Does the Type of Toothbrush Matter?


At My Family Dentistry, patients often ask us if one type of toothbrush is better than another. The truth is that many of today’s toothbrushes do have great features that can help you improve your brushing habits.

Always remember to brush well and brush often, no matter what type of toothbrush you use. Here are some things we think our patients should know about choosing the right toothbrush for you:

Electric Powered Toothbrushes

The ADA likes to remind everyone that manual toothbrushes can be just as effective as electric toothbrushes. In reality, people do tend to get better results from electric toothbrushes. A major study published by the ADA found that 80 percent of patients enjoy better dental health with an electric toothbrush. 

Electric works better for two reasons:

  • People are more likely to brush for an adequate amount of time with an electric toothbrush. Do you brush for the recommended 2 minutes? A powered toothbrush makes brushing less tiring, so you won’t stop too soon.
  • Spinning or vibrating heads can reach hard-to-clean places. The extra motion of the bristles helps you wipe away more plaque and clean more effectively between teeth and around the gumline.

You can choose from several varieties of electric toothbrushes:

  • Vibrating manual toothbrushes like the Oral-B Pulsar. These look and feel like a regular toothbrush, with a button to activate the vibrating bristles. This is a great option if you are nervous about switching your type of toothbrush to electric.
  • Rotating toothbrushes such as the Oral-B Professional Care series and similar. This is the most familiar electric toothbrush for many, with a replaceable head that spins in circles while you brush.
  • Sonic or ultrasonic toothbrushes like Philips Sonicare. They’re called sonic because they spin fast enough to make sound waves that may help break up bacteria.

Soft vs. Firm Bristles

Whether you go manual or electric, be gentle on your teeth and choose soft toothbrush bristles. Brushing simply needs to wipe away plaque and food debris. The bristles do not need to be firm to accomplish this.

Firm bristles (or too-aggressive brushing) can damage the enamel on your teeth and hurt your gums. If you like your current toothbrush but want better results and more comfort, stick with the same type of toothbrush but switch to soft bristles.

Getting Kids to Brush

Have you noticed how stores carry all kinds of kids’ toothbrushes with cartoon characters and funny colors? Children definitely care about the type of toothbrush they use—if they dislike it, they’ll avoid using it.

Electric toothbrushes are safe for children, and many kids actually love using them. But when in doubt, let children pick their own type of toothbrush so they’ll brush more often.

The team at My Family Dentistry is happy to help you make sense of all those options for toothbrushes, toothpaste, flossing devices and more. Contact us today if you have any questions about getting the best oral care for you and your family.

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