Today we go back to basics with our toothbrush selection guide. First let us assure you, not all toothbrushes are created equal. The toothbrush aisle is packed with different varieties all touting various marketing slogans, and unfortunately not all of them are worth using. But not to worry, figuring out how to choose a toothbrush is quite easy. We’ll help guide you to the right toothbrush for your needs and cut through the nonsense. So let’s go toothbrush shopping!
First and foremost, the only type of toothbrush we recommend is one with soft bristles. There is a very good reason for this. Brushes with harder bristles can actually damage your enamel or gums, especially if patients have the habit of brushing too hard. There is a misconception that harder bristles will clean better or remove more plaque than soft bristles, but this is simply not true. Soft bristles are the best tool for safely cleaning your teeth and removing plaque.
Next let’s talk about bristle shape. This is similar to choosing a soft bristle brush. You want gently rounded bristles that won’t damage your teeth or gums. So those brushes with sharp angles are a no go. When it comes to the basics of how to choose a toothbrush, the two most important factors are bristle softness and shape. The gentler the better!
However there is one last big point we don’t want to overlook, and that is ADA (American Dental Association) approval. If it doesn’t have the ADA seal of approval on it, we recommend buying something else. The ADA maintains standards that manufacturers have to adhere to, and if you choose a product that is not ADA-approved, it could be potentially harmful for your teeth. Best not to chance it!
Of course there are other factors to consider when evaluating how to choose a toothbrush. Head shape is another aspect to pay attention to as you shop. There are plenty of stylish, colorful designs out there today, and sometimes the shape of the toothbrush head can be a little radical. Truly this part is more a matter of personal preference. How does the brush head feel in your mouth? Is it awkward or oversized? Then it’s not the right model for you, and unfortunately you won’t learn that until after you purchase it. The best test is to make sure the brush can effectively clean the back of your molars. If it doesn’t fit back there, then you’ll need to seek out a smaller brush. It’s best not to continue to use the brush if it doesn’t work for you. Time to head back to the store and try again.
Handle style is the other extra factor to consider in our guide on how to choose a toothbrush. This is almost a non-factor, as any handle material will get the job done no problem. However non-slip materials can certainly help you maintain your grip, and most toothbrushes come with this feature these days. You can also opt for natural, compostable materials like bamboo, but just make sure it is still ADA approved and has the proper bristle type.
One marketing technique some manufacturers use is to call their brushes “whitening” as if they contribute to whiter teeth. However this is more empty marketing than an actual benefit. While yes some brushes are designed to remove surface stains, using them can be risky as they are more abrasive and can end up harming your enamel. Truly the only way to dramatically whiten your teeth is to use whitening strips or come into the office for whitening treatments. For more information, read our article Does In Office Whitening Work?
A Word On Electric Toothbrushes
An electric toothbrush can be a good upgrade for some patients, but we also recognize that some patients simply cannot afford one right now. While yes studies show that an electric toothbrush can clean better than a manual one, it is much more important to practice good brushing habits and to choose a soft bristle brush that doesn't damage your teeth. There are also some cheaper vibrating manual brushes out there, but generally it's better to stick to a reliable manual brush or upgrade to a professional electric toothbrush. If you'd like to learn more about electric toothbrush recommendations, ask your hygenist or dentist at your next checkup.
How To Choose A Toothbrush - Final Thoughts
Well there you have it, choosing the right toothbrush is a little more complicated than you probably thought, but it's still quite easy! Just remember soft, rounded bristles and ADA seal of approval and you're good to go. Or you can schedule your next checkup with Grace & Leedy Family Dentistry today and we'll give you a free toothbrush when you come in for the appointment. Now that's a nice extra perk. You can't be clean teeth and a new toothbrush!