Choosing a toothbrush to fit your needs and comfort while also delivering maximum efficacy can be daunting. There are more options than ever before on the market for both manual and electric toothbrushes. The dental aisle at your local pharmacy might be overwhelming. And an increase in social media advertisements may persuade you that one is more esthetically pleasing than another but might not be looking out for your best interests in regards to effectiveness.
Below are some things to consider when picking out a toothbrush. Your best option is always to consult your dental professional. Your hygienist is one of the few people that can actually evaluate if you and your toothbrush are achieving the level of biofilm (plaque) removal necessary to maintain a healthy mouth. But here are some general guidelines to consider:
Technique: The bottom line is that a good electric toothbrush is likely your best option. Electric toothbrushes can deliver superior plaque removal with the right technique. The key is letting the brush do the work for you. Scrubbing with a manual toothbrush, as many of us were once accustomed to, can be a hard habit to break. But manipulating the electric toothbrush head around each tooth slowly gives the bristles the time needed to effectively disrupt the bacteria that has attached to your teeth.
Price: You don’t have to buy the most expensive toothbrush you can find, but I recommend at the very least purchasing one that is rechargeable instead of battery operated. It will last longer and be more effective.
Brand: New ones keep showing up and they aren’t all equal. In my experience, a Phillips Sonicare or Oral-B electric toothbrush are tried-and-true options. This isn’t to say that you should avoid any other brand, and this isn’t to say that I won’t have a new suggestion for you next year. I can tell you that, strictly based on my observations, certain toothbrushes – particularly some that are widely advertised for their esthetics on social media, such as Quip – are not proving to be as effective.
Sensitivity: If you’ve stayed away from electric toothbrushes because of sensitivity or sensory issues, consider starting with a toothbrush head designed for sensitivity. They are softer and will feel less aggressive. Consider also how the toothbrush works. While most people have no problem with the vibration of a Sonicare toothbrush, for others the oscillating brushing action of an Oral B may be preferable.
Technique: Avoid aggressively scrubbing your teeth. If your bristles are flaring out or wearing out quickly, you’re brushing too hard. A gentle circular motion for a full 2 minutes will achieve that same clean feeling without causing any damage.
Brand: Many of the same brands have dominated the manual toothbrush world without offering anything particularly special. My best advice for someone who strongly prefers a manual brush to an electric one is to try a Curaprox toothbrush. You probably won’t find it in your local pharmacy, but you can find them online. These manual brushes have a greater number of bristles, are very soft, and have proven to provide better plaque removal than any other manual brush I’ve tried. They will also likely last longer for you than the average manual brush.
Bristles: Always soft or extra soft- no exceptions.
No matter what you choose, consistency is one of the most important factors. Brushing twice a day for 2 minutes is still considered the gold standard for the average person, but different tools and techniques can make a huge difference in your dental health. Ask your dental hygienist to help you find what’s right for you.