Posted by Karen - 23 Mar 2015
Depending on how vigorously you brush your teeth and the strength of your teeth, medium- and hard-bristled brushes could actually damage the gums, root surface, and protective tooth enamel of your teeth. Follow these tips to select the right toothbrush fo
What kind of tooth brush should I use? - Soft, medium or hard or electric?
Before working in the dental world I used to think the harder the brush the better the clean. Hard bristles scrubbing your teeth clean. Well I was so wrong. Did you know that if you use a hard or medium bristle brush you can damage your gums by traumatising them & pushing them up the teeth? Have you heard of the old wives tail, “as you get older you get long in the tooth”. This is not really true, people’s teeth look longer due to their gums receding either from periodontal/gum disease or brushing with a hard or medium toothbrush.
It makes sense to think that a hard bristled brush would be effective at cleaning your teeth however if you clean your teeth too vigorously you can damage tooth structure and gum tissue. A soft bristled brush will gently remove plaque because the bristles splay into all the nooks and crannies whereas a hard bristled tooth brush can irritate the gum and push the gum away from the tooth. One of the jobs of the gum is to protect the root surface so correct brushing technique is essential but if the gums recede from hard brushing, the root is exposed making you more at risk of dental decay and tooth sensitivity.
So the big debate, electric or manual?
Well electric definitely has its place. An electric tooth brush can benefit someone who has manual dexterity problems like Arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome and Parkinson’s. Most good electric tooth brushes have a timer which helps the user to know when 2 minutes is complete, which would help ensure a proper clean to maintain good oral health.
It can be hard to get children to brush their teeth however if you use a kids electric tooth brush with a picture on the handle and tell them the brush tickles this can make it more fun and encourage them to want to brush their teeth twice a day for 2 minutes.
Manual toothbrushes come in many shapes and sizes and are a lot cheaper than an electric brush. A plain soft bristled toothbrush with a small head will do the job. You can do just as good a job with a manual as you can with and electric tooth brush but you do have to put the time and effort in. Manual tooth brushes are a little easier to travel with because you don’t need to make sure it is charged or bring a charger.
Whether you choose an electric or manual brush make sure to change your brush every season, around every 3 months or when the toothbrush bristles have splayed. Whichever brush you choose just remember it is the brushing twice a day and flossing that counts to maintaining good oral health.
At Hobsonville Dentists Karen Hobbs, our Dental Hygienist/Therapist & our three dentists, Andrea Clarke,Tristan Barker & Geoff Moulder are here to assess & help with all aspects of oral health care & gum treatments, from simple scaling and polishing to complex periodontal problems
Posted by Karen