What kind of toothbrush is best for you?
Dr Bikramjit Singh Dhillon, MDS, DICOI, FICOI, FICCDE
Ludhiana Dental Centre
The main concern while choosing a toothbrush is being able to distinguish between medical advice and marketing hype. With most of the toothbrush commercials claiming that 4 out of 5 dentists choose their product or this is the best brand advocated by dentists, the bias itself becomes evident. It is foolish to put your trust in these advertisements, as they can be twisting the statistics of survey to suit them. It is not that they are lying, but they simply do not tell you the whole story.
If you were to go to a dentist and ask them which toothbrush is best for you, he will probably tell you that it is not the fanciest of toothbrush, but diligent brushing twice a day and using a mouthwash is of far more importance. However, different brushes have different bristles, and it is the soft ones that are preferred.
A good toothbrush is both comfortable and effective
A toothbrush that is both effective at cleaning your teeth and easy to use is supposed to be good for you. A vast majority of brands available in the market today fit these requirements, that form the basis for proper brushing. What is important is to replace your brush on a regular basis. As most of the brushes available today wear off relatively quickly, the old, worn off bristles, aren’t as effective and clean as the new ones. And it is for this reason that the brushes usually come in packs of more than one and companies offer replacement heads for electric toothbrushes.
Bristles- Hard, medium or soft?
Most of the companies today feature hard, medium or soft bristles for their toothbrushes. The variation lies in thickness of the bristles. Whereas the hard ones are 0.23 mm, the thickness for the soft bristles is close to 0.15 mm. Soft bristles are more universal of the two. They prevent gum damage for the patients who recently underwent surgery or for those who have bleeding gums, but at the same time are reasonably effective in removing plaque and tartar.
The hard bristles, however, are preferred by some people for more vigorous removal of plaque. They can be more harmful to the gums, eventually leading to gingival lesions and recession. Besides clinical studies show that the effectiveness of plaque removal for hard vs soft bristles is not statistically significant, so hard bristles can cause more damage than they help.
The right toothbrush for your needs
Although most of the brushes available are going to meet your oral health needs, the softest brushes are ideal for a person who has gums that bleed easily. For best results, choose a toothbrush that has an ADA (American Dental Association) approval seal on it. Because the companies have to provide substantial evidence to prove their product is safe and effective before being approved by ADA.
Both manual and electric toothbrushes can clean your teeth efficiently. Electric toothbrushes can be used by children as they find them more fun and it provides the motivation needed for them to brush regularly. They can also be used in elderly or debilitated individuals who are not able to brush effectively with a manual toothbrush. For anyone else, what matters is that the brush is easy to use and has ADA seal on it, not whether the toothbrush is manual or powered.
Everyone’s mouth is different so you need to try and eventually find out what suits you the best.
Regular Cleaning and Replacing Toothbrushes
As the bacteria can persist on the moist and dirty brushes, the importance of regular cleaning cannot be overemphasized. The brushes should be thoroughly rinsed after use to remove all the residual debris. They should be left standing straight and should be dry before the next time you use them.
Change the brushes every 2 to 3 months (softer the bristles, earlier the replacement) as the bristles become frayed and worn, cannot stay clean and lose their efficiency to remove plaque.
What’s important is brushing regularly and consistently
Even in ADA recommendation, there are plenty of products that are safe and effective in plaque removal. What is important is that you pick a product that you are comfortable with and brush for about 120 seconds, with proper attention. The brushing should not be rushed and the time you are brushing should not be spent on thinking how you are going to plan the day. Pay attention when you brush! The fact that you brush properly makes a bigger difference than the brush you choose.
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