Is There a “Right” Toothbrush for Me?
Did you know that you should brush your teeth for at least two minutes? That’s right-120 seconds or 30 seconds for each quadrant of your mouth. Many of my patients want to maintain a healthy smile through good oral hygiene – brushing. So, I get lots of questions about how to pick the best toothbrush.
Finding the “right” toothbrush isn’t as hard as you might think. The variety of toothbrushes on the market can make the selection seem like a challenge. But, actually, just about any toothbrush that feels comfortable will work well. Here are some guidelines from the American Dental Association:
- Any toothbrush you choose should have soft bristles. Hard bristles may cause the gum tissue to pull back from teeth, which can expose the tooth root and lead to increased sensitivity to heat and cold or certain foods and drinks.
- Select a toothbrush head size that can comfortably fit into the mouth and can brush one to two teeth at a time.
- Use a non-abrasive toothpaste with fluoride. Abrasive toothpaste can be as tough on your teeth as a brush that is too hard. It’s easy to check the Relative Dentin Abrasivity (RDA) of your favorite toothpaste online. If you’re not happy with what you find, talk with your dentist.
- Powered toothbrushes don’t clean teeth any better than regular toothbrushes. However, many people find that it’s easier to brush for the recommended time with a powered toothbrush. Children are often more successful in learning the proper techniques with a power brush. If that’s the case, it is worth the investment.
- Particular circumstances make powered toothbrushes better choices than manual toothbrushes. Anyone who needs assistance brushing teeth or who has uneven teeth or misaligned teeth benefits from a powered toothbrush.
How long should you use the same brush?
Don’t be too thrifty. A worn out toothbrush can not clean your teeth. Replace your toothbrush or powerhead every three months. And always replace your toothbrush after an illness.
If you’re still undecided about which toothbrush to use, consult your dentist for advice. At your next scheduled cleaning ask your hygienist for tips to help you improve your brushing technique.
For my patients, I recommend an exam and professional cleaning every six months.
Remember, healthy teeth make a healthy smile!
Dr. Nishan Halim
Nishan Halim, DMD specializes in adult and pediatric restorative and cosmetic dentistry, as well as preventive dentistry, which is at the heart of this Capitol Hill, Washington DC neighborhood dental center. If you have questions about brushing, contact Dr. Halim to schedule an appointment. Find out how he can help you maintain your healthy smile.