What is the Best Electric Toothbrush for People With Arthritic Hands?

Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®
Assistive Technology Professional
Updated:

The best electric toothbrushes for people with arthritis should be easy to hold onto and require less much grip pressure to use while (obviously) getting your teeth and gums sparkly clean.

electric toothbrush for arthritic hands
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Income Disclosure: Product recommendations are based on my personal experience working with seniors. I may earn a commission on items purchased from affiliate links in this guide. Learn More.

Brushing your teeth is a vital step when it comes to maintaining healthy oral hygiene. Brushing at least twice a day will ensure that excess bacteria doesn’t get a chance to form on your teeth. This will prevent bacteria from slowly eating away the surfaces of your teeth, which could lead to major problems in the future.

However, brushing can be quite a difficult task for people suffering from arthritis. Typically, proper brushing methods entail keeping the brush at a 45-degree angle and gentle scrubbing. But even the gentle scrubbing action can be painful if you have arthritis in your hands.

Arthritis has a reputation for making things we took for granted much, much harder. And as such simple things become harder to do, there’s always the temptation to stop doing some of them altogether. Nonetheless, while brushing can be a lot more difficult for arthritis patients, it remains an important everyday routine.

What Are the Best Electric Toothbrushes for Arthritic Hands?

First, here’s a list of the best electric toothbrushes for arthritic hands to help make your search a little easier. Keep reading to learn more about toothbrush options for people with arthritis as well as important features to look for when shopping for an electric toothbrush.

BEST MOUTHPIECE TOOTHBRUSH

SymplBrush Toothbrush

symplbrush tooth cleaning device close 300
Wide, easy to hold handle
Single button operations
20 times as many bristles as a standard toothbrush
Cleans in as little as 30 seconds
Created by a dentist and backed up by clinical studies
Where to Buy:

The automatic mouthpiece style toothbrush is a relatively new concept that has gained a lot of attention in recent years. Their main premise is that they can clean multiple tooth surfaces simultaneously, and clean teeth to a comparable or even higher standard than a typical manual or electric toothbrush. This is because the bristles are positioned for optimal cleaning.

Honestly, I initially had my doubts and the team over at SymplBrush sent me one to use. I used it exclusively for a week and only for 30 seconds at a time as indicated. The first few uses were a bit awkward learning how to properly fit the brush in my mouth.

But, I quickly got the hang of it and was impressed how well it worked – especially on the hard to reach molars in the back. As a matter of fact, I still use it daily.

SymplBrush is arguably the most effective product in this segment. With this toothbrush, multiple surfaces will be cleaned at the same time, which reduces the amount of time required to clean teeth effectively. This makes it ideal for arthritis patients who struggle to handle objects in their hands for the full two minutes required for brushing teeth.

The magnetic charger is also a nice feature for people with arthritis because you don’t have to fiddle with fitting a small plug into a small hole.

Pros:

  • Flexible mouthpiece that can clean teeth in 30 seconds
  • Long battery life
  • Great cleaning results from the 2 cleaning modes
  • Magnetic stand
  • Built-in pacer and timer

Cons:

  • For some users, there is a bit of a learning curve to using it
  • Expensive

TOP RATED

Oral-B Vitality Dual Clean Electric Toothbrush

Thick, easy to grip handle
Single button operation
2 minute built-in timer
Where to Buy:

The Oral-B Vitality Dual Clean Electric toothbrush has twice the cleaning action of the regular toothbrush. Its pulsating action oscillates in such a way that it’s deep sweeping and polishes teeth to feel much cleaner.

The removable head makes it easy to clean and maintain mouth hygiene. The toothbrush also comes with two-minute times that signal after two minutes to help you brush your teeth thoroughly for the recommended brushing time.

People with arthritis pain in their hands will appreciate the thicker handle which is easier to hold onto without having to have a super tight grip. Also, it operates with a single button and will click off automatically after 2 minutes.

Pros:

  • Built-in timer
  • One cleaning mode for easy operation
  • Grip on the handle
  • A small round brush head

Cons:

  • No battery life or status indicator

SLEEK AND STYLISH

Foreo Issa 3 Rechargeable Electric Sonic Toothbrush

Smooth, rounded, ergonomic handle
Long-lasting battery life
16 intensity settings with memory
Built-in timer
4 fun colors
Where to Buy:

The Foreo Issa 3 feels as good as it looks. It’s a premium, Swedish-designed toothbrush that comes with silicone bristles instead of nylon offered by most of the competition, which makes it super gentle for sensitive gums and people dealing with a receding gum line.

