Over the course of your lifetime, you’re likely to spend upwards of one thousand hours brushing your teeth. So you might as well make the most of that time by choosing a good brush.
The right toothbrush for you will fit comfortably in your hand, reach the farthest crevices of your mouth, and effectively remove plaque from your teeth without causing any damage. Here are six tips for identifying the best toothbrush for your mouth.
Choose between electric and manual.
The debate between electric and manual toothbrush users is a longstanding one. As a general rule, electric toothbrushes tend to up the oral health ante: Among other benefits, they’re more effective at reducing plaque and they may better reduce the risk of gingivitis. That said, their cost can be prohibitive for some people, while others simply prefer the feel of a traditional toothbrush. Ultimately, the right choice for you is the one you’ll use consistently.
Look for the ADA seal.
The American Dental Association (ADA) seal of approval signifies that a product is both safe and effective. Even though products with the ADA seal may cost a bit more than those without it, it’s worth ponying up for the assurance that the toothbrush will live up to its claims.
Opt for a soft-bristled brush.
While it might feel satisfying to brush with hard bristles, they’re so abrasive that they can actually damage the gums and teeth. For this reason, it’s best to opt for a soft-bristled brush. It’ll take care of the cleaning without causing any collateral damage.
Customize the toothbrush head to your mouth.
Some folks have larger mouths; others have smaller ones. So it makes sense to select a toothbrush head size that’s the right fit for you. For example, if you find it challenging to reach the nooks and crannies at the back of your mouth, it might be a good idea to opt for a smaller head.
Also consider the head shape—some are more tapered, while others are more broad. There is no right or wrong choice here; what matters is that it’s comfortable for your mouth and can adequately reach the farthest edges of your molars.
Consider the grip.
As with head size and shape, there are tons of options when it comes to toothbrush handles’ shape, heft, and so on. Once again, there is no right or wrong choice here—it’s just a matter of what feels best in your hand. For example, if you have mobility issues, you may find that a thicker handle is easier to grip; if you have small hands, then you may prefer a narrower handle. Don’t be afraid to try out the feel of different toothbrush handles before committing to a purchase.
When in doubt, consult your dentist.
If you’re still feeling overwhelmed every time you go toothbrush shopping, don’t hesitate to reach out to your dentist. They’ll be able to provide recommendations regarding the best toothbrush size and shape for your mouth.
No matter which toothbrush you choose, make sure to replace it (or its head, if you’re using an electric version) at least every three months—or as soon as the bristles start to look discolored, matted, frayed, or otherwise worn. Also be sure to invest in a new brush (or brush head) after an illness. By being mindful of your toothbrush purchases and brushing properly, you can enjoy better oral health for years to come.