A toothbrush is a product you use every day, and one that can have a significant impact on your oral health. Although simple in structure, a toothbrush performs an essential function, remove plaque and food debris from the surface of your teeth. They range from the most basic of basic models that cost about $2 to the most modern of high-end options that come in at more than $100.00.
And this is where it gets tricky: if you’re going to choose a new toothbrush, how do you decide which features are most important? Is it better to have a brush with tiny bristles that barely reach your teeth? Or is it better to have a brush with large bristles that cover lots of surfaces? Should the bristles be soft or firm?
Selecting a toothbrush is even more important than choosing a pair of jeans or a new pair of shoes when you consider how important your teeth are, so choose wisely! Here are some things to consider when choosing your next toothbrush.
Electric or Manual
While some people prefer the feel and convenience of an electric toothbrush, they cost a bit more than a manual brush, but an electric toothbrush may be better for your gums and teeth. In fact, a study found that electric toothbrushes remove more plaque and tartar than a manual one. It’s a little harder to get a manual toothbrush into those hard-to-reach areas. So, an electric toothbrush is a worthwhile investment for the health of your gums and teeth.
An electric toothbrush can also be gentler on your teeth, especially if you tend to apply too much pressure with a manual brush. If you do this consistently, you could damage the enamel on your teeth and gums, and cause your gums to recede.
Firm or Soft Bristles
Then there’s the issue of bristle firmness. Firm bristles apply more pressure and do an effective job of removing plaque, but they can also cause tooth and gum damage if you apply too much pressure. That’s why most dentists recommend a soft-bristled brush with multiple layers of bristles and bristles that are angled to help you get to hard-to-reach spots. If you like a firmer toothbrush, a medium bristled brush is a reasonable compromise, but stay away from firm and extra-firm toothbrushes, especially if you have sensitive teeth or receding gums.
Consider the Handle
A regular plastic handle is fine if you’re just starting out, but if you want to ensure you get the most out of your toothbrush, look for ones with rubberized or silicone handles. You can also choose from a straight handle or bent handle. A bent handle makes it easier to reach the back of your mouth. However, a straight handle may be more comfortable if you have sensitive teeth. Also available are ridged handles that are easy to grasp, and wide handled toothbrushes that are ideal for larger hands.
Don’t Choose Based Only on Price
Cheap brushes are like cheap cars. They make you feel good while you’re driving them around, but they don’t last very long and eventually end up breaking down in your driveway. Expensive brushes are like expensive cars; they’re usually designed in a way that makes them easier to use, and the bristles are more durable and efficient at removing plaque. So, don’t rush to the dollar store to buy your next toothbrush!
Choose a Toothbrush That Feels Comfortable in Your Hand
The most important thing about a toothbrush is how it feels in your hand. It must feel comfortable. Otherwise, you’ll have a hard time working with it. Once you find a brand that works for you, stick with it unless your dental needs change. You’re more likely to do a thorough job of brushing if your toothbrush feels comfortable and is easy to work with. You can also ask your dentist’s advice on which toothbrush is best for you.
Other Tips for Keeping Your Teeth Clean and Healthy
- Replace your toothbrush every 3 months.
- Also, replace your toothbrush after an illness.
- Don’t share a toothbrush with anyone else.
Use a toothbrush and floss every day for two minutes or more, at least twice a day for as long as you can remember. If you have trouble remembering, set an alarm on your cell phone so you won’t forget.
- Use a fluoride toothpaste: Research shows fluoride toothpaste helps prevent cavities by strengthening tooth enamel and making it less susceptible to plaque and acid attacks.
- Visit your dentist every 6 months, or however often they recommend.
- Ask the dentist to do an oral cancer screening for you, especially if you’re at high risk for mouth cancer (for example, if someone in your family has had the disease). The dentist will use a tool called an oral headlight to look inside your mouth to visualize your whole mouth.
The Bottom Line
Don’t grab the first toothbrush you see at the grocery store. You’ll be using the toothbrush you buy twice per day for 3 months. Make sure it works for you.
“Electric toothbrush: Better than a manual toothbrush ….” 13 Nov. 2020, .mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/expert-answers/electric-toothbrush/faq-20058325.
“Electric Toothbrush vs. Manual Toothbrush: Which Is Better?.” 03 May. 2018, .healthline.com/health/dental-and-oral-health/electric-toothbrush-vs-manual.
“Soft Vs. Hard Toothbrush: Which One Should You Use?.” .colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/selecting-dental-products/soft-vs-hard-toothbrush.