There are many different types of toothbrushes – they come in all shapes and sizes, so obviously they must differ somehow. But to the layman, it’s not always apparent what those differences are.
Choosing a toothbrush doesn’t need to be difficult if you know what you’re looking for, and picking the right one for you is a personal experience.
If, like most people, you’ve never given it much thought, here are a few things to consider when it comes to the different types of toothbrushes available on the market.
Bristles come in three main types; soft, medium and hard. Dentists tend to recommend soft bristles, as they are not as harsh on your enamel as the harder type. Soft toothbrushes are also easier on gums and help avoid gum recession.
Toothbrush bristles also come in different shapes and lengths, including flat, domed or rippled. The domed, or rounded bristles are the most recommended as they are more gentle on your teeth, but still remove plaque and unwanted debris. At the end of the day, these differences are small, and you should go with whichever feels right for you.
Head and handle
The size of the toothbrush does also make a difference. Larger heads may look like they would do a better job of cleaning, but in fact they can be less manoeuvrable in your mouth, and harder to reach into nooks and crannies. Smaller toothbrush heads can get around to the sides and backs of your molars more easily, thus doing a better job of cleaning.
It’s also important to pick the right sized toothbrush for the right sized person. Children and teenagers might not have enough room in their mouths for a full-sized brush, which could be uncomfortable and less effective.
The handle of a toothbrush has no effect on the cleaning, but it does play a part in how long you clean for. If it is uncomfortable to hold, brushing will tend to be cut short, especially for children. There are many shapes and designs out there for you to try, but it all comes down to personal choice and how you feel.
Electric or manual toothbrush
Much like Bob Dylan, making the switch to electric isn’t for everyone.
Electric toothbrushes do have their advantages, and when used properly do just as good a job of cleaning your teeth (if not better). Traditional toothbrushes give people a tactile feel of cleaning, which many people prefer, and they are also a lot cheaper.
There are some cases where an electric brush may be preferable. Children often have trouble cleaning their teeth properly, and an electric one may do a better job. They are also better for anyone with dexterity issues, such as arthritis or a weak grip.
It all boils down to your own personal preference; the right type of toothbrush is the one you are most likely to use.
Lifespan of different types of toothbrushes
With all these different types of toothbrushes available, they all have one thing in common – a life expectancy of about three months.
After three months the bristles on your toothbrush begin to fray, losing their integrity and becoming less effective at cleaning. Many brushes now have bristles which change colour, letting you know it’s time to replace them.
When it comes to buying a new toothbrush, you don’t need to go to a specialist store. Most chemists and large supermarkets will have a wide selection of brushes to choose from, or your own dentist will usually have options available.
How we can help
If you come to SDAI, we can help you with any questions or problems you may have with the types of toothbrushes available, brushing your teeth, or which tools are right for the job.
Our dental hygienist Katie has a lot of experience in many areas of dentistry, having worked with general dentists, endodontists, periodontists, orthodontists, oral and maxilla facial surgeons and prosthodontists.
Make an appointment to come see Katie for a clean, and she can show you the best way to brush and prevent tooth decay. She strongly believes that prevention is better than cure, and like everyone here at SDAI, she pledges to value our patients and their needs above all else.
Contact us today if you would like to make an appointment or have any questions for us. Our friendly and professional staff will be happy to help in any way they can.