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5 Common Questions About Toothbrushes

Man Pouring Toothpaste On Toothbrush
If there's one piece of oral care equipment that absolutely everyone needs, it's a good toothbrush. Many patients sometimes have questions about these oral care tools and their use. Don’t take toothbrushes for granted —improve your toothbrush knowledge by taking a look at the answers to some of the most common toothbrush questions.
1. Is an Electric Toothbrush Necessary?
These days, more and more patients are opting for electric toothbrushes over manual ones. With the high cost of electric toothbrushes, you may be wondering if they're actually necessary or worth the price. The short answer is it depends. 
You can absolutely do a thorough job of cleaning your teeth with a manual toothbrush — provided you brush for the recommended two minutes and make sure you cover all tooth surfaces. However, many people do not adhere to these recommendations.
With an electric toothbrush, you are more likely to do a thorough job of brushing. Electric toothbrushes also make brushing more fun for kids, and they're great for cleaning around braces.
If you cannot afford an electric toothbrush, don't worry. You can still do a great job of brushing with a manual toothbrush provided you take your time and pay attention. 
2. How Often Should You Replace Your Toothbrush?
Many people wait to replace their toothbrush until it starts looking worn. However, toothbrush bristles often become worn and less effective before they actually look run-down.
The ADA recommends replacing your toothbrush — or your brush head if you use an electric toothbrush — every three to four months. You should also switch to a new toothbrush after you've had a cold or the flu. The pathogens that cause these illnesses can cling to toothbrush bristles, leading to reinfection. 
If you have trouble remembering to replace your toothbrush, try building up a stash of brushes so you don't have to remember to pick a new one up at the store every couple of months.
3. What Is the Best Way to Store Your Toothbrush?
In an effort to protect their toothbrushes from germs, some people store their toothbrushes in enclosed containers. However, this is actually a bad idea because it traps in moisture, making bacteria and fungi more likely to replicate on your toothbrush.
The best way to store your toothbrush is upright — in a holder with the bristles exposed. Try to keep the holder inside a cabinet to limit contamination. Do not let multiple toothbrushes touch each other, as this allows bacteria to spread from brush to brush.
4. What Size Toothbrush Head Is Best?
Do you sometimes stand in the toothbrush aisle feeling overwhelmed by all of the options? One of the biggest differences between various toothbrushes is the sizes of the heads. Most adults are better off choosing a small head rather than a larger one. Smaller toothbrush heads are easier to maneuver, so you'll be less likely to miss tricky areas like the sides of your molars.
Children need even smaller toothbrush heads, so make sure you buy a child-specific brush for any child under 12.
5. Should You Choose Hard or Soft Bristles?
While you might assume hard bristles will do a better job of cleaning your teeth, a soft-bristled brush is usually the better choice. Soft bristles are still tough enough to scrub away plaque, and they are easier on your tooth enamel and gums. Soft bristles are also less likely to cause discomfort and bleeding when you brush.
Hopefully, you have learned a little about the proper use of toothbrushes and how to select the right one. Remember to choose a toothbrush that carries the ADA seal, and reach out to your dentist if you're having trouble choosing one that works well for you. Contact us at Pierpan Family Dentistry if you're looking for a new dentist in the Hampstead or Jacksonville area.