Doc, What Kind of Toothbrush Should I Be using?

The plethora of options for buying a new toothbrush might be confusing. Should you go with an electric or non-electric (manual) toothbrush? Which brand of electric or manual toothbrush? What type of bristles should my toothbrush have, does it even matter?

Let’s clear the air with some basics first: You should be brushing twice a day for two minutes, and at least try to floss once a day. Refer to this YouTube video for proper brushing technique:, then we can talk about toothbrushes.

Brushing teeth helps to remove plaque that builds up on our teeth and root surfaces over time. Within this plaque is a whole host of bacteria and other microorganisms that work together with the sugars we eat to break down teeth (resulting in cavities) and gum disease1,2. In light of this, it is imperative to brush/floss off this plaque everyday. Now what is the best way to do so?

First Decision to be made while searching for a new toothbrush is the Type of Bristle, the part of the head of the brush that you actually use against the tooth. Second question is, do you go with the fancy electric toothbrush or regular manual toothbrush.

Hard, Medium, or Soft Bristles: The general consensus is that Hard Bristles can cause damage to your gum tissues and cause gum recession, especially if used incorrectly3. The same can be said for Medium bristles, and we don’t want to be destroying the foundation around our teeth4.

Best Choice of Bristle: Soft Bristles

Electric Versus Manual ToothBrushes: The options here are endless. Very good electric toothbrushes exist at affordable prices, the only downside is that you have to buy replacement heads every 3-4 months. But the same should be done with manual toothbrushes anyway, so it may be more cost effective in the long run to electrify5.

Best Choice of Toothbrush: Electric

Very good data suggests that electric toothbrushes are capable of removing more plaque than manual toothbrushes6,7. Personally, I like the electric toothbrushes because most of them have a timer which alerts the user when 2 minutes has elapsed, AND some of the newer electrics have a pressure sensor to alert the user when they are brushing too hard.

Best Choice for You:

Seriously any soft-bristled toothbrush, manual or electric, that you enjoy using twice a day for two minutes. Save the Hard bristles for your bathroom tile floor grout and brush on.

Here’s an Electric Toothbrush that I use: Oral-B Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush with Artificial Intelligence(Replacement Brush Head/Travel Case), White, 1 Count

  1. LOE, H., THEILADE, E., & JENSEN, S. B. (1965). EXPERIMENTAL GINGIVITIS IN MAN. The Journal of periodontology36, 177–187.
  2. Von der Fehr, F. R., Löe, H., & Theilade, E. (1970). Experimental caries in man. Caries research4(2), 131–148.
  3. Zimmer, S., Öztürk, M., Barthel, C. R., Bizhang, M., & Jordan, R. A. (2011). Cleaning efficacy and soft tissue trauma after use of manual toothbrushes with different bristle stiffness. Journal of periodontology82(2), 267–271.
  4. Zanatta, F. B., Bergoli, A. D., Werle, S. B., & Antoniazzi, R. P. (2011). Biofilm removal and gingival abrasion with medium and soft toothbrushes. Oral health & preventive dentistry9(2), 177–183.
  5. For the dental patient. A look at toothbrushes. (2007). Journal of the American Dental Association (1939)138(9), 1288.
  6. Yaacob, M., Worthington, H. V., Deacon, S. A., Deery, C., Walmsley, A. D., Robinson, P. G., & Glenny, A. M. (2014). Powered versus manual toothbrushing for oral health. The Cochrane database of systematic reviews2014(6), CD002281.
  7. Van der Weijden, F. A., Campbell, S. L., Dörfer, C. E., González-Cabezas, C., & Slot, D. E. (2011). Safety of oscillating-rotating powered brushes compared to manual toothbrushes: a systematic review. Journal of periodontology82(1), 5–24.

3 responses to “Doc, What Kind of Toothbrush Should I Be using?”

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