Proof of concept design for a toothbrush with on-board vacuum to reduce oral aspirates

Alexandra Griffith, Abhishek Roy, Sahitya Kulkarni, Glennon Simmons, Laura Osorno, Vivek Kumar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Over the course of brushing, aerosolised particles develop in the mouth. In individuals who do not have the ability to expel these oral aspirates, they can be inhaled and cause aspiration pneumonia. This article showcases a novel vacuum toothbrush, termed “ToothVac,” and provides findings from its first human trial. Methods: The ToothVac device suctions saliva and aspirates during brushing, storing them in a removable reservoir at the bottom of the brush, to minimise the risk of inhalation and subsequent infection. Further descriptions of the various components of the ToothVac are included. This trial involved 18 participants who brushed using the ToothVac with the vacuum suction turned on and then off. Results: The volume of saliva produced was measured and compared. The ToothVac significantly reduced the amount of saliva that was produced by these participants when brushing. Conclusion: The device has potential clinical potential in that it may reduce the risk of aspiration pneumonia and related lung infections. Potential future research may include clinical trials for specific indications or marketing for oral aspirate removal, as well as optimisation of brush design using injection moulding for scalable manufacturing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Dentistry
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


  • aspiration
  • oral devices
  • pneumonia
  • suction
  • toothbrush


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