Does the type of toothbrush you use matter? Yes, the right kind of toothbrush is more important than you might realize. Using the wrong type of brush can leave plaque buildup, cause stains, erode enamel and cause your gums to recede.
Most toothbrushes fall into one of the following categories:
Manual toothbrushes – This is your standard toothbrush, with a rectangular head and a manual handle. There are some variations in shape and size, but all manual toothbrushes use pretty much the same design.
Electric toothbrushes – Electric toothbrushes use a motor to spin a toothbrush head or vibrate the toothbrush, which can help improve the cleaning power of the brush.
Children’s toothbrushes – These can be manual or electric. Children’s toothbrushes usually have a smaller bristle head, and a large, comfortable handle. This makes it easier for you to use the brush when you brush your child’s teeth, and for them to use when they start brushing on their own.
Both electric toothbrushes and manual toothbrushes are equally good, as long as you’re brushing properly. But that last part is crucial.
The most common material for toothbrush bristles is nylon, though some models do use more sustainable materials. Bristles come in three main specifications.:
Soft – Soft bristles are great for cleaning your teeth if you have gum recession or gum disease. They’re soft and gentle on both your gums and your teeth, while still removing plenty of plaque.
Medium – Medium bristles are a bit stiffer. This means they clean the teeth a little more effectively, but they can cause your gums to bleed if you brush too hard or brush excessively.
Hard – Avoid hard-bristled toothbrushes. Hard bristles can damage your teeth and gums, especially if you tend to brush frequently and with a lot of force.
Almost everyone is better off with a soft-bristled toothbrush.
No matter what you choose, make sure you brush 2-3 times per day with fluoride toothpaste. Brushing regularly is the best way to prevent cavities, gum disease, and other common oral health problems.