We all use our toothbrushes 2 to 3 times a day, but we might not know as much as we should about this disease-preventing tool. Here at Ultimate Smile Design, we have answered some of the most common questions about toothbrushes so that you don’t need to wonder anymore.
How Often Should I Change My Toothbrush?
According to the American Dental Association, you should change your toothbrush every three to four months. When bristles become frayed and matted down, they are not as effective in removing plaque, food, and bacteria. Toothbrushes also are home to bacteria from your mouth or bathroom surfaces that build up over time. If you have been sick with a cold, flu, or another virus, you should replace your toothbrush and store it separately from the toothbrushes of your family members. Toothbrushes that are stored next to each other can easily pass along bacteria and viruses.
How Can I Clean My Toothbrush?
After you brush your teeth, run hot water over your toothbrush and move the bristles around to dislodge any food removed from brushing. We recommend that you sanitize your toothbrush every two weeks by soaking it in antibacterial mouthwash or a baking soda solution for 30 seconds. Other methods you can use are denture cleaner or a UV light toothbrush sanitizer.
Should I Use a Toothbrush With Soft or Hard Bristles?
Toothbrush bristles come in a variety of sizes and textures to cater to your oral hygiene needs. They have either hard, medium, or soft bristles. But which is better? Most dentists agree that soft bristles are the safest option. If you choose hard bristles, you risk brushing too roughly. This can damage the protective enamel layer on your teeth, causing sensitivity. Brushing too strongly with hard bristles can irritate your sensitive gum tissue, causing receding and pain.
If you prefer hard bristles because they remove more plaque, incorporate flossing into your routine instead. Soft bristles are just as effective if you use the correct technique! This includes using a rolling motion and holding your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle.
Should I Use an Electric Toothbrush?
It’s time to ditch your manual toothbrush! A recent groundbreaking study concluded that people who use electric toothbrushes have “healthier gums, less tooth decay, and also keep their teeth for longer” compared to those who use manual brushes. This is likely due to their oscillating heads, which spin back and forth to dislodge plaque, food, and bacteria.
Electric brushes have been shown to prevent gum disease and tooth decay more effectively than manual types. Many people claim they have not made the switch because of the daunting price tag. However, many are available for as low as $15, which is a fair price to pay for the health of your teeth and gums.
Consumer Reports has gathered reviews and ratings of several electric toothbrushes. The highest-rated is Oral-B Genius x 10000 which gets high marks for cleaning performance, ease of use, and extra features such as a timer and pressure sensor. Coming in at a close second is the Philips Sonicare Protective Clean 6100 which has great cleaning performance and features three speed levels and three brushing modes.
You'll still need to change out the electric toothbrush heads the same way you would a traditional brush.
A Lifelong Healthy Habit
Daily brushing and flossing is the best way to prevent tooth decay and gum disease. Using a toothbrush that is clean and in good condition will help you have healthy teeth and gums. And remember to visit your dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings!
Ultimate Smile Design in Palm Bay, Florida, is dedicated to providing the best dental care in Brevard County. Contact us today for an appointment!
This article was originally published in October 2020 but has been updated for accuracy and freshness.