One stroll down the toothbrush aisle presents countless choices. Shoppers are forced to choose between several shapes, sizes and bristle types, as well as decipher the claims of various companies who claim to reach the furthest or clean better in hard-to- clean spaces. With so many options, it can be difficult to decide on a toothbrush for you and your family. Of course, only your dentist can determine exactly which toothbrush is right for you, but there are some general guidelines to follow when making a selection.

Bristles

Bristle strength is perhaps the most important part of a manual toothbrush. Most manufacturers produce bristles in soft, medium and hard varieties. Nearly all dentists recommend soft bristled toothbrushes to their patients, as medium and hard bristles can cause damage to the teeth and gums during vigorous brushing.

Size

The size of a toothbrush is also important, as it directly affects brushing technique and the ability to effectively remove all plaque and debris from the tooth surface. The toothbrush head should not be so large that it is difficult to maneuver over the back molars. Likewise, the handle should be long and wide enough to fit comfortably in your hand. For added support, look for a toothbrush with rubberized grips that help prevent the toothbrush from slipping while brushing.

Manual vs. Electronic Toothbrush

Both manual and electronic toothbrushes have the potential to clean the teeth, though it is impossible to achieve the same level of cleanliness with a manual brush as it is an electronic toothbrush. Electric brushes use perfect technique, every time. Instead of worrying about brushing motion, head angle or bristle type, the average person who uses an electric toothbrush will achieve a deeper clean with far less motion or force. Furthermore, a person with limited range of motion may find an electronic toothbrush easier to use.

Replace Your Toothbrush Regularly

No matter what toothbrush you choose, be sure to regularly replace it with a new one – usually a minimum of once every three months. A worn toothbrush loses its ability to effectively clean over time. In fact, it can actually cause damage to the gums surrounding the teeth. An old toothbrush may also harbor germs, particularly after the user has had a virus or other sickness. It’s a good idea to replace the toothbrush after any illness or at the first sign of wear.

If you still are unsure as to which toothbrush is right for you, our office will be happy to provide you with a recommendation. Schedule an appointment here at Lane Avenue Family Dentistry, or bring up the topic at your next exam. The right toothbrush could mean stronger teeth, healthier gums and a lifetime of good oral health.