We’ve all been there before — standing in the oral care aisle trying to decide which toothbrush to buy. What should be an easy decision has turned out to be an exercise in analysis paralysis. With all these choices, how do you decide what is the best toothbrush?
While there isn’t a best toothbrush, there are some key indicators to help you decide: soft bristles, ADA approval, and one that has size 30 or 35 bristles. But those aren’t the only things to consider.
In this we’ll look at:
- The basics of choosing a toothbrush
- Whether electric or manual toothbrushes are better
- Our toothbrush recommendations
Selecting a toothbrush is difficult, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Keep reading to learn how to choose the best from the rest and never wonder which toothbrush to buy again!
Choosing a Toothbrush — The Basics
Toothbrushes come with different features, colors, and benefits — it can feel impossible to decide. Some of us just grab the most expensive one, or the second most expensive, and assume that price is consistent with effectiveness.
Buying a toothbrush doesn’t have to be stressful, nor does it require a leap of faith. Finding a quality toothbrush that you can be confident in without breaking the bank is easy once you know what to look for. Just make sure the toothbrush you buy has these three qualities and you’ll know you’ve made the right choice.
Many people think that a toothbrush with medium or even hard bristles means that they’re getting a better clean. The truth is that medium and hard bristles can do more damage than good, especially if you tend to brush your teeth more vigorously. In fact, you actually run the risk of damaging your enamel, gums, and the root surface of your teeth!
That’s why we and the American Dental Association (ADA) highly recommend brushing your teeth with soft or extra-soft bristles. Not only are they the safer choice, but they’re more comfortable as well. Opting for soft or extra-soft bristles will remove any concerns about bleeding or negative side-effects, ensuring that you brush longer and more completely.
ADA Seal of Acceptance
The ADA Seal of Acceptance is more than something snazzy for oral care companies to put on their products. It’s actually a very important symbol of safety and quality. The seal is designed to assure you that a particular toothbrush has been painstakingly tested for quality, as well as your health and safety.
You should also look for a toothbrush that’s a size 30 or 35. This doesn’t refer to the length of the handle or size of the brush’s head. Instead, it refers to the number of bristles the brush has. It may surprise you, but more or larger bristles do not make them better. This information isn’t always printed on the packaging. Luckily, we’re always happy to make suggestions!
Kind of like medium and hard bristles, people often think that more bristles automatically means it’s better. But that’s not actually the case. Too many bristles can actually impede your ability to reach difficult parts of your teeth and mouth, which is the exact opposite of what you want in a toothbrush.
Electric Toothbrushes vs Manual: Which is the Best?
The debate between manual and electric toothbrushes has been going for a while. While most experts agree that both are effective at maintaining your oral health, one study from the Harvard School of Medicine showed that a powered brush may actually be more effective than manual toothbrushes.
The reason for this is twofold:
- Ease of use. People tend to brush for the recommended two minutes with an electric toothbrush. They’re also less demanding to use, which makes them ideal for people with mobility issues.
- Better cleaning. Many electric toothbrushes have features like a spinning or vibrating brush head. These functions result in a more effective brushing by removing more plaque between your teeth and around the gumline.
Electric toothbrushes come in a variety of styles with lots of features. A great introduction to electric brushes are vibrating manual toothbrushes. They have the same look and feel of manual brushes, but have a button that causes the bristles to vibrate. Sonic or ultrasonic toothbrushes up bacteria by spinning so fast that they create sonic waves.
Keep in mind that there is a learning curve for electric toothbrushes. Talk to one of our dentists or hygienists if you’re thinking about making the switch. They’ll be able to show you how to brush with an electric toothbrush so you get the best clean every time.
What is the Best Toothbrush: Our Recommendations
There are tons of manual and electric toothbrushes out there and many of them meet our suggestions for choosing the right one. That’s why we wanted to provide a few suggestions to get you started.
For manual toothbrushes, we highly recommend extra-soft toothbrushes from Colgate to most of our adult patients. We’re also big fans of Curaprox’s manual toothbrushes. They use CUREN filaments instead of nylon bristles to give you the softest brushing experience ever. Think of them as the Cadillac of toothbrushes!
When it comes to choosing a good electric toothbrush, we suggest brands like Burst Oral Care and Philips Sonicare. Burst has become a market leader and has been clinically proven to remove 10x the amount of plaque than manual brushes. Sonicare offers a variety of electric toothbrushes and we’re always happy to make recommendations on which to choose.
Store shelves are stuffed with toothbrushes to buy, but remember that what you need is a brush that has soft bristles, is ADA approved, and has size 30 or 35 bristles. Evidence shows that electric toothbrushes clean better than manual varieties. Just be sure to get some expert advice on how to brush with one. Finally, check out our suggestions on choosing your next toothbrush.