Have you ever stopped by the store to grab a new toothbrush only to be confused by the dozens of choices? It’s no longer a simple decision between blue, red, and green handles. Each brand offers a selection of colors, styles, and bristles making it difficult to pick the right one.
While the color of your toothbrush may matter to you, it’s not as important as the type of bristles. Understanding the difference between bristles could help shorten your time in the toothbrush aisle and help the health of your mouth!
Types of Toothbrush Bristles
Toothbrush bristles have come a long way from the early days where they were made from boar’s hair. Modern toothbrush bristles are made from nylon and broken into three main classes – soft, medium, and hard. You may also see extra soft bristles from some brands.
Why Hard Bristles are Disappearing
Hard-bristled or extra firm toothbrushes are less common than the other styles and increasingly difficult to find in stores. Even though they are best at removing plaque and food debris, many professionals feel they do more harm than good.
Using hard bristles can hurt your gums and cause them to erode, especially if you use too much pressure when brushing. Hard bristles can also damage tooth enamel, especially when paired with an abrasive toothpaste.
What About Medium Bristles?
Medium-bristled toothbrushes fall somewhere between soft and hard bristles. They are stiff enough to remove debris, but soft enough that they don’t damage tooth enamel. However, you need to be careful with your gums when using a medium bristle.
The Basics of Soft Bristles
Soft bristles are most often recommended because they work for everybody. They’re gentle on your gums and won’t harm your tooth enamel. However, if you don’t do a sufficient job brushing, you’re not going to clear away all of the plaque and food debris.
A Note About Extra Soft Bristles
Extra soft toothbrushes are available and may be recommended in some situations. They are beneficial to people with delicate gums or enamel. Sometimes, an extra soft bristle is suggested after dental work or oral surgery.
How to Choose the Best Toothbrush to Use
There are so many toothbrush choices on the market that it can be overwhelming. However, your biggest decision comes down to soft vs. medium bristles.
Your bristle choice may be impacted by the type of toothbrush you prefer. Do you use a manual or electric toothbrush? Each has its advantages, but your preference could impact the type of bristles you want.
If you use a manual toothbrush, you may want a medium bristle to clear away more plaque and food debris. Just be wary of the amount of pressure you use.
Electric toothbrush users will probably lean toward soft bristles. Since the toothbrush does a lot of the work for you, it protects your gums and enamel without compromising the removal of plaque and debris.
Don’t forget to consider the size of the toothbrush head and comfort of the handle. If it’s too large for your mouth, you’re not going to cover all of the surfaces of your teeth. Handles that are too large, too small, or awkwardly shaped make toothbrushing uncomfortable and may impact your efficiency.
Toothbrush Tips for a Healthy Mouth
Keeping your toothbrush clean is critical to the health of your mouth. You don’t want to use a dirty, worn toothbrush on your teeth.
Clean your toothbrush after each use by running it under warm water for at least one minute. Taking the extra minute means washing away excess toothpaste, debris, bacteria, and germs. You don’t want them sitting around on your toothbrush until your next use!
Properly store your toothbrush between uses. Keep it upright in a rack or cup, so it can air dry between uses. Even when traveling, be careful not to store your toothbrush in an airtight container.
No matter how well you care for your toothbrush, it eventually needs to be replaced. You should replace your toothbrush every three to four months or after you’ve been sick.
Remember, a good oral care routine also includes regular trips to the dentist. There is no substitute for having your teeth professionally cleaned. Plus, your dentist can identify any issues and prevent them from developing into problems.
If you’re looking for a new dentist, or it’s been a while since your last dental visit, contact the Jefferson Dental Care clinic nearest you to make an appointment. Our team is here to help you maintain a happy, healthy smile!