Which Toothbrush is the Best?
We all know that we should brush our teeth every day to keep them clean and healthy. But how do you choose a toothbrush from the countless options lining the supermarket shelves?
It’s a common question our Blackburn dentists get asked by both patients and friends alike here.
Visit the dental hygiene section of any supermarket or chemist and you’ll be greeted by an almost prohibitive number of choices: hard, medium or soft, cross-action bristles, straight bristles, pro white finish, vibrating toothbrushes, electric toothbrushes, Bluetooth connectivity with a corresponding smart phone app – it’s no wonder people are confused! What’s more, prices can range from $2 per toothbrush to upwards of $200. You can spend as much money as you like, but unfortunately a $200 toothbrush will not necessarily clean your teeth better if you are not using it correctly or for long enough.
The most important thing to remember when choosing a toothbrush is that it needs to be SOFT, SOFT, SOFT. We brush our teeth daily to remove food particles and bacterial residue, and that bacteria grows in what’s called a ‘biofilm’, which has the texture of sticky, wet bread. Biofilm is completely protected from liquid cleaning agents (i.e. mouthwash doesn’t work) but will come off easily if you simply brush it gently with a soft-bristled brush. Brushing forcefully or with a medium to hard-bristled brush will irreversibly damage your teeth enamel and gums. Over time your enamel will become thinner and your gums will shrink, making the teeth extremely sensitive.
More than half the people who present to us with sensitive teeth are causing the issue themselves by brushing too aggressively or using a toothbrush that is too firm.
SO WHICH BRUSH?
It might not be as much fun, but a manual toothbrush works just as well as an electric toothbrush. What’s more important is that you brush for a full two minutes and that you reach all the areas where germs accumulate, in particular the join between the tooth and the gum (the gum line). One advantage the electric toothbrush does provide is that it’s easier to get a good clean as the rotating head does the job for you. Most electric brushes also have a two-minute timer to ensure that you brush for long enough. If you do choose to use an electric toothbrush, make sure you don’t push too hard, as excessive force can once again result in wearing down your enamel.
Our personal favorite toothbrush is the Colgate ‘Slim Soft’ manual toothbrush or the Sensodyne manual toothbrush. They both have luxuriously soft bristles and a small head that allows you to get to all the difficult to reach areas. If you prefer electric toothbrushes, all of the electric toothbrush brands (Oral B, Colgate Soniclean and Braun) do a good job, but make sure you use their ‘sensitive’ range of toothbrush head attachments. These will ensure that the enamel and gums of your teeth will not be worn away prematurely.