Does The “Right Toothbrush” Really Matter?

You’ve heard it a million times from your dentist. “Brush your teeth twice a day!” Obviously, brushing your teeth is one of the most important things for maintaining your oral hygiene. But does the type of toothbrush you use matter?

With so much conflicting marketing information about toothbrushes, it can be hard to understand what matters when selecting a toothbrush.

In this article, Priti Naik, DDS will break down the differences between the varying types of toothbrushes, so that you can make the choice that’s best for your oral hygiene.

Traditional Toothbrushes

You’re familiar with traditional toothbrushes. Your dentist probably hands you a new one after every 6-month dental hygiene appointment. And though they may all seem quite similar, there are some major differences between popular toothbrush styles.

  • Head shape – Most toothbrushes are made with a “block-style” head. These rectangular brushes cover plenty of surface area, but can be harder to maneuver when cleaning the rear molars. You can also choose a “diamond-style” head. These brushes are narrower at the rear and the front, making it easier to clean tight corners while brushing.
  • Bristle firmness – Typically, soft or extra soft-stiffness bristles are best. They’re gentle on your teeth, and still offer plenty of cleaning power. Avoid stiff bristles. Excessively stiff bristles don’t clean teeth any better than softer bristles, and they can actually damage your enamel, according to a 2014 study.
  • Bristle pattern – It’s best to choose a toothbrush with a “wavy” pattern that varies in length. “Flat” bristles often cannot reach hard-to-clean areas of the mouth, and the variation in bristle height helps cup the teeth, and clean them more effectively.

Children’s toothbrushes are usually quite similar to adult toothbrushes. However, they typically are smaller in size and have a more rounded head with softer bristles.

Electric Toothbrushes

Electric toothbrushes use rotating or vibrating brush heads. This motion, in addition to the “back-and-forth” motion of scrubbing, is intended to help provide a more deep, effective clean.

Most dentists agree that electric toothbrushes are not necessarily more effective than traditional toothbrushes. However, they’re much easier to use correctly. The spinning and oscillating action helps scrub teeth more effectively, and reduces the amount of work you must do while brushing your teeth. Dr. Naik recommends an electric toothbrush with either a “light up” or a “beeping” sensor to ensure you are not pushing hard which can ultimately cause recession of the gums.

Does The Type Of Brush I Use Really Matter?

If you brush your teeth twice a day for at least two minutes, and you use a fluoridated, ADA-approved toothpaste, the answer is no: the type of toothbrush you use will have a minimal effect on your oral health.

But most people do not brush their teeth properly, or for the recommended amount of time. This means that electric toothbrushes can be easier to use, and may help you maintain a better level of oral health.

What Do Dentists Recommend?

Dentists usually recommend manual toothbrushes for most patients, because they’re inexpensive and easy-to-use. However, electric toothbrushes are just as effective, if you are willing to spend a bit more money, and you think you can benefit from using one.

Brush Regularly (And Properly) – And You Can Use Any Kind Of Toothbrush You Want!

The type of toothbrush you use is not that important. What truly matters is that you regularly brush your teeth, floss, and maintain other good oral hygiene habits, such as visiting the dentist for a tooth cleaning every 6 months.

Dr. Naik specializes in family and pediatric dentistry in Vienna, and our practice serves patients of all ages. Don’t leave your oral health up to chance. Make sure you’re brushing and flossing regularly, and don’t forget to schedule a check-up at our family dentist in Vienna. Contact us today at at (703) 288-1800 for an appointment, or come to our office near Tysons Corner and Mclean. Our address is 8230 Boone Boulevard, Suite 320, Vienna, Virginia, 22182.

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