The Wonderful World of Toothbrushes

Some of the toothbrushes in our house.

Some of the toothbrushes in our house.

FUN TIMES, FUN TIMES; we are talking toothbrushes! Thankfully toothbrushes are a little more straight forward than toothpastes.  Speaking of toothpastes did you like last week’s post?  I forgot to add in an email form so if you have or had any questions or comments about last week’s post or this weeks, …. please email me.  Okay, sorry, focus…  Toothbrushes.  Getting things started on the proper path; here is some useless trivia for trivia night or if you are ever on Jeopardy.  The first mention of anything resembling a toothbrush was in 1600 BC Chinese literature.  They used “chew sticks” which were twigs with a frayed end on which the user chewed.  These are actually still used in some areas of the world; go figure.  The modern toothbrush has come a long way!!  If you venture the dental care aisle at any store the sheer amount of different toothbrushes can look as intimidating as toothpaste.  But for thank goodness I am here to explain these mythical beasts.  Basically regardless of the brand, model, and type of toothbrush; the main, most important detail is the stiffness of the bristles.  Everyone’s toothbrush should be a SOFT or ULTRASOFT bristle toothbrush!!!  I cannot make that stand out any more (believe me I tried!) Hard and stiff bristle toothbrushes can cut gums, cause tooth abrasion (wearing away of enamel at the gumline or chewing surface by something other than teeth.), and/or recession of the gums; especially with people who are aggressive brushers… think brushing on pre workout go juice (If the bristles of your toothbrush flare out – you my friend are an aggressive brusher and the pre workout go juice is a completely different story but I will share it if you email me!).

Choosing a Toothbrush

When choosing a toothbrush there are some factors that need to be considered.  The first and most important is ….SOFT or ULTRASOFT bristles.   Another is the size of the toothbrush head.  It should be small enough to reach to the back of your mouth (no do not break into the packaging and test measure; stores frown upon that; believe me I know).  So if you have a small mouth and want to feel like a kid again; feel no shame in getting a child’s toothbrush.  All that matters is that you can brush all 3 surfaces of your teeth effectively.  One detail that not many people think about is the size of the handle.  You need to be able to freely move the toothbrush around in your mouth, so if the handle is too small or too big that can be a hindrance.  Children, elderly people, or people with dexterity problems benefit from a thicker handle.  That’s it! That’s really all that needs to be considered when choosing a toothbrush!  Color, price, or other cool additions to toothbrushes are totally up to you!  Although I did see on Pinterest the other day that people tend to choose blue toothbrushes and not red.  (In case you can’t tell I love useless information).

Manual, Battery Operated, or Electrical

Toothbrushes, that is…you randy thing you!  I usually can tell how good of a job my patients are doing brushing their teeth.  For the one’s that have a hard time, braces, implants, lots of dental work, or the one’s who don’t like brushing I urge them to get an electric toothbrush.  Once you go electric you don’t go back.  I have made a comparison list for electric, battery operated, and manual toothbrushes, please see at the end of this post.  I highly encourage patients to get their children electric or at the very least battery operated toothbrushes.  This is because it takes the guess-work out of brushing, has very small heads, and it establishes the right amount of time to brush.  There are many options out there for battery-powered or electric toothbrushes for children.  The main thing that I try to make sure my patients go home with is to pick the right electric toothbrush for them, meaning, think of an electric toothbrush as an investment that should be researched.

Closing Thoughts

I have seen the benefits of my patients using an electric toothbrush.  If asked, I always recommend the electric toothbrush.  However, not everyone has the money to go out and get an electric toothbrush, if this is the case, consider saving change in a jar until you have enough to buy one (you would be surprised how fast loose change can add up).  Also, the main thing I want my patients and you to take away from this is this:  No matter what toothbrush you use, do not brush in a back-and-forth motion, try to brush each tooth separately, and brush for at least 2 minutes.


Well that’s it for this week.  Next week we will delve into the fascinating world of floss!!  How exciting! Be sure to check back!  As always, if you have a question or comment, either use the contact form below and email me or post a question or comment in the comment box below.  I want to hear from you!

Happy Brushing!

P.S.   I post pictures of the items I have in my house to illustrate that I do not discriminate and actually do use all different dental care products I speak about in my posts.  Just thought I would let you know if you were wondering…

Toothbrush Comparison

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