What kind of toothbrush should you get?

What kind of toothbrush should you get?


Thinking about buying a new toothbrush? Which kind should you get?

There are varying opinions on this, that are nothing more than that, “opinions.” Some will tell you that they will only ever use manual toothbrushes, others will tell you they prefer a toothbrush that oscillates or moves back and forth by itself. Those, however, are preferences, that’s not what I want to go over. I want to go over, what kind of toothbrush you should get. The answer to that is a pretty simple one…whichever you will use the most. Some dentists will tell you that one may do more for you than another, in terms of cleaning plaque off of your teeth and helping to prevent gingivitis and gum disease, but, what’s the point in them telling you that if you don’t even like to use (or can’t use), that type of toothbrush? That’s a very good point, and I’m glad you brought it up. The truth of the matter is, sometimes people rather enjoy owning and using electric toothbrushes. It makes them feel like their teeth are getting really clean (at least, when I use mine, I do). There are also some NIH reviews that back that up. Let me go over what I’ve learned.

Manual Toothbrush

Manual toothbrushes have been around for quite a long time, some have been seen clear back to the 1600s. Before then people were using bark, twigs, and other such means to clean their teeth. Yes, manual toothbrushes have been soldiering along, doing that dirty task of cleaning our teeth, and they’ve been doing it pretty well. They have evolved since the early days of horse and hog hair bristles attached to a piece of bone or ivory. Nowadays you can see them sporting gum massaging rubber sides, or rubber tongue cleaners on the reverse side. They bend and flex around the teeth to help cover as much area as they can and, now, they are made of something other than animal parts. They also have really good grip now, as opposed to the straight plastic handle of yore. Yes, they have come a long way. Now, to talk about their newfangled cousin, the electric toothbrush.

Electric Toothbrush

Electric toothbrushes made a first appearance in around the mid 1900s or so. They were originally intended for people with braces or poor motor skills, those who had a hard time brushing with a manual toothbrush. Electric toothbrushes have also gone through a bit of an evolution. Nowadays you can find electric toothbrushes that sport a timer, so you know when you have done your two minutes of brushing, there are even some that will beep when you’ve done 30 seconds for that area of your mouth. Some electric brush heads spin around and around going a full 360°, others oscillate, and others are ultrasonic, vibrating at incredible speeds. They are, each one, designed to improve our oral health, to remove more bacteria and plaque, and to work at preventing gingivitis and gum disease. You can say good things about each type of electric toothbrush.

So, which one?

Well, there was one type of toothbrush that had a slight statistical advantage over manual, the rotating oscillating toothbrush head (here’s the article). That’s it. Both kinds of toothbrushes are effective (this is assuming you know how to use a manual toothbrush as effectively as possible). Electric toothbrushes are popular with dentists as a lot of the cleaning is done on a sort of “automatic.” With you just holding the powered toothbrush to your teeth, it’s doing something to clean them. This is part of the reason I believe a lot of dentists recommend electric toothbrushes. It helps to make the cleaning of your teeth that much  more likely to happen, even if you are half asleep, standing at your sink, eyes still closed, and just going through the motions, you’re still doing something with a powered electric toothbrush!

With all of that, I would still say, get a toothbrush that you know you will use. Some prefer electric over manual. Electric toothbrushes do have their appeal to a lot of people, and they are effective, but, then again, so are manual toothbrushes. It just depends on how you use them.

I hope this helped!

Stay healthy my friends.



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