Applying Toothpaste

Although you’ve likely maintained a good oral hygiene routine throughout your life, adult-onset vision changes can make it challenging to do the “little things” that are the basic components of any toothbrushing routine. Here are some everyday tips and techniques to help apply toothpaste to your brush and keep track of the cap.

Some Adaptations for the Task

Toothbrush on contrasting washcloth
  • Place your free hand over the top of the faucet to serve as a point of reference. This will help you to avoid hitting the faucet or emptying your mouth over it.
  • Place the toothbrush on a contrasting washcloth for added visibility when dispensing toothpaste.
  • If you have low vision, use brightly colored or striped toothpaste that contrasts with the toothbrush bristles.

Keeping Track of the Toothpaste Cap

  • Stand it on end to prevent it from rolling away.
  • Hold the cap in your hand or keep it in your pocket.
  • Purchase toothpaste with a hinged cap.
  • Always try to place the toothpaste cap in a memorable location.

Options for Dispensing Toothpaste

Hold toothbrush bristles between your index finger and thumb to serve as a guide
  • Hold the toothbrush bristles between your index finger and your thumb to serve as a guide for toothpaste application.
  • Squeeze the toothpaste into your palm and scoop it out with the toothbrush bristles.
  • Squeeze the toothpaste into a one-ounce medicine cup and scoop it out with the toothbrush bristles.
  • Squeeze the toothpaste onto your finger and transfer it to your mouth.
Dispense toothpaste in your palm and then scoop it out with the toothbrush

Additional Resources for Personal Care

  • If you would like additional instruction in oral hygiene techniques or other areas of personal self-care, you can contact a Vision Rehabilitation Therapist. See Vision Rehabilitation Services on this website for more information.

By Maureen A. Duffy, M.S., CVRT

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