This is a question we get asked regularly, and a great question. I can’t think of another product that has as many variations and promotions of the latest greatest design. So let’s simplify it, as there is no need to be as complicated as the promoters are making it.
Soft, Medium or Hard Bristles?
Soft. Only soft or extra soft/sensitive. Anything medium or hard is too hard. Using a harder tooth brush damages the gums and tooth tissue. Gums will recede making the tooth appear longer (which makes you look older). The root surface is exposed which is softer than enamel so will wear faster creating sensitive areas and grooves. The harder tooth brush will also wear the outer enamel layer away faster. Enamel is the white layer on our teeth. As this becomes thinner, teeth become more yellow as the dentine below is more exposed (again aging your smile). Gums and tooth tissue will not come back once they have gone. So protect the gums and teeth with a soft tooth brush.
If your toothbrush bristles look squashed out, you are brushing too hard and are damaging your gums and teeth.
A smaller toothbrush head is better. Look for ones only slightly larger than a child’s toothbrush. You will find a huge array of large toothbrush heads at the supermarket, but these are simply too big to get around the mouth.
No. Soft bristles and small head are all you need.
Electric tooth brushes?
Yes, a great investment. Prices have come down significantly and even the cheapest ones are a good option. Oral B/Braun have always made a great electric tooth brush.
When compared to the average tooth brusher these will do a significantly better job cleaning. They have a nice small head and clean really well. In fact when you don’t use your electric toothbrush and use the manual one instead, generally you notice a much furrier feeling.
Be gentle with an electric toothbrush. It will wear teeth much faster if used with too much pressure. Always ensure you use a soft head or sensitive head.
Additional features you may want to consider are a timer and a pressure sensor.
These are a nice addition if you are not a flosser. They get in between the teeth where the toothbrush won’t. However if you are a flosser, they are not necessary.
How often do you replace toothbrushes?
The recommendation is change them with the seasons. More frequently will not hurt.
If you have been ill, replace them. Avoid sharing toothbrushes.
Rinse after use. Allow to dry between uses. If possible keep in a drawer or cupboard. Also, if your toilet is in the same room as the toothbrush, remember to put the toilet lid down when flushing. Yes it is true, there are a lot of airborne particles that are best not to end up on your toothbrush!
In summary – keep it simple – small head, soft bristles, electric tooth brush if you can.