At Fischer Family Dentistry, we focus on preventative care because good oral health starts with healthy teeth and gums. The most important tool to help you achieve healthy teeth and gums is the toothbrush, and on June 26th, we’re celebrating National Toothbrush Day! Keep reading as our Garden City dentists share all you need to know about our favorite tool, the toothbrush.
Electric vs. Manual
There are two main forms of toothbrushes on the market today and those are electric and manual.
Electric toothbrushes have a moving head and run-on batteries, with most models being rechargeable with a replaceable brush head.
Manual toothbrushes require more work on the user’s part to apply pressure and move the brush. This option is the most affordable of the two.
With both manual and electric toothbrushes, it is recommended to replace the entire brush or brush head every three months or when the bristles are frayed.
While electric toothbrushes have many benefits and can make the brushing experience easier for users, the American Dental Association (ADA) recognizes that both manual and electric toothbrushes can be used effectively to remove plaque and reduce gingivitis. If you’re torn on whether to go with an electric or manual, discuss both options with your family dentist during your next cleaning or appointment.
It is not recommended that children under the age of three use an electric toothbrush.*
Types of Bristles
Your family dentist will always recommend that you use soft-bristled brushes, but while soft is the standard, there are two additional levels of bristles: hard and medium.
Hard-bristle brushes are more abrasive and in turn can wear down the enamel on your teeth over time. Additionally, when brushing too hard with these types of bristles, you can cause damage to your gums leading to issues like gum recession.
Medium-bristle brushes are slightly softer than hard ones but can lead to the same issues if used with excessive force.
Soft-bristle brushes have been proven to be firm enough to clean teeth effectively, but most important, they won’t cause damage to gums. Many users brush too hard causing irritation to their gums, which is why soft-bristle brushes come highly recommended by our Garden City dentists.
The Handle and Toothbrush Head
The size and fit of your toothbrush handle and head can have an effect on your brushing technique.
We recommend choosing a toothbrush with an ergonomic or no-slip handle design to help effectively reach those difficult areas.
In addition to the different levels of bristle firmness, there are differently shaped toothbrush heads. The most common you will see is a conventional head that is rectangular-shaped with rounded corners. Some brush heads are smaller and rounder to help reach those difficult areas and tight spaces in the back of your mouth.
The different style handles and types of toothbrush heads apply to both manual and electric toothbrushes, but we recommend discussing what option might be best with your family dentist.
The ADA Seal of Acceptance is the mark of dental product safety and efficacy. When a toothbrush has the ADA Seal, it means that the product went under extensive testing to deem it safe and efficient for removing plaque.
All products that receive the ADA Seal will say so on the packaging. Keep an eye out for the ADA Seal when purchasing your next toothbrush!
Toothbrushes should always be stored properly to keep bacteria away. The best way to store your toothbrush is in an upright position and it should never be stored in a closed or airtight container. Bacteria love moisture and will thrive in this type of environment. We recommend placing the brush in a cup or holder to keep it in that upright position to ensure that it dries off thoroughly.
Here are some general fun facts that you might not have known about toothbrushes!
-Nylon bristles were not introduced until 1938, which is the standard type of bristle used today. Prior to toothbrushes were made with boar-hair bristles.
-Blue is the most popular toothbrush color.
-The average American spends 38 days brushing their teeth over their lifetime.
The toothbrush is one of the most important tools you’ll need when it comes to achieving good oral hygiene. In addition to using the right toothbrush, it’s also important to floss regularly and visit your Garden City dentists for regular cleanings every six months or twice a year.
During these appointments, you can discuss with your dentist which toothbrush is the right one for you. Whether it’s general preventative care, pediatric dentistry, restorative, or cosmetic, our team at Fischer Family Dentistry will help you on your journey to great oral health. Contact our offices today to schedule an appointment!