What Toothbrush Should I Use?
When we think of our oral hygiene routine it often begins with a toothbrush. Let us be honest, for some, flossing and mouthwash are optional -even though they should not be- but everyone owns a toothbrush. With some of the earlier versions being made from twigs, they certainly have come a far way and any stroll down the supermarket aisle can prove that. Nowadays, you are spoiled for choice. They come in a variety of colours, sizes, and types (electric or manual) and with an abundance of options, it can be difficult to choose.
Things to consider when choosing your toothbrush
Your toothbrush must be small enough to fit comfortably inside your mouth and reach all areas including those hard-to-reach surfaces (think about the backs of those upper teeth). The toothbrush handle should also be long enough to be held comfortably in your hand.
Perhaps the most important decision is the type of bristles that your toothbrush should have. Typically, there are three types of bristles:
- medium, and
Degree of elasticity allowing delicate gum massaging.
Safe, effective brushing, especially for people with sensitive teeth and gums.
Structured filaments to create unique mouth sensation.
Balance between maximum cleaning and optimum gum protection.
Provides extra roughness to get rid of stubborn plaque build-up.
Usually not recommended as enamel or outer layer of teeth start to erode due to friction caused by everyday use.
Why It’s Important To Choose The Right Bristles
Your teeth are coated in a protective substance called enamel. While enamel is the hardest substance in the body, the Australian Dental Association (ADA) explains that it’s vulnerable to:
Erosion from acidic foods.
Abrasion from aggressive brushing.
Damage from brushing with a hard-bristled toothbrush.
As your tooth enamel wears away, it offers less and less protection to the softer dentine underneath, as well as the delicate pulp and nerves inside the tooth. You might start to experience sensitivity to temperature, touch or sweet foods. Most dental professionals seem to agree that soft bristles are best. This is because excessive pressure or vigorous brushing with a medium or hard toothbrush can damage the gums and wear away enamel causing sensitivity with hot or cold foods and drinks, with cold air, and even when brushing. A soft bristle toothbrush with angled or layered bristles is recommended by the Australian Dental Association for safe and effective brushing.
Electric or Manual
Now this is a big one because opinions remain divided. When the proper technique is used, both manual and electric toothbrushes are effective at removing harmful plaque that causes disease. When the argument is made for electric toothbrushes, some studies say it is more effective at plaque removal, give you a quicker more effective clean as they can move faster than human hands. They are however definitely beneficial for persons who have limited dexterity (like those with arthritis) or mobility and many electric toothbrushes have added features like music, lights for kids, and timers for adults that may motivate them to brush by making the process more fun. It is also easier for patients with orthodontic appliances. However, electric toothbrushes are more expensive and less convenient to move around with so people who travel a lot may not like them.
While manual toothbrushes may have fewer bells and whistles there are still many attractive toothbrushes for kids (princesses, superheroes, you name it) and adults to choose from. You’re in control of the brush speed, motion and pressure which is a great positive for people with sensitive teeth to reduce applied pressure to sensitive teeth and gums. They are also a lot more accessible and affordable than their electric counterpart. So, for this one, it comes down to a matter of personal choice.
Brushing your teeth is not only critical for oral health but for your overall health and wellbeing (poor oral hygiene has been associated with cardiovascular disease, pregnancy complications, and diabetes) and the first step is getting yourself the right toothbrush. Contact us if you have any more questions about which brush might be right for you. Happy brushing everyone!
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