It’s a common question dentists get – which toothbrush should I be using? The short answer is – ask your dentist! Everyone’s individual dental health means different toothbrushes work for different people. However, there are some things to definitely keep in mind and some general advice we can give.
Electric and manual toothbrushes
One of the most common questions we get asked is “should I be using an electric toothbrush?” In general, if you’re having difficulties cleaning your teeth with a manual toothbrush, or are at high risk of dental diseases (such as gum disease or tooth decay), then an electric toothbrush may be right for you. Manual toothbrushes can absolutely provide adequate oral hygiene, when used in the correct way. If, after a couple of attempts at improving a person’s manual brushing technique, there are still issues, an electric toothbrush can certainly help.
Which electric toothbrush should I use?
There are different types of electric toothbrushes: oscillating-rotating, sonic, and ultrasonic. Oscillating toothbrushes have a small circular head that rotates and oscillates back and forward at a high speed. Sonic toothbrushes vibrate at a high frequency. Generally speaking, a quality oscillating toothbrush that costs $40 has not been shown to have a different clinical outcome to an oscillating or sonic toothbrush that costs $200. However, the more costly models can have useful features for certain patients, such as a light that comes on when you brush too hard, or connect to an app that tracks your brushing. Sonic toothbrushes also effectively remove plaque from teeth – some evidence suggests that oscillating toothbrushes reduce plaque and gingivitis slightly better.
What’s the difference between medium or soft toothbrushes?
Soft toothbrushes have a softer form of nylon, which is less abrasive that the harder nylon on medium or hard toothbrushes. Always use a soft toothbrush! Harder nylon does not brush your teeth better, but does place your teeth at risk of being brushed away if you brush too hard. Good oral hygiene is about good technique, not brute force. Brushing pressure is not associated with a reduction in dental plaque.
How should I brush my teeth?
The key to good oral hygiene, is good brushing technique (and flossing!). Whatever toothbrush you use, it should be soft, and you should use gentle pressure. Click here to watch the Australian Dental Association video on how to brush.
Which toothbrush should my child use?
A soft, small toothbrush should be used for children – brands often have different sizes for the child’s age, which are appropriate sizes. Depending on the age, children should be supervised or helped with their brushing to ensure they are brushing properly.
Having issues brushing?
Some people have limited ability to brush their teeth due to age, certain conditions, or physical or intellectual disabilities. For people who have issues holding or controlling a toothbrush, there are a variety of ways to make it easier to brush. One way can be using an electric toothbrush, which has the benefits of a larger handle and easier cleaning of the teeth. There are also various ways toothbrushes can be modified to make them easier to grip and brush. Speak to your dentist to find out what’s best for you!
Do I really need to change my toothbrush every 3 months?
Yes! Toothbrushes should be replaced when there are signs of wear-and-tear, or at 3 months. This ensures the toothbrush is effective at removing plaque, without damaging your teeth.
How do I floss?
Stay tuned for a blog post about the best ways to floss, and clean in between the teeth!