Not many people are actually taught how to select the correct toothbrush. They will purchase a new one from a retailer without fully considering their requirements. There are many different toothbrushes on the market, in different shapes, sizes and bristle strength, which can add to the consumer confusion. Children’s toothbrushes are available in the shape of the latest cartoon favourite, and novelty toothbrushes are available for adults. But how do you pick the correct toothbrush? Choosing the wrong toothbrush could lead to insufficient cleaning and therefore poor removal of plaque, can lead to gum and gum line problems due to wrong size or bristle strength of brush, and also a feeling of discomfort from holding the brush. For example, someone with a small mouth is not going to benefit from an oversized brush head.
As purchasing a toothbrush is usually done along with the other grocery shopping, the overwhelming tendency is to simply pick up a brush a throw it in the basket along with all the other items. More care should be taken when selecting a toothbrush, to make it as an effective tool as possible to clean your teeth with.
Bristle of Choice
Most dental professionals agree that a soft headed toothbrush is most effective for fighting plaque. In addition to this, a slightly undersized brush head is desirable, and is considered to be able to reach around the mouth easier than a larger headed equivalent brush head, including better reaching the teeth at the back of the mouth, which are usually the hardest to reach. Some consumers press too hard on their teeth when brushing, in an attempt to fend off tooth discolouration. As well as not being very good for the teeth being scrubbed, if a hard bristled toothbrush head is used, it can etch off enamel and weaken the tooth, reducing its ability to ward off other damaging substances.
Additionally, any time this style of brush head and brushing technique combine to slip, or accidently ‘clean’ the gum, in most cases the gum will split, and bleeding will occur. This may lead to sensitive teeth.
Brushing and Sensitive Teeth
Continually brushing in an aggressive manner, along with the incorrect type of bristles, may slowly remove the enamel from the teeth. This then leads to sensitivity. If continued, it can abrade the gum-line and expose the dentine surface not protected by the enamel. There are a variety of toothpastes designed for those with sensitive teeth, and they work by slowly building back up the layer of enamel which was lost. The eventual aim is to get the teeth back up from sensitive due to enamel exposure, to no sensitivity after the application of the paste over an extended period of time. During this time, it is very important not to continue to brush too hard, and some dental professionals advise to switch to an electric toothbrush, which can monitor the pressure used, and will cut off if too much pressure is used, thereby saving the teeth from harsh brushing. People with limited flexibility may try to compensate by over brushing the areas they can reach, and an electric toothbrush is ideal in this situation.
Getting a Proper Grip
Toothbrush handles have progressed along with the type and stiffness of bristles. Handles can now be purchased on toothbrushes that have non slip grips, along with flexible necks to reach all areas. While some of these seem gimmicky, it is indeed important not to slip with the brush whilst brushing, so there is some merit in looking to get a toothbrush that has a better grip than the standard plastic handled models. Dentists will also tell you that it is important to be able to reach all areas of the mouth with comfort, and some of the flexible neck handled toothbrushes allow for this.
It is important for each individual to assess exactly what kind of toothbrush would best fit their needs, whether a large headed brush, or extra long flexible necked brush is required, and then experiment with that type, and see how it feels in the mouth, and also how it feels to grip as you brush. Follow the dentist’s advice and aim to get a brush head which is slightly smaller, and soft bristled, allowing you to effectively remove any plaque build up, and reach all areas in the mouth. Once you have the correct brush, the last thing is to have a good brushing routine.
It is recommended that a minimum of two minutes every day is spent thoroughly cleaning teeth. Some sources state that the minimum should be twice a day, for two minutes per time. The most important thing here is to actually do the routine, so you are cleaning every single day, and on the occasions that you can, brush more than once. Some people like to brush their teeth every time they eat, but this is over excessive. As long as the acids and sugars do not sit on your teeth for days, cleaning once at night and once in the morning seems sufficient. A minimum of two minutes should be spent thoroughly, but not overly aggressive, cleaning all areas of the teeth, which at the same time will ensure your inner cheeks and gums are cleaned as well.
Follow this, and selecting the correct style of toothbrush will help to maximise the effect of the routine and the brush you are using. To maintain absolute efficiency, change the toothbrush every three months, so the next time you are due to purchase a new one, have a think beforehand as to your requirements, and buy accordingly.