While visiting the dentists at Gentry Dentistry of Suwanee twice a year for a good cleaning and dental exam will go a long way in protecting your teeth and gums for years to come, your toothbrush is your first and best line of defense the other 363 days of the year. Brushing your teeth after meals – or at least in the morning and before bedtime – cleans the teeth and tongue, massages the gums, releases food particles and protects against plaque build-up. When used in conjunction with a fluoride-based toothpaste and flossing, brushing your teeth is a highly effective preventative care practice against tooth decay, gum disease and cavities. But how do you choose the toothbrush that’s right for you? Here are just a few examples of different toothbrushes you’ll find on the market, as well as their potential benefits to the user:
Traditional Manual Toothbrush
The most common type of toothbrush you will find in the oral care aisle, manual toothbrushes come in a wide variety of colors, shapes, sizes and bristle textures. If you have sensitive gums, you might opt for a softer bristle brush. If you have a small mouth, you may prefer a toothbrush with a smaller head. Some come angled to make it easier to reach your molars in the back. And some feature rubber grips, making it easier for vigorous brushers to hold onto their toothbrush. Be careful not to select a toothbrush with bristles that are too hard, as they could damage your gumline. Gentry Dentistry recommends a manual toothbrush with a soft head as opposed to hard bristle head.
Representing the marriage of the manual toothbrush and a handheld flosser, an inter-dental toothbrush gets into those hard-to-reach places BETWEEN the teeth. They can remove plaque and debris from the gaps in your teeth and are an excellent tool for anyone with bridges or braces who has difficulty using traditional floss due to their wires. Be careful not to select an inter-dental toothbrush with a head that’s too large or you could increase the gaps between your teeth over time from regular use. Bear in mind that this toothbrush is not a stand-alone tool and should be used in conjunction with either a manual or electric toothbrush.
As the name might suggest, an electric toothbrush – often battery-operated and/or rechargeable – feature powered bristles that rotate and vibrate to remove plaque buildup and clean your teeth. Studies have shown that they are more effective at removing plaque than manual toothbrushes. They are a terrific tool for people with limited mobility due to carpal tunnel syndrome or arthritis, as well as people with braces and children who don’t always prove to be thorough brushers. Some come with music and an automatic timer, so kids know when they’ve brushed long enough – and they add a little bit of fun to the morning and pre-bedtime routine. Again, Gentry Dentistry recommends our patients use a soft bristle head.
A Bluetooth – or “Smart” – toothbrush is an electric toothbrush that has built-in sensors that can record data related to your brushing habits. It then sends that data to an interactive app on your phone via Bluetooth, letting you know how long you brushed, attention given to different areas of the mouth, how much pressure you applied, angle you used and more. In addition to the fact that it’s an electric toothbrush that is more effective at removing plaque, the data it collects can help you improve your technique and become a better brusher.
Following the charcoal toothpaste trend, manufacturers have developed toothbrushes with activated charcoal infused into the bristles. Proponents believe charcoal can freshen your breath, eliminate bacteria in your gums and whiten your teeth – as well as perform the function of removing plaque from your teeth. While they do make the teeth look whiter, the fear is that it’s because they are removing more enamel than a regular toothbrush and toothpaste. Charcoal toothbrushes are not approved by the American Dental Association due to concerns over tooth erosion, so the dentists at Gentry Dentistry of Suwanee advise against using them.
Overall, the best toothbrush to protect your oral health is simply the one you are most comfortable with and will use on a daily basis. Be sure to look for the Seal of Acceptance from the American Dental Association (ADA) to ensure that it’s been deemed safe and effective. If you’re uncertain whether or not you have the right brushing technique, let one of our hygienists know the next time you’re in for a visit at Gentry Dentistry of Suwanee and they’ll walk you through some methods for getting to those hard-to-reach or often overlooked places in your mouth (like the backs of your lower incisors!) To set an appointment for your next cleaning, book now through our online contact form or call our patient service desk at 770-945-5850.