Choosing a toothbrush can become an overwhelming task when you are standing in front of an aisle full of brushes. It’s great to have choice, but how do you decide which toothbrush is best for you?

The fact is any toothbrush is capable of removing plaque but the effectiveness of the brush can vary based on the size, hardness, shape and texture.

Size

In this case one size does not fit all. The size of the brush head is the most important aspect factor. A smaller size head is better than a large one so that it can easily fit in the narrow spaces and access the back of the mouth easily. Following is general guide when choosing the correct size:

  • children 0 to 2 years should have a head length of 15 mm.
  • children 3 to 6 years should have a head length of 19 mm.
  • children 7 to 12 years should have a head length of 22 mm.
  • 13 years and above should have a head length of approximately 25 mm

Hardness

We recommend a soft toothbrush for effective cleaning. You may think using a medium or hard bristled removes plaque better, however this is not the case. Plaque is soft and is effectively cleaned by a soft toothbrush.  An extra/ultra-soft brush is suitable for those with sensitive teeth and /or receding gums.  Never choose a hard or medium bristled brush as they can cause wear of enamel and gum recession.

Shape and Texture

Toothbrush heads are available in two general shapes: the conventional rectangular shape and a diamond/rounded shaped head. The diamond/rounded shaped head is preferred as it is narrower at the top to reach tight spaces and around the back teeth.

The bristles of the brush come in different textures.  There is the traditional/block; no variation, where the bristles are all the same length and shape and are neatly packed together.  V-shaped or wavy bristles are best for reaching in between the teeth.  Multi-level bristles are good for hard to reach areas in the back of the mouth and between teeth. Wavy or multi-level provide a better plaque removal than older traditional models.

Electric vs Manual Toothbrushes

We often are asked which one is better and our answer is electric for two main reasons: electric toothbrushes normally come with a two minute timer, which lets you brush for the required amount of time and you don’t need to think about doing the correct motion as you do with the manual toothbrush.

Regardless of which brush you choose, you should replace your brush every 3 months or more often if you notice the bristles are becoming worn down.

Chantel Munroe, RRDH & Abinaash Kaur, DDS

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