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Journal Article


Rao DP, McFaull S. Paediatr. Child Health (1996) 2019; 24(1): e40-e44.


Surveillance and Epidemiology Division, Centre for Chronic Disease Prevention, Public Health Agency of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario.


(Copyright © 2019, Canadian Paediatric Society, Publisher Pulsus Group)








OBJECTIVES: A toothbrush is a medical device that is widely used for oral hygiene practices at almost all ages. Descriptive studies of toothbrush-related injuries (TRI) are fairly limited, with existing studies mainly focusing on case reports. The present study sought to describe TRIs in Canada, including the contexts within which they occur.

METHODS: The Canadian Hospitals Injury Reporting and Prevention Program (CHIRPP) database, years 1990 to 2016, was queried for cases of TRI. The circumstance, mechanism and type of injury are described based on an examination of narrative text, using data mining techniques and corresponding variable codes. Average annual percent change estimates are presented to describe trends over time.

RESULTS: The rate of TRIs is low (16.9 of 100,000 CHIRPP cases among ages 14 years and below [0.02%], and 2.4 of 100,000 CHIRPP cases among ages 15 years and above [0.002%]) and has been relatively stable over the past quarter century. A majority of cases occurred among individuals aged 14 years and below; falls were the most common circumstance (50.0%) and mechanism (39.8%) of injury and laceration to the internal mouth was the most frequent type of injury (51.9%). Intentional injuries due to a toothbrush were only observed among individuals aged 15 years and older, such as in cases of inducing vomiting.

CONCLUSIONS: Although rare, TRIs are occurring in Canada and risk can be mitigated. Behaviours associated with routine habits of toothbrushing are an area that might assist with injury prevention efforts. The safe and appropriate use of toothbrushes should be considered at all ages.

Language: en


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