the toothbrush in their hand as they change from brushing one side of their mouth to the other, or in order to reach all the surfaces of their teeth. The user of this toothbrush faces a dilemma: do I rotate my grip on the handle and go against how the handle is shaped? For example, if the right-handed toothbrush is held as intended, it is difficult to brush the right side of the mouth. The wrist must be held at an awkward angle. If the handle is rotated in the hand, it no longer conforms to the contour of hand.

Another poorly designed feature of the toothbrush is that the brush is quite large compared to conventional toothbrushes. Maybe I have a small mouth, but I found it uncomfortable to use when brushing my molars. Did the developers consider the range in mouth sizes when designing this brush?

Design suggestion

The appeal of the toothbrush is that the handle is thicker than conventional ones and seems to offer a secure, form-fitting "ergonomic" grip. However, the contours constrain how the toothbrush is held. A better design would be a symmetrical handle that can be easily rotated in the hand and that can be used in either the right or left hand. Another improvement would be to offer several brush sizes and allow people to select the best size for their mouth.

Reader's comment

I've been using the toothbrush for years. It does not claim to be an ergonomic toothbrush. It is designed to increase the length of brushing and to direct the user to brush the gum line. It is much more comfortable to use than a standard toothbrush. -KR

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