Choosing the best toothbrush

There are a few things that you should look for when choosing a toothbrush.  As a dentist, we give each of our patients a toothbrush and floss when we clean their teeth.  Many things about a toothbrush are personal preferences and really make no real difference in how they affect the patient.  These are things like the size of the toothbrush head, brand, color, and so forth.  There are 2 important things to consider when selecting a toothbrush.

The first and most important thing to consider is the firmness of the toothbrush filaments, or bristles   Toothbrushes are made with either soft, medium, or hard filaments embedded in the toothbrush head.  We give our patients soft bristle toothbrushes because they are the kindest to the gingival tissue (gums).  The hard and medium bristle tooth brushes can damage, or brush away the thin protective gum tissue that covers the thin enamel-like tooth structure covering the root of the tooth.  Then the expose root structure can also be damaged and brushed away.   This can cause gum recession and increase temperature sensitivity.  I actually did a root canal on a patient who had been brushing with a hard bristle toothbrush and had brushed through the root structure and into the pulp tissue.

The second thing to look for is a toothbrush that has rounded bristles, or filaments.  This again prevents damage from the rough ends of the filaments on the gum tissue and root structure of the tooth.  Most injuries caused by hard and medium toothbrushes are irreversible, or require surgically placed gingival grafts to correct.

If you are using a medium or hard bristle toothbrush, please discard it and replace it with a soft bristle toothbrush.  You may need to replace your toothbrush a little more often, but that is better than damaging the gum tissue and root structure and causing increased sensitivity and other associated problems caused by hard and medium toothbrushes.


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