What Type of Toothbrush Should I Use?
With so many shapes, sizes and styles of toothbrushes on the market, deciding which kind to buy can be confusing. Here's what you should look for:
- Most dental professionals agree that a soft-bristled brush is best for removing plaque and debris from your teeth. Small-headed brushes are also preferable, since they can better reach all areas of the mouth, including hard-to-reach back teeth.
- When it comes to the type of handle (such as non-slip grip or flexible neck), shape of the head (tapered or rectangular) and style of bristles (such as rippled, flat or trimmed to a dome shape), pick whatever is most comfortable for you. The best toothbrush is one that fits your mouth and allows you to reach all teeth easily.
- Choosing a toothbrush that is comfortable is key. If you don't like it, you won't brush as long as you should (Two (2) minutes). The head should fit comfortably between the teeth and cheek and should be small enough to clean the sides of the back molars. Everyone's mouth is a different size; if in doubt, choose the smaller size.
- Opt for a toothbrush with soft or medium-soft bristles. Unless your dentist has specifically instructed you to purchase a toothbrush with hard bristles, it is unwise to do so since hard bristles combined with hard brushing can damage your gums and the enamel on your teeth. Soft bristles work best for removing plaque and brushing away bacteria. The best bristles are rounded to reach between teeth.
- Ask your child's dentist which brush is best for your child. Generally soft-bristled brush that is ADA-approved is what you should purchase. Have your child choose among the approved ones. Keep in mind that a child is likely to brush longer if he chose the brush themselves.
Manual vs. Electric - Which Toothbrush is Better?
Many patients and parents ask about electric toothbrushes. Remember that the same amount of time should be used with a mechanical brush as with a manual one. If that is done, the mechanical toothbrush will be equal to or more effective at removing debris than a manual toothbrush. However, a regular toothbrush can perform similarly and perform as well. Children can benefit from the use of electric toothbrushes, however children should learn how to brush teeth properly with a manual brush. Then they can transfer the pattern to using an electric toothbrush. Most dentists recommend a quality electric toothbrush over a manual one.
How Often Should You Change Your Toothbrush?
Researchers have established that thousands of microbes can grow on toothbrush bristles and handles. Most are harmless while others can cause cold and flu viruses, the herpes virus that causes cold sores, staphylococcus bacteria responsible for many ear, nose and throat infections, and bacteria that can cause periodontal infections. After a while, toothbrush bristles wear down and become breeding grounds for bacteria. Studies show people can become re-infected with all kinds of bacteria from their own toothbrushes. By replacing their toothbrushes more often, we can prevent a lot of illnesses. Listed below are some helpful tips to protect toothbrushes from germs and bacteria:
- You should replace your toothbrush when it begins to show wear, or every three months, whichever comes first.
- It is also very important to change toothbrushes after you've had a cold, since the bristles can collect germs that can lead to re-infection.
- Store the brush somewhere dry, or an open area, not a tightly closed medicine cabinet.
- Don't store brushes together. You may unknowingly cross-contaminate the entire family.
- Do not use hot water to rinse the toothbrush. It will shorten the life of the brush.
People with gum problems, other oral diseases, or weakened immune system should changes brushes more often. In addition, people with a respiratory illess or other infectious disease whould change brushes at the beginning of the illness, again when they first feel better, and once again wheny they are well. Toothbrushes should be changed everyday for patients who are recovering from major surgery because susceptibility to infections is higher at that time. Remember to call your dentist or orthodontist to schedule a consultation for your specific dental needs.