Everything You Should Know About Tooth Brushes
According to the American Dental Association (ADA), forms of the toothbrush have existed for nearly 5000 years with today’s modern nylon-bristled toothbrush invented in 1938. Brushing helps remove food and plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that can irritate the gums that, if left to accumulate, can eventually progress periodontal (gum) disease.
Both regular trips to the dentist and practicing proper at home care are part of having healthy teeth and gums, and having good dental hygiene ultimately starts with you. With so many shapes, sizes and styles of toothbrushes on the market, deciding which kind to buy can be confusing.
According to the Canadian Dental Association (CDA), the best kind of toothbrush is soft, with rounded bristles. For children it should be the right size for your child’s mouth, and for seniors experiencing difficulty holding the toothbrush due to arthritis or some other health condition, try enlarging the handle with a sponge, several layers of aluminum foil, or a bicycle handle grip.
When choosing an appropriate toothbrush, here’s what you should look for:
- Soft-bristles – most dental professionals agree that a soft-bristled brush is best for removing plaque and debris from your teeth and along the gum line.
- Comfort is key – the type of handle (such as non-slip grip or flexible neck), shape of the head (tapered or rectangular) and style of bristles (such as rippled, flat, or trimmed to a dome shape); pick whatever shape and size is most comfortable for you. The best toothbrush is one that fits your mouth and allows you to reach all teeth easily.
- Powered toothbrushes versus regular brushes – powered toothbrushes are fun and may remove more plaque than regular toothbrushes, powered toothbrushes may also make brushing easier particularly for those who have difficulty brushing or who have limited manual dexterity.
When it comes to proper technique, brush at a 45-degree angle to your teeth. Direct the bristles to where your gums and teeth meet. Don’t scrub - use a gentle, circular, massaging motion, up and down on all sides. A thorough brushing should take at least two to three minutes. Change your brushing pattern to keep it interesting and prevent missing spots habitually.
Remember to keep your toothbrush clean as well:
- Thoroughly rinse toothbrushes with tap water after brushing to remove any remaining toothpaste and debris.
- Store the brush in an upright position to allow the toothbrush to air-dry until used again.
- Keep brushes separated to prevent cross-contamination.
- Do not cover toothbrushes or store them in closed containers as this is more conducive to the growth of microorganisms than the open air.
Finally, the CDA recommends replacing your toothbrush when it begins to show wear, or every three months, whichever comes first. It is also very important to change toothbrushes after you’ve had a cold, since the bristles can collect germs that can lead to reinfection.
Red Deer Teeth Cleaning
If you have toothbrush questions, or if you or your family members need dental services, call your Red Deer dentist at Parkland Mall Dental Centre at 403-342-1118 and book your appointment today. New patients are always welcome.