Like Goldilocks testing for the perfect bowl of porridge, you should choose your toothbrush with care. Is it too soft, too hard, or just right? On National Toothbrush Day, pick the toothbrush that’s right for you.
Toothbrushes have been used by ancient civilizations for more than 5,000 years. The first toothbrushes were “chew sticks” made of thick twigs and hog hair bristles. Luckily for us “civilized” folk who can’t imagine touching hog hair let alone putting it in our mouths, toothbrushes have come a long way since then.
Even if you’re as picky as Goldilocks, you can find a toothbrush to fit your every need. Experts say your choice should depend on how comfortable your toothbrush feels in your mouth when you brush. If you bleed frequently during brushing, your toothbrush may be too hard. Too-hard bristles can pull your gums away from your teeth, exposing the root. This can cause pain or sensitivity to hot and cold foods. In addition, a hard toothbrush can erode your tooth enamel.
Toothbrushes can be manual or electric. The American Dental Association (ADA) doesn’t recommend one over the other but suggests you choose the one you will actually use. Children and adults who have trouble handling a manual toothbrush may be more likely to use an electric one. The ADA also has guidelines for toothbrushes:
• Pick a toothbrush that will cover two of your teeth at a time (usually 1-inch long and ½-inch wide.)
• You don’t want toothbrush bristles that fray or fall out with normal use. Bristles with sharp endpoints or edges can cut into your gums.
• Your toothbrush handle should be durable and all parts of the brush should be safe to use in your mouth.
• Most toothbrushes last three to four months before they need to be replaced.
Whatever toothbrush you choose, remember to brush your teeth at least twice and floss once daily.