We all know brushing our teeth is essential to good oral hygiene, but did you know that choosing the wrong toothbrush can cause issues? When choosing the right toothbrush, you may not know where to begin. There are so many options available on the market today. The toothbrush head size and bristle hardness are just a couple things to consider along, with choosing a manual or an electric toothbrush. Use this guide to learn how to select the best toothbrush for optimal oral health.
The Importance of Choosing the Right Toothbrush
Brushing twice a day helps prevent cavities, tooth decay and gingivitis. However, if you don’t like the toothbrush you’re using to do the job, you may end up skipping your brushing routine a time or two. The ideal toothbrush for you will be one you like to use and can utilize properly without issue.
Brushing your teeth should not be uncomfortable. When you’re looking at toothbrushes, think about the head size. If you have a smaller mouth, a smaller head will be easier for you to use — it’ll fit your mouth better than larger sizes. Many people like to use a smaller head regardless of their mouth size because this type is easier to move around during brushing to get hard-to-reach spaces. The toothbrush handle should also fit comfortably in your hand and be easy to hold and maneuver.
Whatever toothbrush you choose, remember to replace it — or just the head — every three months. If the bristles begin to lose their original shape before then, you can replace the head.
Manual vs. Electric Toothbrush
You may be wondering if you should choose a manual or electric toothbrush. Both kinds are valuable tools for good oral hygiene. However, each one provides its own set of benefits and cons — explore them all to decide which is right for you. Remember that no matter what kind of toothbrush you choose, brush at least twice a day, every day.
Manual toothbrushes have been around for decades. Although they are not as fancy as electric models, they serve their purpose.
- Pros: Manual toothbrushes can be found almost anywhere, from gas stations to pharmacies. Because they do not require batteries, you can use them anywhere, too. They are generally affordable and typically range from $1 to $3. You might also receive a complimentary toothbrush every six months at your dentist’s visits.
- Cons: Brushing too hard is an issue many dentists recognize. It is found that people brush harder using a manual toothbrush compared to an electric model, which can damage your teeth and gums. It can also be difficult to determine if you have been brushing your teeth long enough due to the lack of a built-in timer. You may need to set a timer in your bathroom to help you keep track. Manual toothbrushes also take more physical work to complete a good brushing compared to electric models.
Electric toothbrushes work with a battery-powered brush head that rotates or vibrates (or both). This configuration allows for much smaller and more precise movements to help remove buildup from teeth and gums as you brush.
- Pros: Studies have shown that electric toothbrushes are excellent for effectively decreasing plaque and gingivitis compared to manual toothbrushes. They do most of the work for the user, so they are especially helpful for people with limited mobility. Some also come with built-in timers to let you know when you have brushed long enough. Electric toothbrushes can also be more fun for kids, giving them an extra incentive to brush their teeth compared to a manual toothbrush.
- Cons: Electric toothbrushes cost significantly more than manual ones. Because they come in a range of options, prices average anywhere from $15 to $250 for those with replaceable heads. The heads usually cost between $10 and $45 for multipacks. Disposable electric toothbrushes can cost between $5 and $8. Using an electric model can get expensive when you need to replace the head or toothbrush every three months or so.
When using electric toothbrushes, it can also be difficult to find the right replacement heads for certain makes. Additionally, the vibration can be a bit bothersome if you don’t like the feeling.
5 Helpful Tips to Consider When Buying a Toothbrush
Now that you have a better understanding of the difference between manual and electric toothbrushes, it’s time to dive further into other toothbrush features. There’s much more to consider besides whether your toothbrush is manual or electric. Think about all the applicable factors before making the final decision.
When you are shopping for a toothbrush, keep these tips in mind to find the perfect one:
1. Choose the Appropriate Toothbrush Head Size and Design
Keep in mind that the head shape does not matter. Whether it’s circular or rectangular, what matters most is how well it fits in your mouth. The ideal shape will suit your individual needs.
It is also important to make sure the toothbrush is the right size to fit in all areas of your mouth, especially teeth way in the back. A toothbrush that’s too big will be uncomfortable to use and prevent you from getting the best clean. Smaller, more compact toothbrushes may be a better option. However, if you have a larger mouth and have no issues with a full-sized toothbrush, larger options can work just as well.
If you want some advice for choosing the right size toothbrush head, ask your dentist for recommendations on head size and shape the next time you visit their office. They can help you determine if you need bristles with a pattern or tapered bristles based on their knowledge of your specific case.
2. Decide Between Hard vs. Soft Bristles
Many people think they need a toothbrush with hard bristles to clean their teeth properly. However, many dentists agree that soft bristles are often a good choice. Toothbrushes with medium and hard bristles can actually damage your teeth and gums by causing issues such as toothbrush abrasion, loss of enamel and gum irritation. These problems are especially true for individuals who brush their teeth too hard.
When selecting a soft-bristled toothbrush, pay attention to the shape of the bristles. An ideal choice will have bristles with rounded tips for gentle brushing. Cheaper toothbrushes do not always have round-tip bristles, which can damage your teeth from the material being too harsh.
