National Dental Hygiene month (October) is followed by National Brush Day on November 1st, so it seems fitting to discuss one of the important tools of dental hygiene: your toothbrush!
There is some research that shows that a rotary (spinning) toothbrush is more effective at removing dental plaque than the standard manual toothbrush. If this is something you can afford to buy and buy replacement heads for on a regular basis, you are likely to benefit from its use. Ones that pulsate as well as rotate have been shown to be even more effective than just spinning ones.
If you can’t afford it or just prefer the traditional toothbrush, how do you know which toothbrush to pick when you’re in the oral care aisle at the store? First, look for one that has the ADA seal. (Ask your dentist if you’re not sure what this looks like.) The ADA seal means it has gone through a stringent testing process to show that it won’t harm your teeth.
Other things to look for are:
- Soft rounded bristles that won’t harm your gums. Many people think they need a medium or hard bristle brush to get their teeth really clean. Soft bristles will do the job. Dental plaque is soft; tartar or calculus is hardened dental plaque. No toothbrush will remove tartar or calculus from your teeth. All medium or hard bristles will do is scratch your teeth and irritate your gums.
- Rounded synthetic or polished end bristles. These types help reduce the amount of bacteria that remain on your toothbrush after brushing.
- One that looks like it will feel comfortable in your hand.
- One that’s small enough to reach all the surfaces of your teeth (even the back ones) . You should be able to brush your back teeth without having to open your mouth more than an inch or so. For some adults, this may mean that you need to choose a compact toothbrush head, a youth toothbrush or even a child-size brush. If you're buying for a child, be sure to pick the size that's recommended for his or her age.
Since the recommendation is to change your brush every 3-4 months, hopefully this will help you pick the best toothbrush for you!
Dr. Jennifer Robb is a general dentist with an office at 1612 Cooper Foster Park Rd., Lorain, OH 44053, 440-960-1940. She is taking new patients. Find out more at www.drjrobb.com
Coming soon--the office will be moving to 1320 Cooper Foster Park Rd.