Choosing a Toothbrush

on November 20, 2013

When toothbrushes were first introduced in 1930, consumers didn’t have an option as to which toothbrush to choose. Nowadays the market is inundated with different toothbrushes. We have gone over which electric toothbrushes we recommend, but what about manual toothbrushes?

If you choose to use a manual toothbrush you don’t have to worry about brands too much. The biggest thing to look at when choosing a manual toothbrush is the bristle strength. According to the ADA “Harder bristles can wear away your enamel and damage your teeth and gums.” The increased abrasiveness of these bristles can cause gum damage and enamel erosion. We recommend using an extra soft bristle toothbrush. If you feel you need a harder brush you can use a soft bristle toothbrush, but be careful as brushing too hard will cause your toothbrush to flare. When this occurs you do not need a harder bristle, you need to lighten your touch while brushing. A good way to lighten up while brushing is to try brushing with your non-dominant hand.

Some brands offer floss action or rubber cups on their toothbrushes. These are good adjuncts to flossing, but getting one of these toothbrushes does not preclude actually flossing. The floss action toothbrush helps stimulate the gums, whereas the rubber cups work better for removing stain on your teeth. If you find the soft bristle brush is still too soft, you can move to one of these brushes while keeping soft bristles. We do not recommend using these toothbrushes if you have sensitive gums.

Another decision in choosing which brush is good for you is the size of the brush head. The standard toothbrush head size is ½ inch by 1 inch, which is comfortable for most adults. If you have a smaller mouth and are finding that brush head too large, you may want to move to a smaller brush head or even a pediatric brush. Finding a brush head that fits your mouth will provide a comfortable brushing experience.

To ensure your teeth get properly cleaned, make sure you change your toothbrush every three to four months. Studies have shown that toothbrush bristles become frayed and worn with use which causes the cleaning effectiveness to decrease. (source) Older toothbrushes have also been shown to harbor bacteria from your mouth and possibly from the surrounding environment. Keep a fresh toothbrush to assure a healthy mouth.

Choosing a toothbrush should not be a chore. In fact, choosing the right toothbrush should make brushing your teeth an enjoyable experience. If you find that you have questions about which toothbrush would work best for you, feel free to contact our Evanston dental office. Our doctors and staff would be happy to make sure you are getting the most out of your toothbrush.

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