“What type of toothbrush do you recommend?”

- A question heard daily at dental offices around the world. Between TV ads, flashy packaging and nearly miraculous promises, there seem to be an infinite number of variables on the simple brush. Fortunately, picking a great toothbrush is easy and straightforward. There is no need to go out and buy the priciest or latest model; as long as you keep some simple principles in mind, you are sure to make a great choice.

When picking out a manual toothbrush, the most important factors to consider are brush head size and bristle stiffness. In general, a smaller brush head will allow you to better access the more difficult-to-clean areas of your mouth. This is especially true for young children, who have much less room to accommodate a large head. Also, make sure you are using a toothbrush with soft or (at the most) medium stiffness bristles. Stiff and extra stiff options can actually cause damage to your enamel and gum tissue, particularly if you tend to brush with a lot of force. Beyond size and stiffness, the brush you use should be a matter of personal choice. Make sure to use a toothbrush that is comfortable to hold and easy to maneuver all over your mouth.

For those looking to “upgrade” their brushing experience, our office recommends switching to an electric toothbrush. For the average patient, electric toothbrushes offer a more complete cleaning experience by taking the guesswork out of duration, proper motion and amount of force necessary. While it may be possible to achieve the same level of clean with a manual brush, electric variants simplify the process while simultaneously making it harder to “cheat” on brushing time.

When shopping for an electric brush, we recommend looking for the best deals available on brushes with timers and force sensors. Big box stores tend to have the best prices, particularly on two packs (for you and a loved one!). Most brushes will fall into either the sonic (vibrating) or the spinning (mechanical) category. We recommend picking whichever motion you think you will like the best. As with manual brushes, the most important factors are brush head size and bristle stiffness. So long as the brush comes with a reasonably small and soft head, any mechanical motion will be beneficial to your teeth and gums.

If you have any further questions about toothbrush choices, do not hesitate to call our office. Any of our staff members can offer great perspective on what models have worked best for them personally. We are more than happy to make recommendations and suggestions with all your home dental hygiene choices!