Date of Award

Spring 1996

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Dental Hygiene


Dental Hygiene

Committee Director

Deanne Shuman

Committee Member

Michele L. Darby

Committee Member

Evelyn Thomson-Lakey

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.D46 G37


The purpose of this study was to investigate whether a relationship exists between design marketing strategies of toothbrushes (handle size, color, and shape; brush head size and shape; and bristle firmness and formation of toothbrushes) and toothbrush purchases made by consumers. To understand what consumers preferred, a self-designed, 24 item questionnaire, "Toothbrush Design and Consumer Preferences," was given to a convenience sample of 300 subjects ranging from ages 20 to 60 and over from the Old Dominion University campus in Norfolk, Virginia. Responses from each item were analyzed using frequency and percentages of responses, contingency tables, Kendall's tau b, and Chi-square. Subjects answered the questions on a separate self-designed answer sheet.

The results obtained suggest that the variables, gender and age, are significant in consumers' preferences of toothbrush design. Respondents preferred a long, thick, rubber toothbrush handle, with a thumb grip, while their color preference was blue. Toothbrush handle preference was a rubber grip, however, handle preference varied by age. The most frequent choice of toothbrush head size and shape by all respondents was a full toothbrush head and diamond shape.

Even though the majority of respondents chose a soft bristle toothbrush, bristle firmness varied among gender and age revealing interesting results. The bristle formation of choice was rippled. The amount spent on one toothbrush varied according to respondents' gender and age, whereas, respondents favorite packaging choice was a cardboard box around their toothbrush.

Results revealed that consumers do in fact buy the same toothbrush recommended to them by the dental hygienist/dentist. outcomes of this study may allow companies to determine what toothbrush design characteristics are preferred by consumers, and hence, influence the industry's design marketing strategies. However, oral healthcare practitioners need to understand consumer preference to effectively recommend a particular toothbrush design for individual needs.


In Copyright. URI: This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).