When it comes to brushing your teeth, we always talk about how often to brush, how to brush, and for how long, but we rarely discuss what you should be using to brush your teeth.
While the type of toothbrush you use is ultimately a personal choice, many factors go into selecting a toothbrush that can enhance the efficiency of removing plaque and food particles. Read on in this blog from Burke Dental Group to find out which toothbrush specs matter most.
The age-old question – is it better to brush using a traditional hand-held toothbrush or an electric one? Well, the answer is a little more complicated than definitively saying it’s one or the other. Both manual and electric toothbrushes have their advantages and disadvantages.
Manual toothbrushes have the advantage of being affordable, accessible, easy to use and when used properly, are just as effective as electric toothbrushes. Many dental offices hand out manual toothbrushes for free, which makes them more accessible.
Electric toothbrushes, on the other hand, take a lot of the work out of brushing your teeth so that you’re more likely to thoroughly brush all of your tooth surfaces and work into the smaller crevices without a lot of additional effort. If you have dexterity issues, an electric toothbrush can be a huge help.
Studies have shown that rotating-oscillating electric toothbrushes are more effective at removing plaque than manual toothbrushes but this could be because people are more likely to brush longer and more thoroughly with these toothbrushes. They also have the drawbacks of being more expensive and difficult to find specific parts for replacement.
When it comes to bristle-firmness, the jury is in on this one – only ever use soft bristle toothbrushes. Avoid hard bristles like the plague because they will strip your enamel and damage your restorations, leaving you more vulnerable to cavities.
The shape size is a little less important though most dental experts agree that a smaller toothbrush head is more effective and precise to reach the crevices in the back of your mouth which are prone to harboring a lot of food particles and bacteria.
Smaller heads make it easier to reach these areas. Lots of toothbrushes come in big rectangular shapes and while this will cover a lot of surface area, we recommend opting for a diamond shape to work into the grooves of the rear molars.
Toothbrush materials vary from ABS plastics, rubber, nylon, or even bamboo in toothbrushes that are marketed as being made from natural materials. This aspect of your toothbrush is not as important. Use whatever you prefer.
The toothbrush you use doesn’t matter as much as thoroughly brushing your teeth regularly. As long as you’re using a soft bristle toothbrush twice a day for 2 to 3 minutes and brushing with fluoride toothpaste, you should be in good shape.
Don’t forget to floss! This will prevent oral health problems like tooth decay and gum disease in the long term which reduces your need for invasive and costly restorative treatment.
Dentists recommend manual soft bristle toothbrushes due to their affordability, accessibility, and ease of use. They’re not complicated or hard to find the parts to like an electric toothbrush, but if these aspects don’t bother you and you find that you can brush your teeth much more easily using an electric toothbrush then, by all means, do that.
Ultimately, dentists want you to use a toothbrush that you’ll want to use. As long as you follow general guidelines like avoiding hard bristles, then the most important thing is brushing properly and consistently.
It can also help to let your child pick out their own toothbrush to get them involved in their own oral health care. Whether that means selecting a bright pink toothbrush or one with Spiderman on it, whatever your child likes is preferable because they’re more likely to want to use it.
At Burke Dental Group, we can provide you with resources and educational material about how to brush and what to use. No matter how much you brush and floss, it’s important to attend regular preventative dental appointments. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Amanda Burke.