You visit the dentist twice a year for a hygiene (aka, teeth cleaning)and general checkups, and take home a new toothbrush after your visit…but you need to replace your toothbrush twice as often! Knowing what to look for when you choose a toothbrush ensures your teeth receive all the benefits from brushing your teeth.
When To Choose a Toothbrush
The rule of thumb is to chuck out your toothbrush every three months, but sometimes they don’t last as long. Keep an eye on your bristles. When they’re frayed, curled or broken, it’s time to replace your toothbrush.
Your mouth can be a tender place, so it’s best for most people to choose a brush with soft bristles. Brushing with medium and hard bristles can actually be damaging to your oral health! When bristles are too hard, they may damage your gums, causing them to recede, which may cause temperature sensitivity in your teeth or increase your risk of tooth decay.
Electric or Manual?
Do you have perfect (and we do mean perfect) brushing technique? In fact, flawless technique is the only way an old-fashioned manual toothbrush will come close to cleaning your teeth as well as an electric toothbrush. Unfortunately, studies show that no one really brushes very well, not even us dentists! Your teeth are meant to last a lifetime, and there really is no better investment than an electric or powered toothbrush to keep your teeth at their best. If you like gizmos or feel like your electric toothbrush is easier to use, even better. Now that you know, we hope you’ll consider spending a little extra for a powered toothbrush—it really is the better choice to protect your oral health.
Choosing a Toothbrush Head Size
The standard size for an adult’s toothbrush head is 1 inch by a half inch. This works for most people, but use your judgment when shopping. A toothbrush that’s too large makes it tough to reach tight spots in the back of your mouth, so when in doubt, choose a smaller one.
That dental aisle is also chock full of dozens of different handle lengths, styles and sizes. The good news is that handle styling doesn’t impact your ability to brush. Choose the one that’s most comfortable in your hand and works best with your brushing style.
Of course, choosing a toothbrush is just the first step to clean, healthy teeth. In some cases, you may need to find ways to get your kids to brush or adapt your brushing style to ensure proper coverage. Talk with your dentist about any concerns with your toothbrush or brushing style.