3. Look for the Seal of Acceptance and Dentist Recommendations
You can trust a toothbrush brand as being reliable if it is backed by the Alberta Dental Association. Using an approved toothbrush means you can be confident in its effectiveness and safety. Cheaper brushes that have only been approved by government standards can still be of poor quality. Bargain toothbrushes can be unsanitary, tend to shed bristles and do not always have the ideal bristle shape.
Whereas government regulations may be lax in their approval requirements, the Alberta Dental Association’s standards are strict regarding toothbrush quality and performance. Additionally, toothbrushes recommended by your personal dentist can also prove to be better for oral health. As always, ask your dentist for recommendations to get a good start on finding a trusted brand.
4. Choose an Easy-To-Use Brush Handle
Just like with toothbrush heads, the handle you choose can make all the difference. Handles come in various styles for numerous purposes. They can have nonslip grips, flexible necks and angled designs. With so many to choose from, you can easily find the most suitable model for your unique situation. Accessible toothbrush handle options are especially helpful for those with mobility limitations. Individuals with arthritis or other conditions that make it hard to hold a toothbrush can benefit more from accessible brush types.
5. Pick Your Favorite Color
Brushing doesn’t have to be dull — make your time practicing good oral hygiene fun. Toothbrushes come in an endless selection of colors, meaning you can brush your teeth with a personal touch every day. From sophisticated shades like rose quartz to wild colors like neon green and everything in between, you can find toothbrushes in every color of the rainbow to suit your fancy. Once you’ve decided on the most appealing design for your taste, get brushing!
The Benefits of Brushing
The Alberta Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth twice daily with fluoride toothpaste for a least two minutes every time. While many of us know this, we may not fully understand why this practice is so important.
When we eat and drink, layers of food and plaque get left behind and cause bacteria to form. These bacteria feed on leftover sugar and food and produce acids that attack and deteriorate tooth enamel, which is the protective coating of your teeth. Over time, this acid will wear away the enamel and cause cavities in the teeth. Plaque that’s not removed by a dental professional will turn into tartar, which makes it difficult to clean your teeth. Tartar builds up in the gums and can lead to inflammation and gum disease.
Keep in mind that brushing too soon after eating or drinking certain foods can also cause harm. If you consume acidic foods or drinks, do not brush right away — these foods can weaken your tooth enamel. While it may sound like a good idea to get the acids off your teeth as soon as possible, brushing too soon can actually remove your protective enamel.
Proper oral hygiene provides numerous other health benefits in addition to protecting your teeth, including:
- Reduce the chance of a heart attack or stroke: Bacteria from your mouth can make their way into your bloodstream. This phenomenon can increase the risks of a heart attack or stroke. Additionally, a recent study from the University of Toronto has found a clearer reason for why gum disease and heart disease often correlate.
- Prevent or alleviate diabetes: Gum disease makes it difficult for people to control their blood glucose levels. Those with diabetes have a higher chance of gum disease, while those with gum disease have a higher chance of developing diabetes.
- Give birth to a healthy baby: Some studies have linked gum disease to increased chances of premature births and low birth rates. The effects of gum disease may also cause delays in conception and even contribute to impotence.
Brushing your teeth properly removes the layers of food and plaque and prevents serious issues such as cavities, tooth decay and gingivitis. In addition to brushing your teeth, there are other ways to promote good oral health. Some oral hygiene practices to incorporate in your routine include:
- Flossing every day: Floss your teeth daily. Get in the tight spaces in the back and front as best you can. Flossing will keep your gums healthy and help prevent periodontal disease caused by a buildup of plaque and bacteria.
- Using the right toothpaste: Use dentist-recommended toothpaste to ensure you’re getting the proper amount of fluoride. Fluoride is important for protecting teeth enamel from acids.
- Rinsing with mouthwash: Use mouthwash after brushing and flossing your teeth. Doing so will help you reach areas of your teeth and gums that you may have missed and ensure your mouth gets a comprehensive cleaning.
- Eating a healthy diet: Drink the recommended amount of water each day, and eat a healthy diet with limited amounts of sugary foods and beverages. Adults should usually aim for eight glasses of water a day, though this can vary depending on other health factors.
- Replacing your toothbrush: Get a new toothbrush every three months. Replace it sooner if the bristles become splayed or lose their normal shape.
- Scheduling dentist visits: Schedule regular visits with your dentist for checkups, including X-rays and dental cleanings, to stay on top of your oral health.
Good oral hygiene is key to having a healthy mouth and nice smile and keeping other health risks at bay. Keep your teeth clean and healthy by choosing the right toothbrush for your needs, using it regularly and keeping up with your routine dental appointments.
Contact Dental Choice Today for Dental Care
Dental Choice has been dedicated to helping patients improve their dental health for over 25 years. We aim to provide trusted and reliable services for members of your entire family, including children age 2 and older. Our friendly staff strives every day to help kids feel comfortable and at ease during their dental appointments.
We continually seek to provide every patient with pleasant dental care. We want our long-time patients to feel appreciated at every visit, and we warmly welcome new patients. Our dentists are transparent about your dental health and needs so that you can understand the results of your visits. We also work to provide you with the necessary education to help you take care of your oral hygiene at home.
At Dental Choice, we work toward providing dental services at prices you and your family can afford. We keep our services at affordable prices to encourage you to visit — from routine cleanings to cosmetic dentistry. Contact us today for more information on how we can help, or schedule an appointment with us to get started.