Choosing a toothbrush can be a daunting task. When you start shopping, you'll be confronted with dozens of styles, shapes, and sizes, all promising to clean your teeth like never before. If you have seen the latest advertising these days, toothbrushes can do everything from brightening your smile to improving your social life.
The truth is simpler. The most important factor in properly caring for your teeth is how often you brush, not what you brush with. After choosing a toothbrush, you should use it two to three times a day, and more often if possible. You also need to take the time to brush properly. Three minutes is the minimum amount of time you should spend brushing to ensure you haven't missed any areas, particularly toward the back of the mouth.
Your toothbrush is the primary tool for removing plaque from your teeth and gum line. Most brands and styles of toothbrush can do this, but the tips below can help you choose a toothbrush that's best for you:
- Look for a toothbrush with round-tipped bristles; these won't scratch enamel
- A small head (1" x 1/2") will make it easier to get to hard-to-reach areas
- Soft bristles are best; bristles that are too hard can damage delicate gum tissue
- Choose a handle that fits comfortably in your hand and allows you to reach all areas of the mouth
- Keep in mind that you should be choosing a toothbrush at least four times a year, as they wear out quickly. Also replace your toothbrush if you've been sick.
Is An Electric Toothbrush Right For You?
You can clean your teeth effectively with a manual brush, but there are electric toothbrushes that also do an excellent job. If you don't like brushing, an electric brush may encourage you to brush more thoroughly. In some studies, electric toothbrushes have performed well because the rapid rotation or vibration of the bristles has effectively covered even difficult to reach areas.
Electric toothbrushes can make brushing easier for anyone with a physical limitation like arthritis. Many parents choose electric models for their children because they encourage proper brushing and are more effective at getting into the tiny spaces around braces. Of course, the fact that kids think using an electric toothbrush is more fun doesn't hurt either.
Keep in mind when choosing a toothbrush that an electric model will put additional pressure on your gums. You don't have to use any pressure – let the toothbrush do the work! You may experience some minor bleeding the first few times you use an electric toothbrush, but within a few days this should stop. If it doesn't, consult your dentist.