Toothbrushes, are they all the same?

Dr. Joshua Grooms would like to take some time this week to discuss toothbrushes.  His patients are always asking "Which toothbrush do you recommend?".  Every dentist may have a different opinion on exactly which brush you should be using.  Dr. Grooms, more importantly than telling you a certain name brand to go buy, wants to let you know what things to look for when picking out your next brush.

1.  SOFT BRISTLES - soft or even extra-soft bristles are so important.  Some patients go for the medium or even hard bristles thinking it will help remove the plaque and grime from their teeth better.  The truth is that plaque is relatively easy to remove with a soft bristle brush if the proper technique and time is taken to do so.  Hard bristles increase the risk of gum recession or even wearing down the enamel over time (toothbrush abrasion).

Toothbrush Abrasion
2.  DON'T BRUSH TOO AGGRESSIVELY - if you are a "scrubber" or have signs of brushing to hard, you may want to consider a brush that can help break that habit.  There are toothbrushes on the market that are designed to let you know when you are brushing too hard.  One such brush is the Oral B Genius.  Along with many other technical features, this brush with light up, slow down, and if connected with a smart device- indicate on the app that you are brushing too aggressively.  This is a great way to retrain yourself.  If you decide you want to stay with a manual brush make sure you are using the right technique.  This includes:  Tilting the brush at 45 degree angle against the gumline and sweeping or rolling the brush away from the gum.  Use gentle, short (tooth wide) strokes. 

3. TAKE YOUR TIME - Joshua Grooms, DDS thinks every tooth brush needs a timer.  Now if you prefer manual brushing over electric than go get a kitchen timer and set it for 2 minutes every time you brush.  Most adults do not take nearly enough time brushing every morning and every evening.  Once again, there are brushes on the market that will help with this.  The Oral B as discussed above and another one of Dr. Grooms' favorite brushes the Sonicare by Philips both have built in timers.

4. Make sure it's safe - The American Dental Association will put their label on dental products that meet certain safety criteria.  When it comes to brushes that look for the following: 
Acceptance, the company must show that:
  • All of the toothbrush components are safe for use in the mouth
  • Bristles are free of sharp or jagged edges and endpoints
  • The handle material is manufacturer-tested to show durability under normal use
  • The bristles won’t fall out with normal use
  • The toothbrush can be used without supervision by the average adult to provide a significant decrease in mild gum disease and plaque


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