With so many different toothbrushes on the market, people can get a little overwhelmed. In any drug store, there is an endless array of brushes in all shapes, sizes, and styles. Luckily, there are a few simple guidelines that can help you pick out the perfect toothbrush for your mouth.
First of all, most dentists recommend picking a soft-bristled toothbrush. These are best for removing plaque and debris from your teeth. Harder brushes may wear away the enamel on your teeth, and damage your teeth or gums. Secondly, the toothbrush should be small enough to be comfortable in your mouth and reach all surfaces of your teeth, including the hard-to-reach back teeth. When brushing properly, the bristles should go a little under the gumline and around the edges of each tooth. A smaller brush is more effective in getting thoroughly around the teeth, and getting closer to the gumline where bacteria like to flourish. Adults with smaller mouths might even do better to use a kid’s toothbrush.
Your toothbrush should be replaced every 3 months or so, or whenever the bristles start looking worn or bent. Some toothbrushes have a color indicator that tells you when it’s time to replace your brush. If you’ve been sick, you should also replace your toothbrush so that the sick bacteria doesn’t spread to your healthy, germ-free mouth and cause re-infection. An electric toothbrush is another option. These can do a better job of cleaning the teeth, and are especially beneficial to those who can’t easily reach all their teeth, or who have arthritis or other problems with their hands or arms.
Whatever toothbrush you use, it is important to also visit your dentist for more intensive cleanings at your regular check-ups. Such preventative action can put a stop to dental problems in the future.