While regular dental appointments are necessary for good oral hygiene, everyone should use floss and mouthwash daily while brushing twice or between meals. When you go to the store to buy a new toothbrush, you must consider the right tool for the job. Toothbrushes can have soft to hard bristles, can be manual or electric, and come in a variety of specialty shapes. Read on to learn more about making an informed decision about what you need in a toothbrush.
Basic Toothbrush Options
When you’re looking for a toothbrush, there are some basic concerns to consider. Besides finding one in your favorite color, some considerations include:
Manual or electric
Today’s dentists recommend using an electric toothbrush because they are scientifically proven to clean more effectively than traditional brushes. However, some people will stick to a manual one because of habit or the lower cost. If you leave your electric toothbrush at home while traveling, a manual toothbrush will serve in the meantime.
The size of the brush
You need a toothbrush the proper size for your mouth. If your toothbrush is hitting your back upper molars when you brush the lower molars beneath them, that probably means your brush is too big. Youth toothbrushes are a better fit for many adults.
The hardness of the bristles
Stiff, hard bristles are to be avoided. Though it might seem that they could do a better job of cleaning the teeth, they are very harsh on the gums. This can weaken your teeth by causing a receding gumline. Softer bristles are preferred because they are much gentler on the enamel and gumline.
A Toothbrush for Your Unique Oral Health Situation
Here are some considerations for people with more specific needs.
Bleeding, inflamed, irritated gums
Gingivitis is inflammation of the gums, and it puts you at risk for developing periodontal disease. A good toothbrush for inflamed gums will have ultra-soft bristles to prevent further irritation. The head will also be small so it can get into hard-to-reach areas while cleaning away plaque.
Patients with mild or advanced periodontal disease have already lost bone mass between and around the teeth. This results in the deepening of the pits between the gums and teeth, making it hard for normal bristles to reach. A good toothbrush in these conditions will have long bristles with a fine taper to reach between the teeth and into those evasive areas.
Braces make cleaning the teeth more complicated because it’s harder to get under the wires and around the brackets. A good toothbrush for the orthodontically inclined has extra-soft bristles in a configuration of overlapping V-shapes to get into those cramped spaces.
There are also toothbrushes specialized for oral health concerns not listed here. You should talk to your dentist about what toothbrush would be the optimal choice for your dental situation. Brushing your teeth on a frequent basis is crucial to keeping your smile bright, beautiful, and healthy for a lifetime, so you’ll want the right tool for your needs.
About the Author
Dr. Dennis E. Stansbury earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery at Baylor College of Dentistry in Dallas. His career as a dental professional spans more than four decades, and he is a member of the American Dental Association, the Texas Dental Association, and the Southwest Academy of Restorative Dentistry. His practice provides high-quality services including preventive, restorative, cosmetic, and emergency dentistry. If you want to know more about what toothbrush is right for you, contact him at his website or dial (903) 561-1122.