honey patel

i am a dentist with bachelor's degree. i will be soon pursuing masters in health care management.

Do you know your toothbrush well?

18 September 2021

Do you feel confused about choosing your toothbrush? There are thousands of varieties of toothbrushes available in the market. How to choose the right one?

Well, this blog will cover all those facts that you need to know before buying a toothbrush.

First off, let us look at the guidelines for how your ideal brush should be like from American Dental Association. Your toothbrush should be 25.8 to 31.8mm in length as well as 7.9 to 9.5mm wide with 2-4 rows of brushes, 5-12 tufts in each row. It should ideally have 80 to 85 bristles in a tuft.

Now let us look at the variety of brushes that are available and their intended uses.

  1. Manual- these are regular toothbrushes that individuals normally use. They consist of a head, a handle and bristles.

-Head houses tufts which are fixed onto the holes on its surface. Tufts are a group of bristles. There are 8 different types of heads and various head sizes to be chosen according to the individual's mouth as well as teeth size.

4 major sizes are available ranging from 15mm through 19mm, 22mm to 25mm according to the age. These are respectively used for infants, children under 6 years, children under 12 years and adults. Brush with a flexible head should be chosen so as to ensure better cleansing from hardly accessible areas and surfaces.

-Bristles are another important thing that one should be considering before buying a toothbrush. The current bristle material is nylon. There was the use of hog hair in the past. Soft bristles must be chosen over hard ones. Soft ones are more efficient in cleaning. Moreover, hard bristles can lead to receded gums, abrasion, abfraction of teeth and loss of tooth enamel with the wrong brushing technique. It is a bitter truth that most of us brush our teeth vigorously using the wrong brushing method.

It is better to choose multi-tufted brushes over uniform tufts as the former offers better cleaning efficiency because of multiple tuft lengths. \

  1. Powered- These are battery-operated toothbrushes in which the bristles rotate or oscillate to clean teeth.

Who can use powered toothbrushes? Although these were intended for use by individuals lacking dexterity and kids, anyone can use such brushes. For example, people with motor disorders like Parkinson’s, cerebral palsy and so on can brush on their own without using their hands.

These are not better than manual toothbrushes. Both types clinically show the same amount of effectiveness.

  1. Proxabrush- the tool that you need to clean the proximal surfaces of all your teeth to prevent plaque as well as calculus formation. Also known as interdental brushes, such cleaning instruments are designed with a right angle at the head and handle junction. This design makes sure both mesial and distal tooth surfaces are reached without any discomfort.

  2. Sulcus toothbrush- this comes with two rows of bristles on either side of the head diverged making an angle of 30 degrees. It has long bristles to reach the sulcus(space between tooth and gum). Such a type of brush helps maintain gingival health along with cleansing tooth surfaces. It may be indicated for persons with periodontal problems.

  3. End tufted- these are indicated especially in situations where there is crowding, ongoing orthodontic treatment, implants and so on. It is also effective in cleaning occlusal surfaces where there are missing opposing teeth.

  4. orthodontic toothbrush- patients receiving orthodontic treatment( individuals with braces) find such products helpful as this helps in plaque removal from margins of gums and fixed brackets. It also cleans surfaces between the braces wire. A conventional toothbrush is not designed to reach spaces between wires and brackets.

  5. Finger brush- it is a brush with bristles fixed on a finger cap. It is designed in such a way that it can be worn on your finger. This is mostly employed to brush an infant’s teeth.

  • Ideal brushing technique

For individuals with normally aligned teeth, the ‘modified bass method’ is the technique of choice which helps in the maintenance of optimal oral hygiene. For children (with primary dentition), the ideal method of brushing is circular which is also convenient to learn for this age group.

Beyond that, there are other brushing techniques suitable for different conditions such as Stillman’s method, Fones’s technique, charter’s method and several more.

Now that you know the type of toothbrush you need, go get it! Also, brush twice a day to avoid dental problems.

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