When it comes to finding the best toothbrushes, it can be a little overwhelming. There are so many options in the toothbrush aisle. But hey—we’ve come a long way!
Did you know that the first toothbrushes were just sticks that people chewed into “brushes”? This happened around 3500 BC, and over time people also used porcupine quills, bird feathers, linen strips, animal bones, and even boar bristles.
It wasn’t until the late 1400s that toothbrushes began to resemble modern ones—when Chinese dentists began using the hairs of pigs and bamboo sticks. Finally, in 1780, William Addis became the first person to mass-produce toothbrushes (his company stills exists, by the way), and in the 1930s, DuPont de Nemours introduced toothbrushes made with nylon bristles, which people still use today.
And now, in 2017, we have a wide variety of toothbrushes to choose from: electric, soft-bristle, hard-bristle, every size and color. So how do we decide what the best toothbrush is?
The Bristle Battle
Bristle choice seems to always throw people. A store will typically offer “extra soft”, “soft”, “medium”, and “hard” bristle options. There’s something about “soft bristle” that somehow seems like it won’t clean teeth as well, but this is wrong. In general, the best toothbrush choice will be a soft bristle. In fact, if you have sensitive teeth or any signs of enamel erosion, you may even want to try a toothbrush with “extra-soft” bristles.
Many people tend to choose hard bristles because they think it will be better at scrubbing their teeth clean, but hard bristles can actually cause “traumatic tooth brushing” and damage your tooth enamel. It can even lead to gum recession and lesions on the gums.
There’s never really a great reason to choose hard bristles. Some people believe that they can remove more plaque than soft-bristled brushes, but the damage is usually worse than the benefits.
Toothpaste is already abrasive. It doesn’t need help from hard bristles or aggressive brushing!
Also, while soft bristles might fray more rapidly than hard bristles, they still do a better job of cleaning your teeth safely. And besides, you should be replacing your toothbrush every four months, anyway!
Other Factors That Make A Great Toothbrush
Besides the bristles, what else goes into the best toothbrushes? This will depend on the user. For example, there are many different sizes and shapes of toothbrush heads. You’ll need to find the shape that best fits your mouth, since everyone has a unique mouth shape.
Also, be sure to steer away from no-name toothbrush brands. They may be cheaper, but they’re simply not worth it. Off-brand toothbrushes can actually harm your teeth and gums. Stick with a well-known manufacturer with a time-tested reputation like Oral B.
We Need Our Enamel
When the enamel on our teeth is worn down, we lose some protection against gum and tooth disease. The enamel protects the softer layers of our teeth from bacteria, so it has an important purpose.
Soft bristles make the best toothbrushes because they will gently clean your teeth without attacking the enamel.
Find The Best Toothbrush For You
If you truly believe that hard bristles may be better for you, the best thing to do is to bring it up with a dentist next time you have a visit. You may find that a completely different type of toothbrush, such as an electric one, does more for you than hard bristles do.
For any dental care questions you may have about the best toothbrushes or anything else, you can always ask us at Infinite Wellness Dental. We are oral health professionals in Glendale, California, and we would love to help you out! Simply contact us and we will answer you quickly.