Your toothbrush sees a lot of action. While it may seem logical to replace your toothbrush once the bristles start to fray, most dentists recommend that you replace it every three months and after any illness.
There are many factors that you should consider when looking for a new toothbrush. Choosing the right toothbrush guarantees that you will be able to brush your teeth effectively and maintain proper oral hygiene. If you’re unsure about where to start, here are five tips to consider.
The Importance of Finding the Right Toothbrush
You may think that all toothbrushes brush the same, so it shouldn’t matter which one you use. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. In fact, different toothbrushes offer different features. Most of the time, picking the best toothbrush comes down to what feels the most comfortable to you.
The most important part about using the right toothbrush is using it correctly. Make sure you brush for at least two to three minutes twice a day and brush your teeth correctly. This means placing your brush at a 45-degree angle and gently brushing all surfaces of your teeth and gums.
Brushing correctly with the right toothbrush helps preserve oral health and reduces the risk of cavities, gingivitis, tartar build-up, and other significant dental problems.
How to Choose the Right Toothbrush
Ideally, you want a toothbrush that fits comfortably in your hand, effectively removes bacteria and plaque from your teeth, and can reach the farthest crevices of your mouth. Here are some other features to look for when shopping for a new toothbrush.
1. Size of Toothbrush Head
The size of the toothbrush head can greatly affect brushing. Toothbrush heads come in various sizes, and you can customize them based on how big your mouth is. If you have a larger mouth, you may need a larger toothbrush head size. Smaller mouths will need smaller sizes to brush effectively, which is especially important for children learning to brush their teeth correctly.
The proper head size should brush one to two teeth at a time. The most common and ideal toothbrush head size is one inch tall and half an inch wide. This size allows you to clean all angles of your teeth and maximize cleaning on all hard-to-reach places. Keep in mind that larger brush heads can make it more challenging to reach smaller nooks and crannies in your mouth.
What ultimately matters is what’s the most comfortable in your mouth. The right toothbrush head size should effectively clean all your teeth and be able to reach the farthest edges and crevices of your gums.
2. Type of Bristles
There are many different types of toothbrush bristles that can change the overall experience with your toothbrush. For both manual and electric toothbrushes, bristles typically come in three different options: soft, medium, and hard.
Soft nylon is always the best toothbrush bristle material. If you tend to push a lot or brush too hard, softer bristles are a better option. It’s also better to buy a brush with rounded bristles, especially if you have sensitive gums. Sharp, straight bristles have jagged tips and edges that can lead to gum infection and inflammation.
Medium and hard bristles can cause damage over time to your gums, root surfaces, and enamel. If you brush too hard with tough bristles, you can cause significant gum damage that could lead to receding gums and exposure to the tooth root. Receding gums cause increased sensitivity to cold and heat from certain foods and drinks.
3. Consider the Grip
It’s easier to brush your teeth for the recommended amount of time if you’re comfortable holding the brush. The toothbrush handle should be easy to grip, and the handle should be long enough to fit comfortably in your hand. If your hand or wrist ever feel awkward when you’re trying to brush your teeth, then you’re probably not using the right toothbrush.
4. Check for the ADA Seal
Always buy a brush that’s been approved by the American Dental Association (ADA). These toothbrushes go through strict testing to ensure that they will safely and effectively clean your mouth. Look for the ADA seal of approval on the package for both manual and electric toothbrushes.
The ADA ensures that toothbrushes have a sturdy handle grip, safe bristle tips, and a brush head proven to reduce plaque and treat early stages of gum disease. The ADA also tests the disposable brush heads for electric toothbrushes to ensure they are just as safe and efficient.
A toothbrush with the ADA seal may be more expensive, but the price is worth it since it’s guaranteed to be more effective than those without it.
5. Manual vs. Electric Toothbrushes
Choosing between a manual and an electric toothbrush ultimately depends on personal preference. Both options are great at cleaning your teeth effectively. When deciding between the two, you’ll want to consider what feels the most comfortable to you and what can help you brush with proper technique.
Electric toothbrushes are great at helping you brush for the recommended two minutes because many of them have built-in timers. They can also be slightly more effective in reducing plaque and the risk of gingivitis. Electric toothbrushes are better options for those who need assistance with brushing their teeth, such as those with limited mobility in their hands, those with braces, or those who have uneven teeth surfaces.
Manual toothbrushes are usually more affordable, and you may even receive a free one from your dentist during your regular check-ups. The choice between a manual and an electric toothbrush also depends on the cost. Electric toothbrushes have more of an upfront expense, and you also have to buy replacement disposable bristle heads. However, if an electric toothbrush helps you brush your teeth more effectively, it’s probably worth the extra money.
Whatever toothbrush you choose, make sure to replace it every three months, especially if bristles become frayed, discolored, matted, or worn.
If you’re still unsure about what toothbrush is best for you, you can always consult your dentist for advice. Rhoades Family Dentistry can help you find the toothbrush that’s right for each member of your family. Contact us today at 913-782-8900 to schedule an appointment.