Do you use the Right Toothbrush?

It is fairly common for people to think that a toothbrush is just a toothbrush and it doesn’t matter which kind you use, but in reality each person should carefully select their toothbrush. There are many things to look for when selecting a tooth brush.

What to look for in a toothbrush:

The first thing to note is that a toothbrush should be replaced roughly every 1-3 months. Doing this will ensure the quality of the bristles and their effectiveness of removing plaque from your teeth.

Most people have varying sized teeth. This is something to consider when buying a toothbrush; how big your teeth are. If your teeth are small and your brush head is large then you will likely rub your gums with the bristles causing irritation or even bleeding. If this is the case switch to a smaller brush head. A smaller brush head will also make it easier to get into the smaller spaces between teeth for deeper cleaning.

Another thing to consider is the firmness or stiffness of the bristles. Some people may prefer or require firmer bristles but generally speaking many dentists agree that softer bristles work better for removing plaque in a gentle manner that won’t damage the enamel of the tooth.

The handle of the tooth brush is also important. Choosing a handle that feel comfortable in your hand will actual improve your ability to clean your teeth. If you hold your toothbrush and it feels uncomfortable you will likely brush improperly and less often.

Electric tooth brushes are great alternatives to standard toothbrushes. There are countless brands and styles to choose from. When it comes to using an electric toothbrush a consultation with your dentist will help narrow down the choices. You may have specific needs that not every toothbrush can provide for you and knowing about these needs is essential to taking care of your teeth.

Manual vs Electric Toothbrush

Electric Toothbrushes: The Pros

One of the major pros of electric toothbrushes is that they make it easier to ensure proper brushing techniques. As electric toothbrushes generate more brush strokes than manual brushes, they are able to remove more plaque than manual toothbrushes. All electric toothbrushes offer an orthodontic specific brush head which cleans around braces better than manual brushes. Most, if not all, electric toothbrushes have timers built in that help you brush for the recommended two minutes. Some also have features that alert you if you are brushing too hard. These features are all designed to optimize a patient’s brushing habits. In addition, larger brush handles are easier to use for people with medical conditions that limit manual dexterity.

Electric Toothbrushes: The Cons

One of the largest arguments people have against electric toothbrushes is the cost. They do cost more than manual toothbrushes, but for the better care they provide there is added value. Many times Oral-B or Sonicare will offer rebates on their toothbrushes to help bring the cost down. Traveling with electric toothbrushes is also more difficult as they are bulkier and harder to replace if forgotten. Some people report that electric toothbrushes create a tickling sensation that they don’t enjoy. This sensation is often temporary and is a sign that they weren’t previously brushing correctly. The more the electric toothbrush is used the healthier the teeth and gums become and this reduces the tickling sensation.

Manual Toothbrushes: The Pros

A manual toothbrush, when used properly will keep your teeth clean and stimulate your gums. With the wide variety of manual toothbrushes on the market, they are easy to find and inexpensive. They are easy to travel with and can be replaced quickly if forgotten. Also, manual toothbrushes are easier for teaching children how to brush their teeth.

Manual Toothbrushes: The Cons

With the wide variety of manual toothbrushes available, there is often confusion over which one to choose. Many people just use the toothbrush given to them by their dental professional at their biannual hygiene appointment and don’t change their toothbrush as often as they should. Other common problems with manual toothbrushes include not brushing long enough and applying too much pressure when brushing.

In the grand scheme of oral hygiene, using either a manual or an electric toothbrush is better than using no toothbrush at all. Any toothbrush, when used incorrectly can cause damage to enamel and gum tissue, by using an electric toothbrush it is more likely that correct brushing habits will be achieved. At our Grand Rapids dental office we recommend electric toothbrushes for all of our patients. We keep abreast of the rebate offers available to our patients and make sure to get them the best value for their electric toothbrush purchase

According to the Academy of General Dentistry, the best toothbrush that you can buy is the one that you will actually use. That’s it. Yes, it’s really that simple. While both electric and manual toothbrushes have some pros and cons, the bottom line is which one you will use. The American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth at least twice a day for two minutes.