Tips for Choosing a Toothbrush

Type of bristles

Although there are hard bristle variety toothbrushes available, it is usually recommended to use a soft bristle toothbrush, because of a couple reasons. Firstly, many people don’t follow a proper toothbrushing technique, and so the hard toothbrush bristles tend to remove the surface enamel layer of the tooth, abrading the surface, and secondly the hard bristles damage the gingiva and pull it down towards to root, which leads to sensitivity of the teeth while drinking cold liquids, even water.  On the contrary, the soft bristles are easy on the teeth, and they can reach the deeper areas pretty easily. The nylon bristled brushes are commonly used, but everything still depends on how you brush your teeth.  The design of the bristles usually recommended is the zig-zag one with the curvy arrangement, which makes the longer bristle enter the areas between the teeth, and clean out the food debris from those areas..


Size of Brush Head

The Size of the toothbrush head should not be very large, and not too small.  It should be good enough to reach all the areas in the mouth, and cover 1-2 teeth at a time.  According to the American Dental Association, the recommended toothbrush head size is 1-inch in length and 1/2-inch in width.


Type of Handle

The type of toothbrush handle should not be firm, as the flexible handles can compensate for the forces exerted by the hand during brushing. Excessive pressure on the tooth surface should be avoided.  The handle should provide a good grip to the hand.


Manual Vs Powered toothbrush

The comparison and choice between the manual and powered toothbrushes have always been controversial, and many people in the U.S. prefer using the powered toothbrushes, although there is no such evidence that it is more effective than the manual toothbrushing. Most of the dentists still would recommend the manual toothbrush with the proper toothbrushing technique, with the specifications as explained above.

The powered toothbrushes are recommended for usage in adult patients, in people with conditions like arthritis, people wearing braces, and having misaligned teeth.


when to replace a toothbrush

Using the same toothbrush for a long time doesn’t prove to be effective as it was in the beginning, so it is recommended to replace a toothbrush every 3 months, when used twice everyday, or the replacing can be done when the person feels that the bristles are frayed. The worn out bristles not only are less effective, but also may damage the gums.  The toothpaste also needs to be replaced with a new one when there is an infection detected in the mouth or patients with cold, flu etc., as the toothbrush contacting the toothpaste tube, can lead to spread of the bacteria involved in the infection.


Above being the standard recommendations, there are a few other factors to be considered while choosing the right toothbrush

  • If the toothbrush bristles get worn within a few weeks of usage, there might be a problem with your toothbrushing technique, and you need to modify your technique or visit your dentist for advice.
  • A small head toothbrush should be chosen for children, while the milk teeth are still present.
  • Check for the approval of the respective dental association, before buying the toothbrush.  In the US, the toothbrush has to be approved by the ADA to trust about the specifications.


If you are still unsure of which toothbrush to use, ask your dentist for advice.



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