How to Choose a Toothbrush
Imagine: standing in the dental aisle of your local grocery store, you are confronted with shelves upon shelves of toothbrushes. Each toothbrush looks, more or less, the same. They may come in a variety of colors, softness levels, and some even have batteries, but, for the most part, there’s nothing that distinguishes one from the other nor makes one of the many options jump out as the toothbrush you should buy. Despite all the bells and whistles used by companies to differentiate their dental products from one another, what makes a good toothbrush is actually quite simple…
Toothbrush bristles range from extra soft to hard. Hard bristles are one of the best possible ways to cause gum recession, so steer clear of any brush that offers more than soft bristles. Most dental professionals believe that the softer the bristles, the better. Not only are hard bristles likely to cause gum recession, but they have been linked to damage to both the root surface and protective tooth enamel. For bristles that are even less harmful to your gums, roots, and enamel, look for a soft bristle brush that has bristles with rounded or domed tips, as opposed to rippled, flat, or jagged shapes.
Choosing a Head & Handle
The head of your toothbrush should be small enough to easily reach all surfaces of your teeth, including the sides of teeth and your back teeth. While larger heads are available, they can be cumbersome to use and less effective at reaching all surfaces of your teeth. Generally, the head of your toothbrush should be no more than a half-inch wide and one-inch tall.
Unlike the head of a toothbrush, the best handle is a little more subjective. Non-slip grips, gel grips, flexible necks, and the like are certainly interesting options, but the style of handle isn’t as important as the head and bristles of the brush. As long as the handle is long enough to hold comfortably in your hand and able to reach your back teeth, the feel and style of the handle is entirely up to you.
Manual or Powered Toothbrushes
One of the most frequent questions asked of dental professionals is whether a powered toothbrush is better than a manual/disposable one. The answer is that either is fine, depending on your needs. As long as you are able to reach all surfaces of your teeth with a manual brush, you don’t have to have a powered brush. While both manual and powered brushes are, generally, equally capable of reducing plaque and keeping your gums healthy, studies have shown that a powered rotating oscillation toothbrush, specifically, is more effective than manual toothbrushes. If you have an affliction that causes limited dexterity, such as arthritis, a powered brush can help you clean your teeth more efficiently.
After each use, you should thoroughly rinse your toothbrush with water, being sure to remove any debris or leftover toothpaste before returning the brush to its cup or stand. As for where you store the toothbrush, no one type of holder is better than the other, but what’s around the brush is important. In order to keep bacteria to a minimum, toothbrushes should be able to air-dry and be separated from touching one another. Leaving brushes in closed containers or covers for extended periods of time can speed up the growth of microorganisms, so it is best to store your brush in an open air container, like a cup or stand that can be left on your vanity.
ADA Seal of Approval
If you would like to take the guesswork out of buying a toothbrush, look for products with the ADA Seal of Approval. Whether you use a manual or powered toothbrush, the ADA seal guarantees that the product has been objectively evaluated by an independent body of scientific experts and is as efficient as it claims to be.
As you use your toothbrush, the bristles begin to wear, tear, and fray, leaving you with a brush that is no longer optimal to use for cleaning teeth. While everyone wears toothbrushes down at a different rate, it is generally advisable to replace your manual toothbrush, or the head of your powered toothbrush, every 3-4 months. In addition to regularly replacing your toothbrush every 3-4 months, you should replace your toothbrush after you are sick with a cold or other virus, since germs can stay on the bristles and lead to reinfection.
Brushing with a quality toothpaste is only one aspect of a perfect smile. Flossing every day and having professional cleanings at least twice a year is key to having not only a beautiful smile, but a healthy smile. Your smile is as unique as you are, and we want to help you protect it.
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From the moment you step into our office you’ll quickly realize that this isn’t your average Lexington dentist office. Our mission is to deliver the very best cosmetic and whole health, anti-aging dentistry by creating natural, beautiful and healthy smiles.
We promise to keep customer service and patient comfort as our top priority, all while delivering the very best treatments and procedures available today in any Lexington dentist – whether it’s delivering the perfect smile, reconstructing your whole mouth, or helping you identify or prevent whole health wellness.
We are world class, proudly nestled right here in Lexington, KY. From one of the top 25 dentists in the nation to handpicked teams of doctors, hygienists, surgeons and dental specialists – we create natural, beautiful, and healthy smiles which function with optimal comfort and durability.
Contact us today, and learn more about how we can help you design your perfect smile!