How to Choose the Right Toothbrush

There is a lot of information out there about picking the right toothbrush with everything from the pros of electric brushes to why you should stick with disposable brushes. We are here to clear up the confusion and walk you through how to pick the perfect toothbrush.

We cannot overstate the importance of oral hygiene and we are taught from a young age to brush our teeth morning and night. Brushing your teeth regularly can help stave off gum disease which can be a risk factor in developing serious conditions including diabetes and heart disease. But this poses the question; how do you pick the perfect toothbrush to make sure you are brushing your teeth well?

When nylon bristles were first invented in the 1930s, there were not many choices, you grabbed your toothbrush and off you went. But nowadays, if you go to the shops, you will see dozens of options from electric to disposable, soft to stiff bristles, and bamboo or plastic - it's overwhelming! Here are some simple tips to help you pick the right toothbrush for you:

Bristles: Soft or Stiff

The toothbrush you choose should have soft bristles. Stiff bristles on a toothbrush may seem like a good idea but they can cause a lot of issues! Medium to stiff bristles on your toothbrush can be too hard on gums, root surface, and enamel. This can cause the gum to pull back from your teeth and increase your sensitivity. Most dentists agree that a soft-bristled toothbrush is best for removing plaque when used thoroughly for two minutes.

Size of the Head

It may seem like a good idea to go for a large head on your toothbrush; the bigger the head, the more you brush, right? Unfortunately, this is not the case. A large head on your toothbrush can make it harder to reach certain angles, particularly hard to reach molars and back teeth. A small head means you can get to all those tricky to reach spots and ensure you are brushing all of your teeth equally.

Electric or Disposable

When it comes down to it, both electric and disposable toothbrushes are effective at brushing your teeth. As long as you brush twice daily with a good toothpaste then whether it is an electric or disposable is up to personal preference. Some factors to take into consideration are:

  • Time. If you want to make sure that you are hitting that two minute mark every time you brush your teeth, then an electric toothbrush may be the way to go. Many electric toothbrushes have inbuilt timers that let you know when you have devoted enough time to brushing your teeth and some even let you know every 30 seconds so you can be sure you are brushing evenly. If you are someone who often favours one side of your mouth or you aren't sure you are hitting that two minute mark, then an electric toothbrush may be better for you.
  • Cost. Although electric toothbrushes are becoming more and more affordable, they are still much more expensive than disposable brushes. Not only is there the initial cost of the brush but also the replacement heads which are often more expensive than disposable brushes. However, if an electric toothbrush helps you to keep your teeth clean then you may just be saving yourself the cost of future dental bills!
  • Over-Brushing. Certain individuals brush too vigorously which can damage both the gum and the enamel of your teeth. An electric toothbrush can make it easier to not over-brush while still ensuring that you are cleaning your teeth properly.
  • Mobility. If you have any condition that could limit your mobility, then it is advisable to choose an electric toothbrush. The electric brush allows for more thorough cleaning without the level of arm movement often involved with a disposable toothbrush. If you have arthritis, carpal tunnel or need to wear a brace, an electric toothbrush is the choice for you.

Bamboo or Plastic?

Bamboo toothbrushes have seen a huge rise in popularity over the past few years as people try to become more eco-friendly. Bamboo toothbrushes are just as effective at cleaning your teeth as a plastic or electric toothbrush so the question becomes, are bamboo toothbrushes actually better for the environment? Like with the other elements of picking a toothbrush, the answer depends on the toothbrush.

Bamboo toothbrushes date all the way back to ancient China when the first brushes were made with bamboo handles and boar hairs. This is where the modern bamboo toothbrush sees its downfall. Though the bamboo handle is definitely more eco-friendly than a plastic toothbrush, the bristles are often still made from nylon. If you remove the bristles you can compost your handle or if you look around there are some bamboo toothbrushes that have bio-degradable bristles.

How Often Should I Replace My Toothbrush?

Toothbrushes do not last forever and you should remember to replace your toothbrush regularly. With most toothbrushes, this is replacing the toothbrush (or head with an electric brush) once every three months. However, there are some situations where you should replace the toothbrush sooner:

  • If You've Been Sick. If you have recently had a cold or other illness, it is important to change out your toothbrush, and if you have an electric toothbrush, to disinfect the handle. Toothbrush bristles can collect germs that can lead to re-infection and make you sick all over again.
  • Wear and Tear. If your toothbrush is starting to look worse for wear and is looking frayed or bent then it is time to change brushes. Bent or frayed bristles are less effective at cleaning your teeth and will not be cleaning your teeth to standard.

Best Toothbrush for Children

If you are shopping for a child's toothbrush, you want to make sure that you are ticking the following boxes:

  • Soft Bristles. This prevents your little one from over-brushing and injuring their gums when brushing their teeth.
  • Small Head. As we discussed above, a small head on your toothbrush makes it easier to reach those hard to reach areas in your mouth. The smaller the mouth, the smaller the head.
  • Large Handle. A large grip on the toothbrush makes it easier for your child to grip their toothbrush when brushing their teeth.

If you are ever unsure about how you are brushing your teeth or have any questions about your dental hygiene, do not hesitate to give us a call and book an appointment.