Is it Time for a Toothbrush Swap?
You use your toothbrush twice a day every day, but do you give it much thought? Do you browse the toothbrush aisle in the same way you browse for a new pair of shoes? Probably not. In most cases, we grab a toothbrush, use it every day, but don’t consider whether or not it’s effectively cleaning our teeth. We want you to get the most out of your toothbrush so that you can protect your teeth from decay and your gums from disease. Choosing the right toothbrush is vital, so we’re here to help.
Electric or Manual Toothbrush?
While both electric and manual toothbrushes are approved by the American Dental Association, there are pros and cons to each. Electric toothbrushes have been proven to reduce plaque by 21% after daily use for three months, as well as reduce gingivitis by 11%. Oscillating toothbrushes are even more effective at cleaning than the ones that simply vibrate. Electric toothbrushes are also known to increase focus while brushing and are especially helpful for children and anyone with braces. People with arthritis or limited mobility may find an electric toothbrush more comfortable and easier to use. However, electric toothbrushes are more expensive than manual brushes and may be inconvenient when traveling or when it comes time to replace the head. Manual brushes are easily accessible for cheap prices which makes them desirable. But manual toothbrushes are potentially dangerous for aggressive brushers. Many people brush too hard when using a manual brush and damage the gums and teeth.
Not All Toothbrushes are Equal
While each toothbrush on the shelf is approved by the ADA, they are not all made equally. A manual or electric toothbrush is not the only thing you need to consider. One of the most important aspects of a toothbrush is the bristle. Bristles can be soft, medium, or hard but the most common recommendation is soft bristles. Medium and hard bristles can scrub away protective enamel or hurt your gums—especially if you already tend to brush your teeth hard. Those with sensitive gums will benefit from a soft-bristled toothbrush. It is also important to make sure the bristles have rounded tips to effectively clean your teeth without damaging them. When it comes to your toothbrush, size matters. Children should use a child-sized brush so that they can easily maneuver the brush to clean all sides of their teeth. Regardless of your choice between manual or electric, allow your child to give input on the toothbrush they want to use. Your children are more apt to brush their teeth regularly if they like their toothbrush. This is true of adults as well. The more comfortable we feel with our toothbrush, the better we will be at brushing correctly and consistently.
At Anderson & Atkins, DDS, we believe that brushing your teeth is crucial for two reasons. First, it removes debris from your teeth. Second, it is the vehicle that carries fluoride toothpaste to every tooth. Fluoride is necessary to strengthen and protect your teeth. In order to most effectively carry out these two purposes, we recommend using an electric toothbrush. Dr. Brady claims to use an electric and manual toothbrush interchangeably, so we never disregard someone’s preference to use a manual brush. We only encourage you to consider your brushing habits. If you are exhausted before climbing into bed at night, ask yourself if you’re brushing your teeth sufficiently. If you tend to rush when brushing your teeth, you will benefit from an electric toothbrush which does the hard work for you.
If you have questions about your toothbrush and whether or not it’s getting the job done right, contact our office at (979) 846-1813. If you need to schedule an appointment for a cleaning, or have concerns about cavities or gum sensitivity, make an appointment at Anderson & Atkins, DDS today.