Which style of toothbrush is the best? Is an electric toothbrush worth the money? Let’s Dig in.

Dentist Claudia Martinez of The Tooth Doctor General and Cosmetic Dentistry Practice in Tampa, FL Weighs in. 

Manual Toothbrushes
Manual toothbrushes come in a million different shapes and sizes by different manufacturers such as Colgate, Crest, OralB, POH and many more. The brushes are categorized by the vendor as extra soft, soft, medium and hard. Do coffee, tea, soda or wine stain your teeth and are you just sure that an extra soft toothbrush or soft toothbrush won’t be enough to remove those stains? Do you also remember that the last time you used a soft brush, within one week, the bristles splayed out like a Christmas tree skirt? Maybe this left you thinking you should go with a medium or hard toothbrush bristle this time?

Well, your Tampa Tooth Doctor says that, believe it or not, you should choose a soft or extra soft bristle toothbrush regardless of your eating and drinking habits. The reason the brush bristles on the soft brush you used so quickly flattened is because you were pushing too hard. Proper tooth brushing includes sweeping the bristles of the toothbrush under the gums, so the toothbrush is angled up 45degrees for the upper teeth and down 45 degrees for the lower teeth, with the toothbrush bristles half on the tooth and half on the gum. The amount of pressure required is light and if you use a tight circular motion, you will find that the area will be clean. It is imperative that you don’t abuse the gum tissues. By using medium and hard toothbrushes, more often than not, damage is caused to the gums. These harder bristles may also brush away tooth structure at the gum line and even root structure if the bad habits continue.

If you feel like soft toothbrushes aren’t getting your teeth “clean”, then you might want to ask yourself a few questions:

  1. Am I brushing using the proper technique?
  2. Am I flossing daily, at night, before brushing?
  3. Do I know how to floss properly?
  4. Am I using floss picks or am I using regular floss? – Be mindful that floss pics were designed as an emergency, hygienic, version of flossing. They were never meant to replace regular floss because they do not have the flexibility to contour to the side of a tooth for a proper cleaning.
  5. Am I brushing at least twice a day, after breakfast in the morning, and before bedtime?
  6. Do I visit my dentist twice a year for check-ups and cleanings?
  7. Do I brush my tongue after I brush my teeth?

If you have answered no to any of the questions, this may be the reason why your mouth doesn’t feel clean after brushing. If the stains aren’t coming off, try some baking soda in the toothpaste and if that doesn’t work, talk to your dentist.

Now, what about electric brushes? Are they superior to manual brushes? 
The simple answer is yes, if they are ultrasonic electric brushes like the popular Sonicare and OralB brands. These electric brushes may be worth an investment. Like any toothbrush they must be used correctly and can be very effective. Most other electric toothbrushes on the market, however, are not as effective as a manual toothbrush (used correctly). Yet, if a trending brush is what it will take to get your teenager to brush, anything is better than nothing. It is important to know that electric toothbrushes are NOT to be used like a regular toothbrush. They are very powerful tools that require a particular method of use to prevent problems such as gum recession. Please read the manufacturer instructions supplied with an electric toothbrush carefully to receive the most benefit.

If you already have periodontal problems, The Tampa Tooth Doctor would hesitate to recommend an electric toothbrush. If you visit your dentist regularly and you don’t know whether you have periodontal problems, most likely you don’t. If you haven’t seen your dentist for a long time, then it may be good to have a checkup and consult with him or her whether an electric brush is right for you. Likewise, those of you who regularly visit a dentist, but have not gotten a good report card, discuss the option of an electric brush with him or her during your next visit. For everyone with good report cards who don’t already use an electric brush, the Tampa Tooth Doctor says that you probably don’t need one… but if the thought is an exciting one to you, then go for it!… but make sure that you use it properly.

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