The material also helps make the toothbrush much more durable, meaning it will last longer. Moreover, it offers 16 different speeds, and one charge will last for 365 days.

With a battery life that wipes the bathroom floor with the competition, the Issa 3 is one sleek, impressive piece of kit. The sonic pulsations and silicone brushes deliver a brilliant clean feel, and the timer comes in handy too.

People with arthritic hands will appreciate the smooth, ergonomic handle that is easy to hold onto while using it. And, thanks to the intensity setting, you can get the job done in no time which means less time having to keep your hand in the grip position.

Pros:

  • One charge will last for 365 uses
  • Leaves you with a clean feeling
  • The brush head will last you for a year
  • Great design and the silicone bristles are a nice touch
  • 16 different adjustable speeds

Cons:

  • No app or Bluetooth connectivity
  • No indicator to let you know the mode you’re in

UNIQUE DESIGN

Triple Bristle Sonic Electric Toothbrush

Large, thick handle
Angles bristles clean better without having to move continually
Timer with quadrant prompts to ensure complete coverage
Created by a dentist
Where to Buy:

If you want something a bit more advanced and unique, then this is a great option. The brush comes with triple bristles for extra cleaning in those spots that are harder to reach.

It also has three modes: sensitive, high, and massage, which makes it ideal for those who have never used an electric toothbrush before, or those who have sensitive gums or teeth and want to customize their experience. It’s also ideal for arthritic hands as it ensures proper brushing technique that manual toothbrushes will struggle to offer.

Pros:

  • Triple bristles
  • One-year warranty
  • Great for users with sensitive gums
  • Three different settings

Cons:

  • The battery panel is difficult to access
  • The vibration might not be enough for some users

BEST FOR THUMB PAIN

TAO Umma Diamond Sonic Toothbrush

Wide, curved, ergonomic handle
Large, easy to use charging dock
Uses UV light to sanitize the brushes
7 color choices
Where to Buy:

This is a sonic electric toothbrush that aims to combine function and style, by radically rethinking the design of the toothbrush while also outfitting it with a self-cleaning mechanism. The design of the base – responsible for charging and cleaning the toothbrush – lands somewhere between a miniature nuclear cooling tower and a single bud flower vase.

When you’re done brushing, you can simply store the brush head through the top of the base, which will activate a ring of UV-C lights inside, ideally bathing it with germ killer UV for five minutes. The heat-based dryer system will also get rid of the lingering moisture to stall any bacteria growth.

Pros:

  • A lot more stylish than many options on this list
  • Affordable
  • Effective at cleaning teeth
  • The self-sanitizing mechanism is a nice touch

Cons:

  • Far too many lights
  • Odd handle balance might not be ideal for some hands
  • Only realistic for a single user

CHARCOAL-INFUSED BRISTLES

BURST Electric Toothbrush with Charcoal Sonic Head

burst oral care toothbrush
Diamond shaped textured handle is easy to hold onto
One month battery life for less charging
3 power modes
4 color choices
Where to Buy:
Click to Compare and Save

This toothbrush is the perfect way to make your daily oral care routine a bit more enjoyable. The design will compliment almost any bathroom décor, and the deep clean bristles will ensure a deeper clean compared to manual brushing.

It comes with three settings: Sensitive, Whitening, and Massage to personalize your experience. You can also use a fresh-breath-boosting charcoal head once a day to deliver a gentle cleaning massage.

The charcoal-infused bristles, the three-mode setting, and a charge that can last for up to four weeks make it a great pick.

Pros:

  • Superb battery life
  • Sonic technology with multiple modes
  • Attractive design
  • In-built pressure sensor
  • Brush will automatically turn off after two minutes of inactivity
  • The brush head lasts for 4 months
  • A subscription service that gets you a lifetime warranty

Cons:

  • The charcoal bristle might be a problem for some
  • You have to signup for a subscription to purchase the brush
  • Some users complain that the size of the brush makes it hard to reach the back teeth

What Toothbrush Options Do Seniors with Arthritis Have?

Fortunately, there are a few toothbrush options for seniors living with arthritis. Since holding small items by hand can be painful, choosing a brush with a larger handle will often help to mitigate the pain. There are lots of options of toothbrushes with a larger handle size for this purpose. A longer handle will make it easier to hold the brush and make it more comfortable.

