Brushing your teeth is such an important part of a daily routine and is something taught to us all at a young age. However, many of us have never been guided on what to choose for this regular daily practice. We need to know which toothbrush types to consider!
Toothbrush designs vary in ways that impact true effectiveness in protecting our teeth and gums from disease and damage. And believe it or not, brushing with some models can potentially cause more harm than good.
Below, we detail some of the most important factors to consider when selecting the right toothbrush.
ADA Approved Toothbrush Types or Not?
One of our most important recommendations is to use an ADA-approved toothbrush. Medical research links poor dental hygiene to severe health complications like heart disease or stroke. Add in possible oral complications from bad teeth — cavities, root canals, bridges, tooth extractions — and it’s not hard to make a case for using a quality toothbrush.
The ADA is a highly regarded authority on the subject of dental care. When they put their official acceptance on a toothbrush, they’re assuring the public that the product is safe and effective.
Manual or Electric?
We will say this right now, manual vs. electric really comes down to preference. An electric model has rotating or vibrating bristles that clean off plaque as you move them across your teeth. Manual options accomplish the same task, but you have to apply a little more pressure and make the multiple brief strokes necessary to clean your teeth.
Automated bristle movements are the main difference here, but these don’t matter, according to the American Dental Association (ADA). Whether you use a manual or an electric toothbrush, the effect is the same.
If you prefer a manual brush, you can get your teeth and gums clean if you brush twice every day for two minutes each time, making sure to brush the inside and outside of each tooth and along your gum lines.
If your dentist or endodontist thinks you’re doing well with a manual toothbrush, you don’t need to switch to a powered model. But some people prefer the automation and comfort of a powered toothbrush. Some versions of the electric toothbrush may include extra features like “smart” tracking and analysis of your brushing habits. If you can use this feedback to improve your personal or family’s oral hygiene between dental appointments, a smart toothbrush may be a great option for you. Again, it all comes down to preference.
Soft or Hard Bristles?
Something else to keep in mind when looking at toothbrush types is the type of bristle itself. Toothbrushes are available with bristles in soft, medium, and hard, and there are also several bristle shapes to pick from, too. For most patients, a soft-bristled toothbrush is better. This removes plaque and prevents gum recession from brushing too hard. However, if you do not have sensitive teeth but struggle with plaque buildup, medium stiffness may be better.
Bristle shape is less important. You can find brushes with flat, angled, rippled, or dome-shaped bristles. All work fairly well, so this is just a matter of personal preference. Flat styles do better with front teeth, while angled or rippled styles can help clean molars better. Try out a few different designs to find out which style makes it easiest to brush your teeth.
Does Brush Handle Matter?
Brush handle design comes down to ergonomics. The more comfortable you are with your brush, the more effectively you can use it to clean your teeth. Common brush handle designs include:
- Indented: These handles are contoured on the sides to provide a firmer grip. The design improves toothbrush handling and control, making it ideal for adults and kids.
- Soft Thumb Position: Whichever way you hold your brush, your thumb plays a key role. Most ergonomic handles have soft rubber areas for the thumb position for comfortable handling.
- Offset Head: With this style, the handle and bristle tips are on the same plane when brushing. It makes it easier to maneuver your toothbrush into and around the mouth.
- Angled Head: These handles allow better access into hard-to-reach areas of your mouth, including inner surfaces of your molars.
- Straight Handle: This design doesn’t offer angular enhancements for better mouth access, so you’d need a proper technique to use it effectively. It’s probably not the best handle style for small children.
Additional Brushing Tips
Good brushing habits are necessary to keep your teeth clean, free of disease-causing plaque. Here are some practical guidelines to help you establish a highly effective oral hygiene routine:
- Put your toothbrush into your mouth at a 45-degree angle against your gum line.
- With smooth, back-and-forth movements, clean the outer surface of front upper and lower teeth.
- Reach for the back molars, brushing their exterior and chewing surfaces.
- Tilt the brush vertically to clean the inner surfaces of your teeth with gentle up-and-down movements.
- Brush your tongue.
- Replace your toothbrush every four months.
- Be sure to go to your dentist or endodontist for regular cleanings.
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As always, we want to be here to answer any questions you may have. If your brushing routine seems to be falling flat or you think you need to try out new toothbrush types, give us a call today at (719) 599-7665 or be sure to schedule an appointment today!