When it comes to caring for your teeth, choosing the right toothbrush is essential for maintaining good oral hygiene. The most important element of oral hygiene is flossing and brushing your teeth twice daily. From the time we’re young, we’re taught that using a toothbrush regularly is the best way to keep our teeth and gums healthy. But what type of toothbrush is best?
Types of Toothbrushes
Toothbrushes are personal, which is why they’re available in a variety of shapes, sizes and bristles types. The toothbrush bristles are in fact what keeps your teeth clean and bacteria-free, so choosing between hard and soft toothbrushes is crucial to your overall teeth and gum’s health.
The primary benefit of having a toothbrush with hard bristles is that they tend to last longer than those with soft bristles. However, evidence suggests very few of us should be using hard toothbrushes. Like many people, you may think medium or hard bristles clean teeth more thoroughly, but this is not necessarily true. Firm bristles can wear away at the enamel on your teeth and can also cause damage to your gums, causing your gum line to recede. Your gums are designed to protect your teeth, and when hard bristles push them back, they expose the roots, making teeth more vulnerable to decay. Receding gums can also make the teeth more sensitive to hot and cold foods.
Soft toothbrushes are actually more effective at removing food and plaque than hard-bristle toothbrushes, and they are gentler on your teeth and gums. Soft-bristled brushes are best for removing plaque and debris from your teeth and along the gum line as well as they aren’t abrasive enough to cause erosion to the enamel. While a toothbrush with soft bristles cannot cause actual damage to your teeth or gums, you must use a good brushing technique to ensure plaque and debris is removed from your teeth.
How Often Should I Replace My Toothbrush?
You should replace your toothbrush when it begins to show wear or every two or three months. It’s also important to change toothbrushes after you’ve been sick, as the bristles can collect bacteria and germs, leading to reinfection.
Choosing The Right Toothbrush For You
There are a lot of choices out there when it comes to purchasing a toothbrush, so it can be difficult to know what to look for. OralB has put together a list of some general tips on what to look for:
- Small brush head and well-designed bristles: Choose a toothbrush with a small brush head and a bristle design that helps you to get to the hard-to-reach places of your mouth.
- Soft bristles: your toothbrush should have soft bristles that are gentle on your teeth and gums. If you have recessions, you may want to consider an extra-soft bristled toothbrush.
- Multi-angled bristles: Multi-angled bristles are designed to increase contact with tooth surfaces between teeth, removing plaque even from tough spots. That’s why angled bristles are superior to straight ones.
- Comfortable handle: Many toothbrushes have non-slip grips which make them easy to use even if wet. Additionally, the handles on many Oral-B toothbrushes have been modeled based on research into the five different ways that people hold their toothbrush while brushing.
Once your teeth are straightened by braces, it’s much easier to reach plaque on and between your teeth. But while wearing braces, plaque and food particles have more places to accumulate and become trapped. So be prepared to spend twice as much time on your oral care while you have braces to prevent the risk of developing gum disease or tooth decay. Alternatively, consider an electric toothbrush, they can be more effective at removing plaque than regular brushes and most have a timer to ensure you brush for the right amount of time.
Bottom line is that if you choose a toothbrush that is the right size and style of bristles for your oral care needs, you’ll be able to effectively clean your teeth and help prevent bacterial build-up and the development of plaque.
Still unsure about what toothbrush to buy? Speak to your orthodontist or dentist. If you have more questions, please contact us or phone (07) 3349 5266.