How to Choose & Use the Best Toothbrush

By: Ashley Walker 
Published: 10/24/2016

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Good oral care is an important factor to our overall well-being.  We all know the importance of brushing your teeth but taking care of your toothbrush is equally as important!

History of toothbrushes: Prior to the toothbrush, there have been records of other means to practice good oral care. Chew Sticks—twigs with a frayed end, were found to have been used by the Babylonians as far back as 3500 B.C.  The other end was pointed to be used as a toothpick.  Other devices were created for years to come, including brushes made of feathers or animal hair. The practice of brushing teeth routinely wasn’t common in the United States until after World War II.  The first nylon bristle toothbrush was put into stores on February 24, 1938.

How can I ensure good oral hygiene today?

 We now know the importance of brushing your teeth, but it’s just as important to take care of your toothbrush! Dentists recommend that you change it every 3 months.  Once the bristles are worn down they are not as effective at removing plaque from your teeth and gums. Be sure to store it in an upright position and let it dry. In order to avoid reinfection, remember to change your toothbrush after a flu, infection or cold.  

Great, now how do I choose a toothbrush? Dentists recommend soft bristle brushes.  Brushes with hard bristles can often damage gums and enamel. Many toothbrushes now (such as “Oral-B”) have color changing bristles to remind you to change them. We all know brushing your teeth is important. But do we do it enough? Choosing a toothbrush you like can help you nail down this monotonous habit, so let’s make sure it’s also a good one! Gum disease can play a role in developing diabetes and heart disease, so brushing 2-3 times a day is of utmost importance.

It can be daunting to navigate the wide spectrum of toothbrushes in the grocery store. There are countless options: electric, manual, soft-bristled, medium-bristled, hard-bristled, small-headed, and large-headed. Not all of the options are “best,” according to dental experts and the American Dental Society. Many brands offer quite the variety, tweaking each brush by adding product differentiations that often are meaningless when it comes to oral hygiene. Here are some tips for choosing the best toothbrush:

1. Expert Approved

The first thing to look for in a toothbrush is whether or not it has the ADA (American Dental Association) Seal of Approval. The seal will be located somewhere on the toothbrush packaging. If a toothbrush has the image somewhere on the packaging, it simply means that the toothbrush has a sturdy handle, long lasting bristles, safe tipped bristles, and satisfactory effectiveness overall in fighting plaque and early stage gum disease.

2. Head Size

The next thing to look for is the head size of the toothbrush.  In general, smaller toothbrush heads are more effective at cleaning hard-to-reach spots like the back surfaces of your molars. Larger brush heads can cover more ground in a short amount of time; however, they are clumsy when it comes to reaching very small areas within your mouth. The ideal toothbrush size for the average adult is ½” wide by 1” tall.

Tip: Check out ADA approved toothbrush options!

3. Bristle Type

Although bristle types can come in soft, medium, or hard textures, not all of them are conducive to periodontal health.  Medium-bristled and hard-bristled brushes can actually damage the gum tissue and erode tooth enamel. This abrasion can trigger a condition called gingival recession, or recessive gums.  Thus, experts state that soft-bristled toothbrushes are the safest and most comfortable type to use.

4. Brand Names

Experts state that how you brush and how long you brush is more important than what brand of toothbrush you use.  You can have the most expensive, high-rated toothbrush in the world, but if you don't use it right, it will not be effective. Some of the most popular brands are Crest, Colgate, and Oral-B. Many dentists will be glad to recommend which brand they prefer. Ultimately, however, the brand of toothbrush does not matter.

5. Avoid Cheap Deals

Although the brand name of a toothbrush is not the most important thing to consider, experts do recommend avoiding the super cheap, brand-less toothbrushes found at places like dollar stores. There is usually a reason for why these toothbrushes are such a great bargain.  Toothbrushes with no brand or ADA Seal of Approval may not be tested and proven safe for your gums and teeth.

6. Electric vs. Manual Toothbrushes

Whether you use an electric or manual toothbrush, the experts say that how you brush and for how long is more important than which type you pick. However, there are perks to using each one. Manual toothbrushes are cheaper, more portable, more flexible, and there are more options to choose from. Electronic brushes are more expensive, but are a great option for people that suffer from carpal tunnel and arthritis. They are also a great choice for people with braces. Children can also benefit from electric brushes, especially if they dislike tooth brushing. Kids are always trying to rush through the process and often end up missing some spots.  Another great feature of many electric toothbrushes is an automatic timer that lets you know you reach two minutes of brushing.


Perfect, how do I properly brush my teeth? Have you ever thought about the way you brush your teeth? Though it may seem like a pretty simple morning task, there is a proper way to brush your teeth to ensure cleanliness. Many people who brush every day still find that they suffer from bad breath and tooth decay. EON Clinics would like to provide you with a step by step morning routine to ensure good oral health!

Step 1: Teeth Brushing Technique

After placing the toothpaste on the toothbrush, begin to brush at a 45-degree angle towards your gum line. This will clean the outer space of your teeth of the front and back of the upper and lower jaw. While doing this you are also brushing any bacteria away that may have hid near the gumline. You can brush in an upwards motion or in a circular rotation (DO NOT BRUSH SIDE TO SIDE)

Step 2: Teeth to Focus On Brushing

Focus your brushing on the chewing surface using back and forth gentle strokes.

Because the chewing surface is not as smooth as the outer or inner teeth, it’s easier for food particles and or other substances to get stuck there.

Brushing this area with the gentle back and for will prevent any chance of buildup.  

Step 3: Brush Your Tongue to Remove the Bacteria

Gently brush over your tongue to remove  bacteria. The tongue is able to nest bacteria as it remains with a mucus film over it that easily catches bacteria. Starting from the back to the front, gentle back-and forth strokes. Make sure to brush gently to prevent any irritation of the tongue.

Step 4: Repeat

Repeat. Typically brushing your teeth will only take 2-3 minutes at most. Make sure that you repeat the steps one time before spitting and rinsing!

Brushing your teeth properly not only prevents bad breath but it also helps prevent gum disease. Make sure you take the proper steps twice a day to brush your teeth and enjoy the feeling of your fresh new smile!

Check out the rest of our blog posts for more information on keep your mouth clean and healthy

Sources:
Mayo Clinic
WebMD 
Andrew C. Dreyer, DDS, MS
Washingtonian
Bupa Dental
Delta Dental