Yes, you heard right! Not all toothbrushes are created equally. Picking the appropriate toothbrush for your personal oral health needs can become confusing. Although the type or brand of toothbrush that you choose is not nearly as important as HOW you brush your teeth, this task can nevertheless be daunting. So, the next time you are standing in the huge aisle at the grocery store trying to decide which brush to buy, here are a few easy to remember tips to ease your shopping experience:
- Any toothbrush that you decide on should always have soft or extra soft bristles. Medium bristles may cause erosion of the gums, leading to recession. Recession can be the culprit of increased temperature sensitivity as well as the appearance of elongated teeth. Remember, the stiffness of the bristles does not result in cleaner teeth. Rather, the technique in which you brush your teeth leads to a cleaner, healthier smile (which we will touch on later in this article).
- Secondly, consider if motivation to brush correctly is a factor. Studies have shown that the efficacy between manual and electric toothbrushes does not result in a better clean. However, electric toothbrushes have nifty timers and pressure sensitive handles that allow the user to not only brush for a full two minutes, but also signal if too much pressure is being used. This can help prevent unnecessary recession, as mentioned above, and make brushing your teeth easier.
- Next, I encourage you to consider how big the actual brush head is. A brush head that can span the length of about 1-2 teeth is often ideal. This is because the appropriate brush head size should be able to adapt to the two teeth adjacent to each other, following the curvature of the human dental arch. This will result in less plaque and bacteria missed.
- Lastly, toothbrushes are often not replaced enough, resulting in an ineffective clean.
Always replace your brush when/after being sick (such as a cold or flu). Once the bristles have begun to fray
utwards or appear worn, they are no longer effective. Electric replacement brush heads have a blue dye that reaches the tips of the bristles. Once the blue dye recedes to ¾’s the way down, the bristles are signalling that it is time to replace this head. To the right is what this looks like:
I hope that the next time you are conquering the toothbrush aisle, these easy tips come to mind. These same principals can be applied to buying children’s toothbrushes, as well as mediating other factors (such as people undergoing orthodontic treatment).
As mentioned at the start of this article, the technique used to brush your teeth is as important as the toothbrush itself. To the left is an easy to follow step-by-step photo guide to help you brush up on your skills.
Happy brushing! I’m sure your friendly neighborhood hygienist will be pleased with your newfound knowledge!
Braeside Dental Centre