Selecting a toothbrush is not always an easy task. The number of choices in the toothbrush aisle can seem endless. At Lorne Park Dental in Mississauga, we help you look closer to pick the one that's right for you.
Evolution of the toothbrush:
Since ancient times a variety of tools have been used to clean the teeth. Bird feathers, animal bones, porcupine quills, hog bristles, chewed tree twigs with bristle-like ends are all examples of early oral hygiene aids. Napolean's toothbrush had horsehair bristles. We've come a long way with our modern toothbrushes but they're not all alike: Large brush head or small? - Hard, medium or soft bristles? - Power or manual?...So much to consider!
chewed twig brush Napolean's silver-gilted brush, c1795
Toothbrush head size:
No matter which type of toothbrush you choose, be sure that the brush fits your mouth. We've noticed a recent trend in toothbrush manufacturing to produce large-headed brushes, even for children. 'Go small' is our recommendation. A toothbrush needs to be small enough to fit those hard to reach places despite small mouths, teeth crowding and strong tongues. Sometimes we customize toothbrushes to make them more narrow or shorter by pulling out excess bristles. You can too.
Toothbrush bristle firmness:
In the past, hard toothbrushes were the norm. Now we recognize that hard-bristled brushes along with improper scrub-motion brushing can cause gum recession. Soft-bristled brushes are less likely to harm the gums and are more flexible to reach between teeth. If the gums are thick, a soft- bristled brush will do. For those who's gums are thin and delicate, an ultra-soft is a better choice.
What to consider to help you choose between power and manual toothbrushes:
- when used properly, both power and manual brushes can effectively remove disease-causing plaque
- power brushes are available in two types - rechargeable and battery-operated
- technique is key - ensure that you are brushing correctly to avoid damaging your gums and wearing away tooth enamel. Proper angle, pressure and motion must always be used regardless of the type of toothbrush you are using.
- rechargeable power brushes are the most expensive, manual brushes are the least expensive
- rechargeable power brush heads need to be replaced every 3 months or so
- if a power brush is battery-operated, the batteries or the entire power brush will need to be replaced as needed
- power brushes are somewhat heavier than manual brushes
- manual tooth brushing may suit a do-it-yourself type person better
- bathroom counter space, as well as an electrical outlet is needed for a power brush charger base
- manual brushes are more eco-friendly - they produce less waste than power brushes and are available in biodegradable bamboo
- some manual brushes are designed with built-in tongue cleaners
- power brushes are fun for kids who find the colours and character designs appealing - some play music melodies too which encourages longer brushing time
- power brushes compensate for manual dexterity limitations for children, seniors or disabled persons
- battery-operated power brushes are fairly inexpensive
- time spent - power brushes make many more brush strokes than their manual counterparts in the same amount of time
- power brushes often have built-in timers (time yourself when using a manual brush - toothbrush timer apps for kids can be downloaded - always remember to brush for 2 minutes, twice a day!)
- less toothpaste is needed when using a power brush
- power brushes, especially those using sonic technology may be better at removing food stains from superficial tooth surfaces
- power brushes have adjustable power levels
- some power brushes have audio and visual signals to alert you if too much pressure is being applied
- if you love new technology some smart power brushes now have bluetooth connectivity that provides personalized brushing coaching and feedback - bluetooth technology is available for kids too.
1. Oscillating-rotating: Example - Oral-B
2. Vibrating using sonic technology: Example - Philips Sonicare
3. Battery powered:
For adults Handle adapted with bicycle grip For kids
for arthritic hands.