What Toothbrush Should I Use?

What Toothbrush Should I Use? 1We have honestly lost count of how many times our patients have asked us this question. We love that our patients are keen to learn the best ways to keep their mouth, teeth and gums healthy. And the healthier their teeth and gums are, the less it costs for their dental visits and the more comfortable their visits become. With so many brands and varieties of toothbrushes on the shelves these days, it is easy to get overwhelmed about which to choose.

Here are our top two criteria:

Yes, it really can be that simple. When shopping for a toothbrush in the dental health section of your supermarket or pharmacy, look for these things first:

1. How soft are the bristles?

Contrary to popular belief, hard bristles and scrubbing your enamel and gums does not help to keep them clean. In fact, you will be doing more damage by removing your enamel structure, and shrinking your gums away leading to gum recession. If the gums/bone recede and the tooth structure is worn away, you can experience extra sensitivity from hot/cold/sweet foods and drinks, and even from cold air.

You should be brushing your teeth gently. A toothbrush with soft bristles, and the correct technique, is all that is needed to remove all of the plaque and bacteria from your tooth surfaces.

2. Look for a small and compact toothbrush head

It’s important that your toothbrush can reach all of the corners of your mouth. The smaller the head, the easier it is to manoeuver it around your mouth and to clean the back teeth. Compact toothbrush heads also allow you to clean into the crevices between the teeth a lot more efficiently

When it comes to the handle, choose one that is the most comfortable for you to hold.

What’s the difference between an electric toothbrush and a manual toothbrush?

Is one really better than the other? In our opinion, the answer is no. In fact, numerous studies have shown that there is no significant difference between an electric or manual toothbrush. Both are excellent options, but both only work well if you use them properly. Essentially, your technique of brushing and flossing are more important than which floss or toothbrush you chose to use.

A manual toothbrush requires you to do the “work” – you need to move the brush in the recommended motions at the correct angle with the right amount of pressure. For a lot of people, this is easy enough to do. However, there are situations when a manual toothbrush is a better option

    • If you are brushing too hard

A lot of people think that brushing their teeth harder means that their teeth will be cleaner. However, brushing too hard will damage gums and tooth structure causing recession, cavities and sensitivity. This is where using an electric toothbrush with a pressure sensor or an electric toothbrush and learning to let vibrations and spinning on the toothbrush do the work for you can be better.

    • Limited Dexterity

For some patients who have arthritis or limited mobility, electric toothbrushes can be great in providing better cleans because the electric toothbrush can do the work for you

    • Motivation

We understand that sometimes both children and adults have no motivation in brushing their teeth at all. Switching to an electric toothbrush can create a bit of fun and excitement to cleaning your teeth – especially the ones that play a song while you clean!

Which toothbrush do dentists recommend for children?

It is a good idea to introduce your child to cleaning their teeth from a young age. Even from when their first teeth erupt, a baby will love the soft and soothing feel of a damp wash cloth on their gums. This also will get your baby used to having something wash over their mouth and teeth. This is often a fun thing to do in the bath for your baby – give it to them in their hand and watch them put it straight into their mouth!

When they are a little older and it is safe to do so, introduce your toddler to a small, soft children’s toothbrush. Again this is a great way to start getting them used to the idea of something that will clean their teeth. You can also help and encourage them to use the brush in a cleaning action on the few baby teeth they have at this age. Start teaching a few brushing techniques at this early age.

As children get older (between the ages of 2-6), still look for a toothbrush with soft bristles and a small head. Always supervise brushing, especially at night time, and continue to teach your child the correct brushing technique. Don’t forget to make it fun – let your child pick the colour or character on their toothbrush!

What toothbrush should I use if I have braces?

Keeping your teeth clean while you have orthodontic appliances in place becomes even more important. Food will easily get stuck in the braces and wires, and if it is not cleaned away thoroughly, the food that is left there will cause decay on the tooth surface. This will leave you with perfectly straight teeth, but lots of brown spots and fillings.
There are plenty of toothbrushes available to use efficiently around orthodontic appliances. Look for brushes with a “V” or an indent in the middle. This allows space to clean around and under the brackets, and the longer bristles to get under to the tooth surface. These kinds of brushes are available in both manual brushes and electric toothbrush heads. Flossing under the wire is also important to ensure all food debris is removed from between the teeth.

How often should I change my toothbrush?

Dentists have always recommended to change your toothbrush once the bristles have become worn and show any wear. This is to prevent any excessive damage to your gums. Or otherwise every 3 months – whichever comes first.

Of course if you have any questions, feel free to ask us at your next dentist or active maintenance appointment.