It has been drilled into our daily routines since childhood: brush at least twice a day with a high-quality toothbrush and floss regularly to keep those pearly whites sparkling. We were told consistent oral care combined with regular visits to the dentist would lead to a lifetime of cavity-free teeth and healthy gums.
Choosing the right toothbrush may have seemed simple back then, but today there is an enormous array of choices. Hard bristle heads, soft ones, long bristle heads, curved ones, orthodontic styles, ones for sensitive teeth and gums. You name it, they have created it.
But do you know what type of toothbrush was best for YOUR mouth? It’s important to know which brush head meets your personal hygiene needs because what you select can significantly affect your results.
Many dentists and orthodontists tout the deep cleaning benefits of a powered toothbrush. This mechanical, pulsating brush can help break up plaque and help prevent gingivitis. The oscillating bristles also cup each tooth making it efficient in reaching those hard-to-reach areas. While more expensive than a typical, disposable toothbrush, experts agree the powered toothbrush offers numerous oral hygiene benefits. Powered toothbrushes are also recommended for people who lack dexterity or struggle with arthritis.
If you have decided the manual, disposable brush is for you, make sure you purchase just the right size and bristle for your personal needs.
•Brush head sizes
Toothbrush heads come in all sizes, from small, compact styles to long ones. You should choose a brush that is comfortable to handle and allows you to access all the surfaces of your teeth easily. A typical toothbrush has a head a half-inch wide and one inch tall. People with smaller mouths or sensitive teeth should make sure they select the one that easily reaches the sides and backs of molars.
Not only is the size of your toothbrush head important, but so is the type of bristle you select. Most bristles come in extra-soft, soft, medium or hard nylon bristle varieties. Most people find a softer bristle the most comfortable choice. Depending on the condition of your mouth and your brushing habits, a hard brush could actually damage your protective tooth enamel, damage gums as well as the root surface. Dentists often suggest you select bristles with rounded tips to further protect from abrasion. Some toothbrushes are also available with a diagonal pattern of bristles to help clean the sides of the teeth along the gum line or a cup shape to clean around teeth.
Orthodontic brushes are available for people with braces specially-designed to help remove plaque from braces and teeth using a v-shaped bristle.
Whether you select a powered or manual toothbrush, it’s important to purchase a quality product that will help keep your mouth healthy for the long haul. Look for a product that has earned the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal of Approval. If you aren’t sure which brush is best for your oral hygiene needs, ask your dentist. And most importantly, make sure you remember to brush.