How do I choose a toothbrush best for my teeth?
How do I know if I am using my brush properly?
Are electric toothbrushes better for my teeth?
If you ever find yourself very confused and perplexed at the oral hygiene section of a drug store you are not alone. Even as a dentist I find myself overwhelmed with the options available when I am standing at the toothbrush isle. Yes you heard me right, it is very confusing and overwhelming to have too many options especially when it comes to oral hygiene products. But don’t let that intimidate you. There are a few things you need to keep in mind when shopping for a new toothbrush:
1- Ask your Dentist: First and foremost if you are unsure it is a good idea to simply ask your dentist. After all he/she is the one looking at your teeth under light and magnification- a lot of it too 🙂 We can detect wear, acid erosion, and recession around the gum line. Your dentist has the best clues on what suits your dental needs best. Many times your dentist has the perfect toothbrush suited for your teeth at the clinic and can provide it to you at a reduced cost.
At Canyon Dental Centre, we have a range of toothbrushes we can offer to our patients depending on their dental needs. For example, Curaprox, which is an extremely soft toothbrush can be perfect for receding gums or for brushing around recently completed surgical procedures such as tooth extractions or gum grafts. If you do suffer from gum recession, you need to stick to a very soft bristle brush and gentle brushing especially at the gum line.
2- Its all about Timing….Secondly, many people are not aware of the time required for brushing with a manual toothbrush. In order to do clean all your teeth thoroughly and properly reaching all surfaces of all our teeth, we are supposed to be brushing for 4 MINUTES! Yes 4 full minutes . Let me ask you this? how many of us spend that much time doing our oral hygiene routine ? Not many I bet 🙂 which leads me to my next topic…
3- Electric toothbrushes are one of the best inventions for our oral hygiene care….
They reduce staining and plaque significantly compared to a manual brush. They are very efficient and thorough in cleaning our teeth. Only 2 minutes of using the electric toothbrush equals 4 minutes of manual brushing. Half the time and less staining and plaque, now who wouldn’t want to switch to an electric brush? When it comes to electric brushes, either Oral B or Sonicare are two well known brands that offer comparable results. You are able to purchase the sensitivity brush head or use the sensitive setting on these brushes if you have receding gums. Battery operated brushed don’t last you long ( 2 months on average) and don’t do as a thorough job as an electric brush.
I encourage parents to start getting their kids familiar with electric brushes from a young age since there is no certain ‘technique’ involved and they can brush on their own with minimal supervision. One key with electric toothbrushes is that gently holding them in place and letting the brush do the work. This is great for anyone who has any dexterity issues such as with arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome or a broken wrist or arm.
I hope I didn’t make this more confusing for you as it was. Let me make it even simpler:
1. Definitely pick an electric toothbrush over a manual brush
2. Use softer bristles if you have receding gums (recession)
3. Brush longer than you think – 2 minutes with an electric brush and up to 4 minutes with a manual toothbrush.
Finally one last time, do not forget to change your toothbrush or electric toothbrush head every few months 🙂
By Dr. Neda Rafati