A wall sconce in the hallway of our dental practice


There is a wide variety of toothbrushes available. Many have bristles organized in patterns that reach the greatest possible area of the tooth surface.  Different kinds are designed for cleaning between the teeth and along the gum line. Even others are designed with a row of colored bristles that fade with use, letting you know that it’s time to replace the brush.

The best possible toothbrush should have the head small enough and angled correctly to be able to reach all your teeth. It should also have multiple tufts and a soft-to-medium texture.  Hard bristled brushes are not recommended as they can damage your teeth and gums.  The bristles should have the ends rounded and they should be made of nylon.  Bristles that are preferable are made from synthetic materials rather than natural materials and that is for hygienic reasons.  Natural materials are likely to absorb bacteria because they may be porous.

Toothbrushes should be changed at the very first noticeable sign of wear.  Bristles wear differently from each individual depending on how and how often the toothbrush is used.  The bristles can become flattened and lose their shape.  And the removal of plaque with an old worn out toothbrush becomes less efficient.  Every four to six months is the recommended length of time to change your toothbrush.

You should never share your toothbrush with anyone as they can harbor bacteria that is infectious. Did you know that using the same toothbrush can transmit hepatitis and other diseases?  Mothers should not share their toothbrushes with their children as the natural immunity to infection that the child shares with the mother does not last indefinitely.  And you should always keep toothbrushes stored separately.

Now let’s talk about toothbrushes for children.  A small headed toothbrush is recommended so it is easy for the child to use and so it will not cause gagging when they brush their back teeth.  It should be the right length and thickness for the child to provide a firm and easy grip.  And since we want brushing of the teeth to be a fun experience for  children,  many toothbrushes have brightly colored heads and handles and even cartoon characters.

Now, what about those electric toothbrushes?  The action of these brushes is more efficient than the manual brush for cleaning of the teeth.  They are also recommended for people with arthritis and other disabilities and for the elderly as well. Or for anyone who has difficulty managing a manual toothbrush.

Electric toothbrushes may provide the motivation and interest for people who are reluctant to properly brush their teeth and children really enjoy the fun of using an electric toothbrush.  They also result in a more thorough cleaning of teeth and particularly at an early age, that can be critical. Cleaning of the teeth will only be successful if the motivation exists to have healthy gums and teeth. Electric toothbrushes have been proven to be quite successful in removing plaque and maintaining good oral health.

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