“What is the best toothbrush?”
The answer is any quality tooth brush you will use for two minutes that is soft. Many companies produce oral hygiene products we use and distribute Butler Gum products because they are high quality. In addition they have helped us by providing tooth brushes we have donated in Costa Rica and provided to the emergency shelters here in Carlsbad during the Harmony fires.
Since the beginning of time people have known that oral hygiene is important. The oldest tooth brush was probably a twig that had been softened on the end that was found in the pyramids of ancient Egypt.
Funny in researching toothbrushes I came across that fact in a history of dentistry and at the time I thought to myself sure, they found some twig in the pyramid and declared it the oldest tooth brush. How could they determine it was used by the pharohs as a toothbrush? Then last week an Egyptian patient of mine brought back this special twig he had purchased in Egypt for me. He said that this twig had been used since ancient times to clean teeth. It perfectly matched the description in the book and as you can see you simply peel away the bark and a brush like end is created. In addition the twig is supposed to contain special medicinal alkaloids which prevent gum disease.
I haven’t tried it yet or added it to our recommended products but who knows, so many modern medical discoveries are based on ancient wisdom that I am not ready to completely discount it. Although improvements have been made in design and materials the basic goal is the same; to disturb the bacteria in your mouth so they can not become organized and destructive. You cannot sterilize your mouth nor do you want to as many bacteria actually contribute to our health keeping other more destructive bacteria away or helping to digest our food. In spite of all the hype given various toothbrushes that make Madison avenue and specific companies money, see photo, it is time on task that makes the difference. Simply find a shape that is comfortable to grip and fits in your mouth easily. If you simply time yourself with a soft toothbrush for two minutes twice a day you will be largely successful in removing the plaque from your teeth. ( We are not talking about flossing or the surfaces between the teeth at this time.) Sure you might miss a particular area but that is our job to point it out and give you direction and additional tools to clean that area.
Why a soft toothbrush?
We often hear, “My teeth do not feel clean if I do not use a hard brush.” That tingling sensation you feel after using a hard brush is just the nerve endings on the root surface being exposed by the removal of protective tooth structure and gum. One of the most common problems we see is gum and tooth structure being worn away by overzealous hard brushing. Unfortunately this leads to significant problems requiring fillings, gum grafts and sensitivity see sensitivity blog. Simply imagine if you used a hard brush and an abrasive powder to clean your bathtub twice a day for thirty years. Do you think there would be any porcelain left on the tub? The key is to disturb the soft plaque, bacteria, before they get a chance to harden or cause destruction. Once you have not disturbed the bacteria for more than three days they are able to harden and you can no longer simply brush them away. That is why professional dental cleanings are important, to remove bacteria that you are not able to brush away. A soft brush bends and gets into the areas more easily with less pressure and helps to prevent the buildup.. We will discuss brushing techniques in a another post but suffice to say harder is not better.
How often should I change my toothbrush?
If your toothbrush bristles are splayed out and it looks worn get a new one. see photo. You do not want to be brushing with the handle. One of the problems with a worn toothbrush is that the bristles become sharpened and can cut away the gum and tooth structure more easily. We recommend changing toothbrushes once a month so that the bristles have a round non destructive end. One of the best ways to rejuvenate your toothbrush or or clean your toothbrushes if your family members have been sick is simply put them in the dishwasher. Storing your tooth brush in a covered container or putting all you toohbrushes together promotes bacterial growth. It is better to let the brush air out and dry out.
What about automatic toothbrushes?
The answer is the same. If it will help you to brush for a at least two minutes and warn you by stopping if you push to hard it is a great idea. The other reason we recommend automatic toothbrushes is for people who have lost manual dexterity and are unable to control the toothbrush adequately to get to all the surfaces. For children toothbrushes with timers and gadgets that encourage them to brush longer are great tools.
What about other cleaning tools?
Sonic care, water picks and all the various types and shapes of toothbrushes, small picks rubber tips all are useful and work for some people. We recommend you use whatever works for you and we will help you to evaluate each method and tool at your cleaning appointment, show you areas of concern and give you advice as to what is working. The key is to find what works for you and use it.