The practice of dentistry has changed significantly since its inception. Change is critical for progress. But despite our many advancements, the root causes of our problems remains the same: bacterial plaque and biofilm.
Also the same: Effective plaque removal is our primary weapon in the war against dental disease. Even in this day of technological advancements, the World Health Organization estimates 3.5 billion people are affected by oral health disease1, including periodontal disease and decay.
As professionals, we are knowledgeable at and well-equipped in emphasizing oral hygiene. The real challenge is to adequately convey the importance of disease prevention and present plaque removal options that patients can easily understand and sustain between visits. Patients need to know what we know, and have the skills needed to eliminate and prevent gingivitis.
Enter the Grïppi toothbrush. Launched in 2020, the Grïppi is a manual brush that simplifies and guides proper brushing technique, taking the guesswork out of proper angulation and bristle placement. Cofounder and fellow hygienist Michael Davidson, BSDH, RDH, explained, “It’s not specifically toothbrushes that are the problem, but how we are using them.”
Noting continued increase in periodontal disease and caries, he set out to create a toothbrush that simplified plaque removal for patients. The design delivers effective plaque removal between dental visits: a simple, yet revolutionary idea in the attack against plaque. When patients become partners and allies in disease prevention, we mitigate the progression of disease and create real change.
Proper placement of the Grïppi reinforces the Bass toothbrushing method, helping ensure effective plaque and biofilm removal along the gingival margin, and subgingivally. Studies have proved the Bass or sulcular technique, the only technique recommended by the ADA2, is most effective at plaque removal3. In addition, the Bass technique stimulates the gingiva to promote healing blood flow, and delivers fluoride to the tooth’s surface.
I recall the ongoing frustration and time spent standing at a mirror to help patients “see” when they’d adequately placed the bristles at a 45-degree angle to the gingival margin, only for them to return months later saying they couldn’t remember where or how to position the toothbrush. To solve this problem, there are visual indicators on the Grïppi’s ergonomic handle that ensure proper positioning while brushing at home. Through regular usage, patients are prompted to angle and position the toothbrush properly.
In terms of practicality and convenience, I instantly noted how comfortable and securely the Grïppi fit in my hand. Ergonomically speaking, it’s light and easy to grasp, making it non-taxing on weary joints. The angulation and dual height bristle placement ensures optimal contact,and effective plaque removal from all angles. The center row bristles are 3 mm longer than the adjacent lateral rows to effectively facilitate sulcular cleaning.
“This is about education and changing a behavior pattern that precipitates gum disease,” Davidson says. He’s committed to educating patients about the relationship between periodontal health and systemic disease—changing behaviors that promote negative health patterns, through encouraging good toothbrushing and oral health habits.
The Grïppi is another tool in our growing arsenal of weaponry used to promote oral and systemic wellness. Essentially, they enable patients to think and brush like an oral health professional.
While electric toothbrushes have grown in popularity, approximately 88%4 of the population still uses a manual toothbrush. Most cite cost as being a factor that keeps them from using an electric brush.
The Grïppi retails for less than $10 per unit for both pediatric and adult versions, making it cost-effective for most. Subscription service is available, and as an additional incentive, a newly implemented company policy includes professional incentives for sales promotion.
Change is good, and as a hygienist, I get excited about products that promote the best kind of change in our profession: specifically, good oral health. It is not often a product actually delivers on this claim. But on the occasion that it does (and with the added benefit of convenience and ease of use), I’m their greatest cheerleader. There’s a saying that the secret to change is to focus all your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new. In this case, I say let’s fight the old with something new.
- Oral health. World Health Organization. March 25, 2020 https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/oral-health#:~:text=Oral%20health%20conditions,-The%20majority%20of&text=The%20Global%20Burden%20of%20Disease%20Study%202017%20estimated%20that%20oral,being%20the%20most%20common%20condition
- Brushing your teeth. MouthHealthy/American Dental Association. https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/b/brushing-your-teeth
- Giri, Dhirendra Kumar. Effectiveness between two tooth brushing methods on removing dental plaque. Journal of Nobel Medical College, 7(1), 26-29. https://doi.org/10.3126/jonmc.v7i1.20843
- Usage of manual toothbrushes in the U.S. 2020. Statista Research Department. November 2020. https://www.statista.com/statistics/278116/us-households-usage-of-manual-toothbrushes/