Toothbrushes come in all shapes, colors and sizes, promising to perform better than the rest. But no body of scientific evidence exists yet to show that any one type of toothbrush design is better at removing plaque than another. The only thing that matters is that you brush your teeth. Many just don’t brush long enough. Most people brush less than a minute, but to effectively reach all areas and brush off cavity-causing bacteria, it is recommended to brush for two to three minutes

WHICH TOOTHBRUSH IS BEST?

In general, a toothbrush head should be small (1″ by ½”) for easy access. It should have a long, wide handle for a firm grasp. It should have soft nylon bristles with rounded ends so you won’t hurt your gums.

WHEN SHOULD I CHANGE MY TOOTHBRUSH?

Be sure to change your toothbrush, or toothbrush head (if you’re using an electric toothbrush) before the bristles become splayed and frayed. Not only are old toothbrushes ineffective, but also they may harbor harmful bacteria that can cause infection such as gingivitis and periodontitis. Toothbrushes should be changed every three to four months. Sick people should change their toothbrush at the beginning of an illness and after they feel better.

ELECTRIC VS. MANUAL TOOTHBRUSHES

Electric toothbrushes do seem to work better than manual toothbrushes and they also motivate some reluctant brushers to clean their teeth more often. The whizzing sounds of an electric toothbrush and the tingle of the rotary tufts swirling across teeth and gums often captivates people who own electric toothbrushes. They are advantageous because they can cover more area faster. Electric toothbrushes are also recommended for people who have limited manual dexterity, such as a disabled or elderly person and those who wear braces.

HOW DO ELECTRICS WORK?

Electric toothbrushes generally work by using tufts of nylon bristles to stimulate gums and clean teeth in an oscillating motion. Some tufts are arranged in a circular pattern, while others have the traditional shape of several bristles lined up on a row. When first using an electric toothbrush, expect some bleeding from your gums. The bleeding will stop when you learn to control the brush and your gums become healthier. Children under 10 should be supervised when using an electric toothbrush. Avoid mashing the tufts against your teeth in an effort to clean them. Use light force and slow movements, and allow the electric bristle action to do its job.