A toothbrush is perhaps the most important tool to maintain good oral health. The choice between brushes hinges on four main aspects: manual or electronic, bristle softness, the handle and type of head.
By thoroughly brushing teeth, you will be able to remove food particles and dental plaque from teeth and gums. If left untreated, plaque may wear down the tooth's wall, slowly creating a microscopic hole in the tooth called a cavity.
Manual or electric?
Choosing between a manual or electric toothbrush lies in personal preference. While some enjoy the simplicity, cost-effectiveness and easier control of manual brushes, others find that electric brushes provide a better clean. In fact, it's been clinically proven that mechanical brushing is more effective at eliminating dental plaque, thus reducing the risk of gum disease. Individuals should opt for heads that vibrate back and forth instead of those that spin in a circular motion, since these may erode the gum line.
Most dentists recommend soft-bristled toothbrushes to prevent damage to the gums and enamel. Extra-soft bristles are necessary for people with sensitive teeth or gums, or a patient recovering from a dental procedure. Those who are switching from manual to electric toothbrushes might want to opt for softer bristles since the new brush's vibrating motions already complete much of the scrubbing necessary to clean teeth.
A common misconception is that firmer bristles are more effective for removing plaque and stains from the teeth, but this is not true. Soft- and extra-soft bristles can the job done just as well.
Long handle for good grip
Make sure you've got a solid, comfortable grasp on the toothbrush. Rubber link bumps or lines help prevent the toothbrush from slipping out of the hands during use.
Size and type of head
Heads that are too big make it difficult to access those hard-to-reach places in the back of the mouth, such as molars. Find a normal size that allows you to reach the outer parts of upper and lower molars.
Avoid toothbrushes with hollow heads, since these can retain up to 3,000 times more bacterial growth than those with solid heads, according to a Journal of Dental Hygiene study. Solid heads are the way to go.
When should I replace my toothbrush?
Ditch your old toothbrush for a new one every two to three months. Typically at this point, microbes, bacteria and food debris start to accumulate on the bristles and even on the handle, which may be transferred back into the mouth upon brushing.
* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Please Note: The material on this site is provided for informational purposes only. Always consult your health care professional before beginning any new therapy.