Valleydale Dental

Maybe It’s Time to Become Familiar with Your Toothbrush

brushing teethYou use your toothbrush every day. But have you ever stopped to wonder what makes your toothbrush special? Probably not.

Today, we’re going to help you become more familiar with your toothbrush by understanding several essential features of modern toothbrushes:

Manual brushes versus rotating heads

You don’t have to walk far down the toothbrush aisle at your local supermarket to see a plethora of fancy looking rotating head toothbrushes. But are these toothbrushes worth the price? Do they actually outperform manual brushes?

Well, one dental group launched a study to answer that question. That group found some surprising differences over a three month period: round, rotating head toothbrushes removed 11% more plaque than manual brushes.

There’s one simple reason this occurs:

Round, rotating head toothbrushes are very similar to the ones we use during professional cleanings. As a result, these brushes are able to thoroughly cover a larger surface area.

Shape and size of your toothbrush

The shape and size of your toothbrush also plays a critical role in how effective your daily brushing routine will be. The first and most important thing to realize is that there are no “one size fits all” toothbrushes. Everybody has a different jaw and alignment.

If you use a big brush, then you might miss plaque in hard-to-reach areas of the mouth – like the areas in the back. If you use a small brush, then you might not have the power or coverage to totally clean your teeth every day.

443988_91621407So what’s the secret to choosing the perfectly-sized toothbrush? Dentists recommend choosing a brush that can comfortably clean all the way around your last top molar.

If you have trouble finding a toothbrush that can do that, then consider buying a toothbrush with a tapered head. Tapered head toothbrushes are particularly popular with those who have narrow jaws (no, it’s not weird to ask your dentist if you have a narrow jaw).

Dr. Gentry Gonzalez, a Birmingham AL dentist, is also always available to answer questions regarding toothbrushes. He will make sure you’re using the right toothbrush for your mouth and that your technique is spot on.

What about the bristles?

Picking the right bristles may be the easiest part of shopping for a toothbrush. Toothbrushes have all different types of bristles, but dentists always recommend choosing soft or extra-soft bristles.

Why? Well, soft bristles do a better job of flexing to fit under the gums and between teeth. Hard bristles simply glide right over without providing much penetration.

Hard bristles also have the added downside of making your gums bleed. Even people with healthy, normal gums may experience bleeding when using stiff bristles.

Time between replacements

One of the great debates is how often you should change your toothbrush. Some people change their toothbrush every month. Others change it every year. But most change it somewhere between those two extremes.

Dentists, however, recommend changing your toothbrush every four months. Using toothbrushes longer than that period will cause the bristles to become less effective at clearing away germs, bacteria, and plaque.

Do handles really matter?

No. Handles do not affect the way you brush your teeth. However, they do affect the comfort and ergonomics of your brushing style, and both of those things do affect the way you brush your teeth.

You use your toothbrush every day. In fact, you probably use your toothbrush twice a day. Next time you brush your teeth, think about all the little things that make your toothbrush special. The choices you make in the toothbrush aisle have a significant effect on your dental health.