A finger toothbrush is a small set of soft cleaning bristles worn on the fingertip. Most finger toothbrush bristles are made of the pliable and easy-to-clean material silicone. Finger toothbrushes are often worn by people who are brushing teeth that are not their own to achieve maximum control and avoid causing tooth or gum injury. The finger toothbrush is fitted onto the finger of the user so the person is able to gently clean teeth and massage the gum line at angles that no rigid toothbrush would be able to achieve. Technicians in the health care and veterinary industry often use disposable finger toothbrushes to effectively clean the teeth of their patients without spreading infection.
Doctors and veterinarians often suggest that finger toothbrushes be used for home dental care of the assisted elderly, infants, and pets. When maneuvering a hand-held toothbrush inside the mouth of another, it can be difficult to avoid losing control and making contact with the tool in a way not intended. Battery-operated toothbrushes, rechargeable toothbrushes, or even small rigid children's toothbrushes have hard edges that can poke and scrape the soft surface of the gums. A finger toothbrush made from thicker silicone protects the finger of the wearer from those who have a tendency to bight down during cleanings. Finger toothbrushes are available for purchase in most pharmacies and pet supply stores.
Using a finger toothbrush is a safe and easy-to-use alternative to traditional hand-held toothbrushes. The majority of finger toothbrushes are simply flexible silicone sheaths that are slid onto the end of the index finger and stop before the second joint. A brush must fit snugly onto the fingertip to make sure it will not come off during use and become a choking hazard. Some finger toothbrush bristles are built into latex gloves so the brush stays on and the wearer and individual receiving the cleaning are both protected from contamination. Once the finger brush is in place, the user simply applies gentle pressure with the bristles to clean the teeth and gums using a tight circular motion.
Upgraded finger toothbrush designs are two-sided to offer a secondary textured surface for gum massage. The finger toothbrush can be spun around on the finger on the desired side without the need to remove it completely. Some varieties of finger toothbrushes come with carrying cases and ultraviolet sanitizing lights to kill bacteria during storage.