I am constantly being asked questions about toothbrushes from my patients so I figured I would write a blog post and hopefully help people figure out which brush is best for them. My patients are asking, “what is the best toothbrush?” and “should I get a medium or hard brush to help do a better job?”
In my professional opinion there is no “best” toothbrush. An electric brush, either rotary or sonic will usually remove more plaque and food particles than a manual brush will. But, I do have many patients that have excellent home care using a manual brush. If your going with an electric brush the next choice to make is between a rotary or a sonic brush. A rotary brush, such as an Oral-B, generally has a small circular brush head with soft bristles and moves in clockwise and counterclockwise motions. A sonic brush, such as a Sonicare, moves in a very fast up and down sweeping motion. Both are excellent brushes, but in my personal opinion and according to scientific data collected from studies that I won’t bore you with, a sonic brush removes more surface plaque than a rotary brush.
If you are going to stick with the good old manual toothbrush then the question I get the most is, “should I get a medium or hard brush to help do a better job?” The answer is, absolutely not! Medium and hard bristled brushes are great for detailing your car or cleaning grout, but should never be used to brush your teeth. The bristles are way to rough and abrasive. Even when used with light pressure they can still be damaging to the gums and tooth surface. You should always use a soft or extra soft bristled brush. There are also so many differently designed brushes to choose from, none of which are a bad choice. I would just go with your personal preference.
No matter which toothbrush you or your dental hygienist decides is best for you, the technique in which you use the brush is what is most important. If you choose an electric brush you need to let the brush do the job for you. Very light pressure is the key to having a healthy mouth. Heavier pressure can lead to recession of the gums and abrasion of the tooth surface which can both cause sensitive teeth. If you choose a manual brush only light pressure is also needed. You should use a sweeping motion starting at the gum line going towards the top of the tooth. Another great method is brushing in big circles making sure to reach all the way to the gums. Using either of these methods or both you are sure to do a good job brushing and have a healthy mouth! Lastly, always remember to floss!