Secondly, you want to consider getting an electric toothbrush if you have arthritis in your hands or have other hand weaknesses. An electric toothbrush will not only be more effective at cleaning your teeth, but also require less effort to do so. At the push of a button, the toothbrush will do everything for you. Plus, most models come with a rubberized grip and a wide handle that makes it easier and more comfortable to use them.

Part of the reason why arthritis patients struggle with brushing is due to the amount of pressure they have to apply when brushing. Electric toothbrushes solve this by not requiring you to apply as much pressure, which makes brushing a lot more comfortable and pain-free.

Keep in mind that effectively brushing your teeth has a critical role in helping prevent tooth decay and gum disease. Dental plaque is one of the primary causes of gum inflammation (gingivitis) and the condition can easily progress into periodontitis, which is a more serious gum disease. Plaque build-up can also lead to tooth decay. Both tooth decay and gum disease are also primary causes of tooth loss.

Are Electric Toothbrushes Easier than Manual Ones for People With Arthritic Hands?

Of course, you can effectively brush your teeth with a manual toothbrush using the right technique. However, generally speaking, electric toothbrushes are a great alternative to manual ones especially for children, the elderly, and people suffering from conditions like arthritis that make it difficult to brush well. The bristle movement of an electric toothbrush can even help you get rid of more plaque and food particles from your teeth and improve your gum health.

When choosing an electric toothbrush, ensure that it’s easy to use and comfortable to hold. Your dentist might suggest you a model that has a rotating-oscillating head (brush head that rotates in one direction and then the other) or one with bristles that vibrate super-fast. Some other features like timers, adjustable power levels, and rechargeable batteries are optional.

It’s worth noting that some recent studies [1] have suggested that electric toothbrushes get rid of 21% more plaque than regular toothbrushes. This makes it preferable for many seniors, considering that certain medications can cause plague. These brushes also tend to be gentler on gums and are much easier to hold.

However, whether you choose a manual toothbrush or an electric toothbrush, keep in mind that the most important thing is maintaining a daily oral hygiene routine. Both electric and manual toothbrushes will be effective at cleaning your teeth if you brush long enough and use the proper technique.

What Features Should Someone with Hand Arthritis Look For in an Electric Toothbrush?

With dozens of different options to choose from, these are some of the key aspects you want to consider to help make sure you make the right purchase.

Ergonomic Handles That Are Easy to Hold

This is a key factor to consider for arthritis patients. Make sure that the handle is comfortable to hold, easy to grip, and that all the buttons are easy to reach. This will go a long way in making the brushing experience pain-free.

Long Battery Life

You should ideally go for a toothbrush with an in-built rechargeable battery and an electric charging station as they are much more cost-effective and convenient compared to those that use replaceable batteries.

Effective Brushing Action

Brush heads come in two main variants: sonic, which vibrates side to side; and spinning, which rotates fast in one direction and then another, with the bristles pulsating in and out. Both methods are great and are largely a matter of preference.

Timer to Guarantee Proper Brushing Time

Most dentists recommend brushing for two minutes, though most adults brush less than 60 seconds. So, it’s wise to get one with an in-built timer. Some will divide the two minutes into four 30 seconds intervals and let you know when it’s time to switch to a different quadrant of the mouth.

Cost

The price of electric toothbrushes will range from $15 to about $500 depending on the brand, quality, and included features. Have a budget on how much you’re willing to spend on one.

Other Considerations

Most of the premium brushes will include various settings like sensitive cleaning, massage (gum stimulation) mode, a battery level indicator, and more. Some models connect to a smartphone or tablet to track brushing habits. So, consider what kinds of features you need.


Summary

The mouth is a gateway into the body, and it’s important to keep it as clean and bacteria-free as possible.

If you are a caregiver or you are looking to buy a toothbrush for a loved one with arthritic hands, you should, by all means, invest in an electric toothbrush. It makes the job or daily oral care much easier, especially for older or arthritic patients.

Sources:

  1. https://www.cochrane.org/CD002281/ORAL_poweredelectric-toothbrushes-compared-to-manual-toothbrushes-for-maintaining-oral-health
  2. http://jdh.adha.org/content/jdenthyg/83/3/111.full.pdf
Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®
Assistive Technology Professional

Scott Grant has spent more than 20 years serving seniors and the elderly in the home medical equipment industry. He has worked as a manufacturer's rep for the top medical equipment companies and a custom wheelchair specialist at a durable medical equipment (DME) provider in WV. He is father to 4 beautiful daughters and has three terrific grandkids. When not promoting better living for older adults, he enjoys outdoor activities including hiking and kayaking and early morning runs.

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