Since brushing is an important routine activity without which you cannot spend your day smiling, it’s important to find a toothbrush that feels comfortable and works well for you.
Toothbrushes come in all shapes, sizes and colors-some spin and others pulsate. But a toothbrush is worthless if you brush incorrectly. Do you just swish the toothbrush all around your teeth without making sure to reach all areas of the mouth?
People tend to brush their teeth too fast, and end up missing areas, especially in the back of their mouth, inside of cheeks and lips. And that’s a problem because plaque is full of harmful bacteria and it can lead to gum disease and cavities. If you are getting late, it’s fine to occasionally skip a brushing, since it takes about 24 hours for plaque and bacteria to build up on your teeth. But you should try to brush twice a day, and floss at least once.
Toothbrushes come in all shapes, colors and sizes, promising to perform better than the rest, like narrow-angled heads, raised, zigzag bristles, oscillating tufts and handle that change colors with use. But no body of scientific evidence exists yet to show that any one type of toothbrush design is better at removing plaque than another. In reality, almost any toothbrush you feel comfortable using works well. The only thing that matters is that the technique which you follow to brush your teeth and how frequently you brush your teeth. Most of us brush less than a minute, but to effectively reach all areas and scrub off cavity-causing bacteria, it is recommended to brush for two to three minutes.
In general, a toothbrush head should be small and narrow for easy access to all areas of the mouth, teeth and gums. It should have a long, wide and flexible handle for a firm grasp and which does not put too much pressure while brushing. It should have soft nylon bristles with rounded ends so you won’t hurt your gums.
According to American Dental Association:
- The Toothbrush should have soft bristles. Hard bristles may cause gum tissue to tear off from teeth, which can expose the tooth root and lead to increased sensitivity to heat, cold or certain foods and drinks.
- Toothbrush head size should easily fit into the mouth and can brush one to two teeth at a time. The general size is 1″ long and ½” wide.
- Powered toothbrushes don’t clean teeth any better than regular toothbrushes. However, if you enjoy brushing with a powered toothbrush for the required length of time, it is worth the investment.
- Powered toothbrushes are better choices than manual toothbrushes for anyone who has less dexterity, including people with arthritis or any condition that may limit mobility, or people with misaligned or uneven teeth surfaces that make a thorough cleaning more challenging.
- Replace your toothbrush (or toothbrush head for a powered toothbrush) as soon as the bristles begin to look worn or frayed (usually every three months). A worn toothbrush does not do a good job of cleaning your teeth.
- Remember always to replace your toothbrush after an infection or illness.
If you’re still undecided about which toothbrush to use, consult your dentist for advice.
If you are shopping a toothbrush for a child, select a toothbrush with the following features:
- Soft bristles for gentle cleaning
- Very small heads designed for baby teeth
- Large handles easier for children to grip
Visit your dentist regularly because tooth brushing and flossing is most effective with periodic checkups and cleanings.