Dentists and dental hygienists, including your friendly dental professionals at Dr. C Spokane Valley dentist, often nag patients about proper brushing technique, and brushing and flossing daily. Don’t forget to visit us every 6 months for cleanings, too! But what often gets overlooked, especially when you don’t have special dental needs, are the different toothbrushes available on the market right now, and how you can get the best of what’s out there.
Toothbrushes come in just a few different varieties. There’s only so many ways you can reinvent and improve such a simple tool. Toothbrush bristles can have different widths, shapes, and angles, while handles can also be more “ergonomic” or designed at a more “efficient” angle. Pardon the quotation marks, your family dentist doesn’t believe all the advertising, and neither should you. We’ll go through the basic different kinds of toothbrushes, and make recommendations so you’ll be more knowledgeable next time you visit that toothbrush rack at the drug store.
Soft, Medium and Hard Bristles
Soft bristles are recommended for those with sensitive gums and those experiencing any kind of tooth pain, caused by cracks on the surface of the tooth. Also those who have just gone through dental treatments will do best with soft bristles. Most regular people will pick a medium or even hard bristle toothbrush when shopping because they think sturdier bristles are more efficient and last longer. We don’t think you should ever choose hard bristles, because it can damage the gum, but medium bristles can do the job, just don’t press on it too hard or you’ll risk scratching your gums. Soft bristles can clean just as well, and need not be reserved for out-patients and small children only. If you want to err on the side of caution, or you don’t trust your brushing technique to be oozing with finesse and mastery, a soft bristle will do the least amount of damage while scrubbing your teeth clean.
Flat Trimmed Bristle Toothbrushes
These are the cheaper by the dozen brushes, or the disposable kind you find in hotel rooms bathrooms. Again, if given the choice between hard or soft bristles, choose the soft bristle kind, softer bristles does not mean the brush is of lower quality. A flat trimmed bristle brush, even one that is disposable, is a lot more preferable to using no toothbrush at all or sharing with the toothbrush of someone else. If disposable flat bristles is what is convenient to you at the moment, go for it.
I’m sure you’ve noticed all the fancy angled bristles brushes at the drugstore or grocery, like the Ferrari and Lamborghini of the toothbrush world. But don’t get side tracked, it’s just a toothbrush, folks! You don’t need all the bells and whistles to get clean teeth, especially when they hardly fit your mouth. Angle bristles cover more tooth surface, especially those with uneven teeth. It won’t go between your teeth, you’ll still have to floss, but if your teeth are irregularly shaped, as is most people, you’ll cover more tooth surface with an angle bristle toothbrush.
This is often a blue strip or speckled blue bristles that fade as you use the toothbrush. The blue strip is supposed to alert you, as it fades, that it’s time to change your toothbrush. Quite a clever marketing ploy on the part of toothbrush companies. But really, you should get a new brush every two to three months, or just when you feel the bristles are fraying, in the case of softer bristles. The blue color actually flakes into your mouth as you brush, they’re not toxic, but sometimes you’ll see them on your teeth. Supposedly, blue flecks make the teeth appear to be whiter, but sometimes, they just look like blue flecks that have been accidentally left there. All in all, colored bristles are not necessary for good dental hygiene, and you don’t have to buy a brush just because the bristles have a special color.
There’s also a black bristled toothbrush, that is saturated with activated charcoal, which is supposed to help whiten teeth. They’re not widely available, but you can find them online. We’re not sure if they work. You might have better luck with activated charcoal toothpaste, but we’re not entirely sure how that works, either.
Special Shaped Bristles
There are brushes with rounded bristles, which is an additional help if you have particularly sensitive gums, such as those recovering from periodontal disease, or those suffering diabetes who are prone to gum bleeding and pregnant women who get more sensitive gums because of hormones. If you can find rounded bristles, in addition to soft bristles, go for it, and stock up. Another detail to look out for are brushes with very, very fine bristles, as fine as 0.01 mm. These brushes have bristles that are longer than usual, and have sharp end and are very soft. They are one of the best polishing toothbrushes around, so far. You get instant results after one use, the fine, prickly bristles get to the gum line and between some teeth, they polish the surface of the teeth and you feel a much cleaner and smoother surface after rinsing. They’re phenomenal, really something for that toothbrush collection.
We very much have to stress, none of these brushes will ever replace the thoroughness of flossing. Don’t forget to floss guys! There are also some special cleaning needs for those of you who still have wisdom teeth or who have developed gum pockets, usually a side effect of oral surgery. You can use a small, kid’s brush to reach the back of the teeth, and get those areas clean. A lot of food can get stuck there. You can also use cotton buds to clean out hard to reach areas, they are easier to control, more precise, and disposable. Make spot cleaning a part of your routine, so you don’t forget those sneaky corners.
If you’ve reached the end of this article, we are very grateful for your interest and attention. We leave you with some parting wisdom, if you like your toothbrush, whatever toothbrush you choose, you’ll enjoy cleaning your teeth and possibly do it even more often. Keep up that brilliant smile, you’re a winner!