Facts on Toothbrushes and Brushing

Something critically important to your overall well-being is something that you probably don’t think much about — your toothbrush. Do you know how long you should use your toothbrush before you replace it? Do you know if a manual toothbrush gets your teeth cleaner than an electric one? How hard or soft should your toothbrush be? Below are the top facts on toothbrushes and brushing so you’ll know the answers to these questions and more.

Choosing the right toothbrush

Did you know that the first mass-produced toothbrush was made around 1780? The first American to patent a toothbrush was H. N. Wadsworth in 1857. Prior to that, people used chew sticks or boar bristle brushes. Now, there are so many types of toothbrushes available that it can be overwhelming to find the right one for you. Here are some general guidelines:

  • Size: choose a toothbrush head size that can get to all surfaces of your teeth. Anything bigger than a half-inch wide and an inch-tall would be too large for most adult teeth. The handle should be long enough to fit in your hand comfortably.
  • Type of bristle: for most people, choosing a soft-bristle brush is the best choice.
  • Expert choice: ask your dentist for a recommendation or look for brushes that have the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal of Approval.

Manual toothbrushes vs. powered toothbrushes

According to the ADA, both manual and powered toothbrushes effectively clean your teeth. It’s really a matter of preference. If you find using a powered toothbrush to be easier and more fun than a manual one, then go for a powered toothbrush. Don’t assume it gets your teeth cleaner, though. Overall, powered toothbrushes are a better choice for people with limited manual dexterity.

Brushing technique

The ADA recommends that you brush twice a day and clean between your teeth with floss or another type of cleaner at least once a day. The sequence doesn’t matter as long as you do a thorough job of removing plaque, which tends to be after eating in the morning and before sleeping at night.

The recommended technique for brushing is as follows:

  • Place the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to your gums
  • Move it gently back and forth in short strokes
  • Brush all surfaces of your teeth and your tongue

Keeping your toothbrush clean

By giving your toothbrush a thorough rinsing after brushing, you will remove any toothpaste and debris. Store your toothbrush upright and allow it to air-dry. It’s important to not cover your toothbrush because bacteria will build up in a moist environment.

Replacing your toothbrush

Replace your toothbrush every 3 to 4 months. Around this time, the bristles will be frayed and worn. As soon as the bristles appear frayed, buy a new toothbrush to prevent harming your gums with the worn bristles. Keep in mind that children’s toothbrushes need to be replaced more frequently than adults’.

Dental health is an important part of your overall well-being. Taking your dental health seriously and learning as much as you can about brushing and toothbrushes means you are on your way to a lifetime of beautiful smiles.

Posted In: Oral & Dental Health Tips