Brush and floss every day! It’s a refrain you hear for most of your life: from your dentist, from dental commercials, from your parents (hopefully!) We’ve all heard it before, but it bears repeating: regularly brushing your teeth is one of the single most beneficial things for your dental health.
But not all toothbrushes are created equal, and these days they have all kinds of features: angled tips, partial rubber bristles, ergonomic handles…where do you even start? Thankfully the fundamentals of buying a toothbrush are easy to grasp. Here’s our guide.
Toothbrush bristles come in a variety of textures that determine the stiffness of the bristles. Typically, you can choose between soft, medium and hard. The choice is easy: you should almost always choose soft bristles. Firm bristles can actually wear down your enamel, and they don’t play nicely with your soft gums.
So…why do firmer bristles even exist? Dentures, for one! Since dentures are fake anyway, the scouring action of firmer bristles is great for cleaning them up. Sometimes your dentist may also recommend them for deep stains or plaque.
There are a lot of differences in toothbrush heads, but the factor that matters most is size. It may be tempting to pick up a large-headed toothbrush; after all, it makes sense that more surface area equals more cleaning power, right?
But in reality, smaller toothbrush heads – about half an inch wide and one inch tall – are more effective. The compact size lets them get into smaller spaces in your mouth such as the sides and backs of your molars.
Manual vs. Electric
The research is pretty clear: electric toothbrushes are more effective than manual ones. One study showed that three months of electric toothbrush use decreased plaque buildup by 21 percent! But an electric toothbrush isn’t easy mode, as you still have to brush for the right amount of time and be sure to guide it into the right places. Some models are also quite expensive, and replacement heads are rarely standardized.
The venerable manual toothbrush has been effective for many years, and remains so today. Just be careful not to brush too hard and to rinse it thoroughly after every use.
In addition to brushing and flossing, you should get your teeth professionally cleaned twice annually! Klooster Family Dentistry provides this and many more services to our patients across the Triangle. Contact us today to schedule your appointment!