You know how important it is to brush your teeth at least twice a day. Regular brushing removes food particles and bacteria from your teeth that can lead to tooth decay. Even though it’s not discussed as often, it’s also important to choose the right toothbrush and toothpaste.
If you haven’t checked out your options lately then you may be overwhelmed by all of the toothbrushes and toothpastes on the market. Each product claims to be the best at keeping your mouth healthy. It can be difficult to make a choice.
Electric vs. Manual Toothbrushes
The first decision to make is whether to use an electric or manual toothbrush. Manual toothbrushes are cheaper, but electric toothbrushes have other benefits.
- Rotation-oscillation toothbrushes are the type with bristles that move in circles as well as back and forth. Some studies have shown them to be more effective than manual toothbrushes.
- Vigorous brushers may find electric toothbrushes easier for brushing because the toothbrush acts as a guide.
- Many electric toothbrushes have timers so that you are more likely to brush for a full two minutes as recommended.
Still, choosing between an electric and manual toothbrush is a personal choice. You are more likely to brush if you like the toothbrush.
Other Factors to Consider in a Toothbrush
Once you decide whether to go with an electric or manual toothbrush, there are some other factors to consider:
Bristles come in soft, medium or hard nylon. Most people choose soft toothbrushes because they feel more comfortable. That can be a good thing because you will probably brush longer. Medium and hard bristles are not a good choice for people who brush vigorously. It is too easy to damage teeth and gums if you aren’t careful.
- Toothbrush Head
Toothbrush heads also come in different sizes. The average person can maneuver a toothbrush head no more than one inch tall and ½ inch a wide. Remember, you need to brush hidden crevices and hard to reach spots in the back of your mouth too. A toothbrush head that is too large can make this difficult.
Choose a toothbrush with a handle that is most comfortable for you to hold. You may prefer a non-slip handle that is easy to hold even when it gets wet. A flexible neck allows you to reach further into your mouth and maneuver between teeth.
Choosing a Toothpaste
If you thought choosing a toothbrush was confusing, wait until you see all the options for toothpastes. There are gels, powders and pastes in addition to:
1. Whitening toothpastes
Whitening toothpastes use abrasives to remove stains from teeth and leave them looking whiter. They don’t usually contain bleach.
2. Toothpastes for sensitive teeth
People with sensitive teeth often prefer toothpaste made for easily irritated teeth. The main ingredient in these pastes is potassium nitrate or strontium chloride, which block pathways in the teeth where nerves attach.
3. Tartar control toothpastes
If you find tartar build up to be a problem, then there is toothpaste for you too. Pyrophosphates and zinc citrate are chemical compounds in toothpaste that prevent tartar from building up.
The most important ingredient in toothpaste no matter which kind you prefer is fluoride. It strengthens tooth enamel to prevent decay. It also can begin to repair areas damaged by acids. All toothpastes with a seal from the American Dental Association contain fluoride.
Choosing a toothbrush and toothpaste you are happy with is important. When you find them be sure to brush properly every day. Toothbrushes need to be replaced every three months or as soon as they start to show wear.
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