We all know that it’s pretty essential to brush your teeth. As soon as teeth grow in, we start working to keep them clean. A toothbrush is one of the most important tools available for keeping your teeth clean, and one we’re all familiar with. But have you ever stopped to think about how to choose the right toothbrush? It’s so common that many people haven’t. They either use the one their dentist gives them or pick one they like of the look or the price. While any toothbrush is better than none, they aren’t a one size fits all tool. Keep reading to learn about important factors to consider when choosing a toothbrush that keeps your mouth in tip-top shape.
The role of a toothbrush is to scrub bacteria off of your teeth before acidic plaque eats away at the enamel of your teeth or damages your gums. Simple, right? But, not every toothbrush does this in the same way. Here are some differences to consider:
Toothbrushes are available with soft, medium, and hard bristles, and well as rounded and unrounded bristles. It may seem like hard bristles would get your teeth the cleanest, but the trust is sometimes they get them too clean. If your bristles are too hard and your brush aggressively and apply a lot of pressure, you can actually scratch and damage your tooth enamel. It can also cause your gums to recede. It doesn’t actually take a lot of pressure to get plague off of your teeth, so for most people, soft, rounded bristles are the best option. They’ll get your teeth clean without causing harm.
Size and Shape
Every mouth is different, and not every toothbrush will comfortably reach every part of your mouth. If a brush is too big, it won’t allow you to reach the back of your teeth and mouth, where bacteria can flourish. Most people find that a brush head that is an inch long and half an inch wide is comfortable and easy to use, though some people may prefer a smaller brush. The handle should also be comfortable in your hand. One that’s too short, or thin will feel awkward, as will one that’s too wide or rough.
Always look for the ADA Seal of Acceptance when choosing a toothbrush. This seal signifies that the ADA Council on Scientific Affairs has evaluated the brush to make it safe and effective. In other words, the bristles won’t fall out with regular use, the handle will stay strong, and it will help reduce your risk of developing cavities and gum disease. Drs. Busk or Dr. Harris are also happy to make a recommendation.
Electric Toothbrushes vs. Manual
Both kinds of toothbrushes can effectively clean your teeth. You’re not necessarily missing out by choosing one over the other. However, many people find they enjoy using one more. Ultimately, the best toothbrush is the one you want to use. Some people can benefit from an electric toothbrush, such as those who have mobility problems that affect their ability to hold and move a toothbrush. Patients with arthritis, muscle tremors, or children who are still working on developing their fine motor skills may find it easier to get their teeth clean with the help of an electric toothbrush.
Even without these considerations, you may find that you prefer electric toothbrushes because of these features:
- Pressure sensors: If you have sensitive teeth, you may appreciate a brush that lets you know if you’re pressing too hard.
- Different brush settings: some electric toothbrushes come with brush settings such as, rotary, where the head rotates in only one direction, counter-rotational, where the head rotates in various directions, rotating-oscillating, which allows different lengths of bristles to turn in opposite directions, and oscillating-pulsating, which adds a pulsating motion to the oscillatory motion
- Timers: It’s becoming more and more popular for brushes to include a timer to help you make sure that you’re brushing your teeth for the correct amount of time. You probably know that you should brush your teeth for at least 2 minutes, but did you know that the average time most people brush their teeth for less than a minute. If you’re one of those people, this could be a huge advantage.
- Easier brushing with braces: Brushing your teeth with braces on can be a hassle, but electric toothbrushes can do some of the hard work for you. Since the brush head is moving faster, it’s easier to dislodge any trapped food or bacteria without any complicated maneuvers.
Replacing Your Toothbrush
Almost as important as choosing the right toothbrush is knowing when you need to replace your old one. The American Dental Association recommends replacing your toothbrush every 3-4 months. You’ll probably notice at this point that the bristles of your toothbrush look worn. This can actually damage your teeth or cause them to be more sensitive. How thorough you are when you brush is much more important than how hard you brush, so remember to use gentle, circular motions when cleaning your teeth.
Many toothbrushes also have an indicator in the form of a colored section of bristles. When the color fades, it’s time for a new toothbrush! It’s also a good idea to add toothbrush replacements to your calendar, so you don’t forget when they need to switch out.
Remember to replace your toothbrush after an illness. Bacteria from illnesses can linger in the bristles of your toothbrush, so you should always replace it after you’ve recovered from a cold, virus, or flu. Replacing your toothbrush promptly prevents bacteria from being reintroduced, so you don’t get sick again with the same thing.
A Healthy Toothbrush Leads to A Happy Life
Using the tips above can help you keep your teeth healthy by setting you up for success. Choosing the right tools makes any job easier, including your oral hygiene routine. If you have questions about choosing the right toothbrush, ask any member of the Cashmere Family Dentistry team at your next visit. If it’s been a while since you’ve seen us schedule an appointment to keep your smile happy and healthy all year long.