Which Toothbrush?

Q. The toothbrush aisle can be somewhat intimidating these days with so many varieties. With regard to the bristles, is it best to use a hard, medium or soft bristled toothbrush … or does it depend on specific dental conditions?

A. There are many options when selecting a toothbrush these days. In regards to bristles, select a bristle that has a rounded end and avoid flat-end brushes. The major brands, such as Crest®, Colgate®, and Oral-B®, are all rounded-end brushes.

Hard and medium bristled toothbrushes are great for cleaning carburetors and tile floors, but should never be used on teeth. In studies, these brushes have shown they can cause abrasion to the teeth and recession of the gums.

Look for soft or extra-soft bristled toothbrushes. These provide adequate cleaning and are less likely to cause damage to teeth and gums with aggressive brushing. Also, look for a small head size that will allow you to adequately move it into position to clean the back teeth or any other hard-to-clean areas. It is not necessary to spend more than a few dollars to find a quality manual toothbrush.

Power brushes, such as Braun Oral-B Triumph® or Sonicare®, are also in the equation. These can help achieve a higher level of cleaning, with the same or less effort then a manual toothbrush. They are excellent and I would encourage people to explore these to achieve maximum oral hygiene. With prices ranging from $80 to $200, costs can be prohibitive. In my experience as a dentist, most people who have tried a power brush say they will never go back to a manual brush.

Also, don’t forget to change your toothbrush every three months and see your dentist every six months.

Mark McOmie, D.M.D.

McOmie Family Dentistry

5999 Shallowford Rd.

Chattanooga, TN 37421