All I Want for Christmas Is a New Toothbrush?

Author: Dr. Sarah Mischo, DMD

Dr. Andrew from {PRACTICE_NAME}Did you receive a gift card for the holidays, but aren’t sure what to spend it on? Are you thinking about treating yourself to a new toothbrush? No, I’m not joking, and if you’ve recently walked down the oral hygiene aisle at Target, Walmart, or any other department store you may have been overwhelmed by the sheer number of toothbrush options that are available. So what is the best type of toothbrush to invest in?

I get this question from patients all the time, and the answer is both simpler (and slightly more complicated) than you might expect. The most important piece of home oral hygiene is remembering to do it, and even the fanciest toothbrush won’t help improve and maintain your smile if you aren’t using it regularly. But for those of you who have mastered the habit of brushing and flossing regularly, there are some important difference in toothbrush types that you may want to know about. 

Powered toothbrushes have been available since the 1940’s, and electric toothbrush technology has made some big strides in that time. In general, modern powered/electric toothbrushes have been shown in repeated studies to remove more plaque, reduce rates of gingivitis, and reduce the gingival (gum) bleeding than standard manual toothbrushes. That said, while toothbrush companies spend a great deal on advertising to convince you that their particular powered toothbrush is the best in the business, there is little quality evidence to suggest that one particular brand or model of electric toothbrush performs significantly better than any other. 

Now that you have the right toothbrush, here are some tips that you can use while brushing your teeth. Hold the toothbrush at a 45 degree angle and make sure that you are brushing along the gumline. The gumline is where plaque is most likely to accumulate. If plaque remains on tooth structure for long periods of time this can lead to cavities forming. Don’t forget to get the toothbrush back by the molars on the cheek and tongue sides–these are the spots that are often forgotten. One last step to aid you in brushing your teeth is to set your timer. A lot of the electric toothbrushes today have apps you can download on your phone that will time the length of brushing. You should be brushing your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time. 

So the next time you are in the office feel free to talk to your dental hygienist or dentist about different toothbrush options or some quick pointers on your technique!