Part of a good oral hygiene routine is regularly brushing your teeth. Daily brushing with a toothbrush and a fluoride toothpaste has been proven to be an effective way to help prevent tooth decay, dental tartar, dental plaque and even help combat gum disease.
Toothbrushes come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, bristle types, angles and colours. It’s important to find a toothbrush that will not only be effective but is also comfortable and feels good to use. With all the different styles out there, try following these guidelines to help with selecting the toothbrush that is right for you.
Bristle Firmness and Style
Most toothbrush bristles are made of soft nylon and are available in soft, medium and firm. When selecting the bristle firmness, opt for soft bristles as they are easiest on your gums. Medium or firm bristles may cause your cause gum tissue to pull back from teeth, which can expose the tooth root, may strip away tooth enamel which can lead to tooth sensitivity and gum recession.
Toothbrush bristles come in a variety of shapes and angles. These types of configurations are designed to help make cleaning around and between teeth easier. The best way to determine what type of bristle design works most effectively for you is try to out a few different styles or ask your dentist for a specific recommendation.
A toothbrush with angled bristles may help improve reaching hard to reach areas of your teeth. The angle of the bristles are typically cut to be 45 degrees. If you prefer brushing with straight bristles, you can create this angle by simply holding your toothbrush at 45 degree angle. A 45 degree angle is recommended as the bristles can reach easily under the gum line and into the sulcus and clean away debris and dental plaque. Brushing with this technique is proven to be an effective way of brushing and is known as the Bass Technique.
The more contact your toothbrush has with your teeth will result in cleaner, healthier teeth.
Does Size Matter?
If you are unsure of what size is best for your mouth then always select a smaller head vs a larger one. The smaller the head, the easier it will be to move around in your mouth and effectively reach the far to reach areas of your teeth such as your back molars and back teeth.
A good rule to follow is to select a toothbrush head size that can brush one to two teeth at a time. For a teen or adult this would be approximately 1” long and ½” wide.
Toothbrushes are available with many different handle designs. Straight, flexible, angled as well as no-slip grips which makes your toothbrush easier to hold. The type of handle you choose can be based on personal preference and comfort as there is no specific type of handle that shows a superior cleaning effect.
Replacing Your Toothbrush
Since your toothbrush is being used multiple times a day, the bristles will wear down and over time lose their effectiveness. Your toothbrush can also harbour germs, fungus and bacteria. It is recommended by the Canadian Dental Association to replace your toothbrush every 3 months. After having a cold, illness or infection, it is also recommended to replace your right away as your germs can transfer to your toothbrush.
If you have questions after reading these tips on how to select a toothbrush, your Dentist at North Burnaby Dental Group would be happy to make a recommendation for you.