Toothbrush Targets People With Special Needs

Dentistry Today


Maxine Strickland, DMD, of the Rutgers School of Dental Medicine has received $50,000 from the National Science Foundation to continue developing a toothbrush for children and people with special needs.

The new funding allows Strickland, an associate professor in the Department of Diagnostic Sciences, to expand the design of the toothbrush, which is the prototype development phase.

Last year, Strickland received $95,000 from Rutgers University Teach Advance to work with New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) designers to begin work on the project.

Although she was initially inspired to create the toothbrush, which suctions water during use, for patients with disabilities, it also can be effective for children, the elderly, and even astronauts, Strickland said.

“We noted recently that astronauts may find it useful since all liquids are evacuated and contained,” she said.

Strickland saw a need for the toothbrush after volunteering at the Matheny School for the Developmentally Disabled in Peapack-Gladstone, New Jersey, where many patients had trouble with oral health because they had difficulty swallowing, which caused them to aspirate during toothbrushing.

She is working on the prototype with Dr. Vivke Kumar and Kaytlyn Crowe of NJIT.

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