Behold! The humble toothbrush. This simple tool has been whitening and brightening smiles for the better part of 5,000 years. Needless to say, we aren’t using the same toothbrushes that our mammoth-hunting ancestors did. We’ve since made some improvements to those early bird-feather and horsehair models but the general design has remained the same. You know what they say: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
Nevertheless, we have a much broader selection of toothbrushes today than we’ve ever had. And while we can generally break toothbrushes today down into two broad categories—manual toothbrushes and electric toothbrushes—there are as many distinctions within those groupings as there are types of molars. More, in fact. Bristle hardness and density, length, head shape, handle shape, and, of course, colour.
Selecting the right toothbrush, however, is more than just a game of “Eenie, Meenie, Miney, Moe”. Different types of toothbrushes offer different types of benefits to different types of brushers. We know that children and adults use different toothbrushes. And someone with sensitive gums or teeth wouldn’t use the same toothbrush as someone on a teeth-whitening regime. Even your personality could affect the type of toothbrush you keep in your bathroom caddy.
Understanding which toothbrush is right for you will help improve your oral and dental hygiene. Let’s find out which type of toothbrush is right for you.
As far as we know, our Neolithic ancestors didn’t have powered toothbrushes. Not unless they were hiding some big secrets underneath those pyramids.
Generally speaking, whether you opt for an electric toothbrush or a caveman-style manual toothbrush won’t make too much of a difference as long as you are brushing your teeth twice a day for two minutes. Electric toothbrushes do, however, offer some advantages over their prehistoric kin.
Many electric toothbrushes have timers or will shut off after two minutes. As such, they can be of help to anyone who has trouble keeping track of time—or for kids who count as fast as they run.
Arthritis or Otherwise Reduced Dexterity
Anyone with compromised dexterity, also, can benefit from the automated “brushing” of an electric toothbrush. Whether you suffer from arthritis or you just have a couple of broken fingers, opting for an electric toothbrush can make those impossible-to-reach places at the back of your mouth a lot more accessible… and clean.
It’s important to let out our stress and frustration… on something like a pillow or a squeeze ball. Not on our teeth. Brushing too hard can erode gums and potentially lead to gum disease. Fortunately, many models of electric toothbrushes come equipped with sensors to warn us when we’re brushing too hard. Just because our ancestors brushed like savages doesn’t mean we should as well.
Brushing your teeth in the morning is easy enough—you can’t very well greet your boss with toxic breath. But in the evening, after you’ve cooked dinner, done the dishes, and put the kids to bed, brushing your teeth feels like one task too many. Electric toothbrushes do most of the work of brushing your teeth—and pretty much all of the thinking. If you’re having a hard time getting your twice-daily brushes in, electric toothbrushes can be a solution.
The business end of your toothbrush is the bristles so understanding that bit is crucial to finding the right brush. But then, just when you think you’ve found the right one, you’re confronted with varieties like soft, soft medium, soft hard, hard medium, hard-soft, etc.
For most people, picking up the toothbrush with the label “Soft” will do as long as they are brushing their teeth for two minutes, twice a day. Using harder bristles than that can erode gums and enamel and lead to gum disease or sensitive teeth. Unless otherwise instructed by your dentist, it’s best to stick with the soft bristles—just don’t go using bird feathers.
Head Size and Handle Shape
When it comes to the overall shape of your toothbrush, what you want to focus on most is maneuverability.
Toothbrushes with smaller head sizes are, unsurprisingly, better at getting into the smaller parts of your mouth whereas toothbrushes with bigger heads cover more area. Similarly, curved handles and handles with anti-slip surfaces allow you to maneuver the brush more deftly to get into the smaller spaces in your mouth.
Of all the choices that you’ll face in selecting your new toothbrush, this one will be the most difficult. No dentist can help you here. You’re on your own. Red or blue? Orange or green? The choice is yours.
Don’t Forget the Fundamentals
The most important thing to remember when it comes to your toothbrush—apart from colour, of course—is to put it to good use. Regardless of your type of toothbrush, unless otherwise instructed by your dentist, make sure that you are brushing your teeth the recommended two minutes, twice daily.
And after you’ve put that toothbrush to good use, don’t be afraid to let it go the way of the dinosaur. Most dentists recommend replacing your toothbrush or getting a replacement head for your electric toothbrush once every three months.
If you still can’t decide on whether to go for the blue toothbrush or the red one, don’t be shy, drop by Applewood Dental and ask for our expert advice.
p.s. Always choose red.