Last updated on April 26th, 2023
Despite numerous dental treatment options nowadays, toothbrushing still stands as the simplest and the most common routine that one can follow daily to keep his/her mouth clean.
For some people, it is such a simple routine that they don’t care much about the toothbrush they use. They just buy what is on sale at the market. However, toothbrush technology is improving every day, and there are various types of toothbrushes available to meet different needs. Therefore, choosing the right toothbrush is particularly important when you have certain mouth problems, or you have just got dental treatment such as veneers, zirconium crowns, or implants. In this article, you will learn about the types of toothbrushes, toothbrush technology, and the importance of picking the right toothbrush under some dental conditions.
Types of Toothbrushes
It is widely accepted that toothbrush was first created and used by ancient Egyptians and Babylonians around 3300 B.C. These toothbrushes were made of twigs in nature, and they looked way more different than the ones we use today. Around the 1400s, the Chinese developed toothbrushes that looked similar to the modern ones we know. At least, they were made of bristles which were obtained from pig’s hair and handles made of bones or bamboo.
When toothbrush was transferred to Europe and the U.S, it was improved gradually. The first nylon bristle toothbrush and electric toothbrush were designed and used only after 1950. Today, you can see a great variety of toothbrushes on the market. There are manual and electric ones with straight or curved handles with grips. Also, the bristles come in various materials, heights and shapes.
A great majority of people use manual toothbrushes. Though they vary in detail, manual toothbrushes are typically made up of a handle and bristles. This type is cheap, ergonomic and easily accessible, applicable, and transportable. However, they still offer decent oral health. You can clean your enamel, gums, and even the surface of your tongue. In addition, they don’t need any maintenance or technical knowledge. You just need to put some toothpaste on it and brush your teeth for 2 minutes twice a day. Although soft bristles are recommended, you can find toothbrushes with medium or strong bristles, as well.
An electric toothbrush is another option for those seeking superior hygiene in their mouth. The head, which holds the bristles, vibrates or rotates by the electric power supplied by a rechargeable battery system. You can clean your teeth with less effort, and the electric toothbrush‘s bristles brush any spot on your teeth many more times than you could do with a manual toothbrush. However, there are a few drawbacks to electric toothbrushes. First, they are generally more expensive than the manual ones, and you need to charge the battery at intervals. Secondly, since your control over the rotating bristles is limited, it might be a bit harder to reach between the teeth until you get used to it. Also, you might damage your gum or enamel unless you use it gently.
Other Toothbrush Types
Aside from manual and electric ones, there are also interdental toothbrushes and chewable toothbrushes. An interdental one is made up of a small cylindrical head covered with tiny bristles and a smaller handle. Smaller cylindrical bristles allow you to clean between teeth and other hard-to-reach parts in your mouth. It is used as a more practical alternative to flossing, especially by those having braces. Experts advise the users to change the brush head weekly, which is a relatively shorter span comparing regular ones. On the other hand, a chewable toothbrush should be disposed of after use since they are designed for single use. A chewable brush is a good option for travelers at airports or stations. You can even find one in vending machines in public places. Both interdental and chewable ones are complementary equipment to classical manual or electrical toothbrushes you use at home.
Complementary equipment is not limited to toothbrushes. Thanks to the developing technology, you can also find some electric flossing tools that are gaining popularity among people who are meticulous in their dental care. Although experts always recommend people to floss between their teeth with a flosser, many people turn a deaf ear to all those remarks since traditional string flossing is a bit hard routine to follow on a daily basis.
Fortunately, modern technology has offered water floss and air floss innovations as alternatives to traditional string floss. Water floss is a dental tool giving a focused water stream to the teeth and gums, whereas air floss does the same job by blowing a sharp airstream instead of water. In both tools, the idea is to loosen and remove plaque and food particles between teeth. Comparing water floss to air floss, we can say that water floss offers better plaque removal than air floss. Also, water floss is usually less expensive than air floss.
Some users still prefer air floss due to its more practical use. Water floss is used with a cord and usually takes up more space in your bag, while air floss is typically cordless and thus easier to transport and use. Whatever your choice is, you should keep in mind that these complementary dental tools will never replace regular toothbrushing twice a day.
Toothbrush Bristle Types
Brushing the teeth twice a day and flossing regularly are always advised by dentists. However, bristle types are not taken into consideration unless it is specified by the dentist explicitly. As you might already know, the types of toothbrushes vary according to the softness of their bristles. Here are three basic bristle types:
Soft toothbrush is probably the most frequently advised brush type. It is ideal for sensitive teeth and sensitive gums. In fact, there are even extra-soft toothbrushes for those having severe sensitivity problems, or those who have just had a dental procedure.
Medium brushes can remove the stains or plaque on the tooth surface easier than soft brushes can do. However, it might cause pain or discomfort after brushing.
Hard brushes are not something that you can see at a market easily. As you might guess, the bristles on a hard toothbrush are stronger and more rigid compared to the softer ones. They can remove the stains or plaque better, but they can also damage your tooth enamel.
Smart technologies and wireless connections have noticeably accelerated toothbrush technology recently. Although there are many global or local companies in the business, Oral-B, Philips, Colgate, Waterpik, Curapox, Spotlight, and several other brands are leading the market by producing innovative technologies. Timer, cleaning mode, pressure sensor, interaction with mobile devices are some key features that these companies emphasize in their productions.
Oral-B electric toothbrush (Genius 9000) is a promising product for people taking tooth care seriously. The product is distinctive with reducing plaque levels significantly in a relatively short time. In addition, thanks to its six different cleaning modes, you can clean your teeth deeply, gently, quickly…etc. depending on your need. It also has a pressure sensor and timer, making sure you are doing your brushing decently.
Furthermore, using the Bluetooth connection option, you can get feedback on your brushing and store your data on your mobile device for later monitoring. Another brand, Spotlight Oral Care Sonic Toothbrush , offers all these facilities with some extra features. It provides three brushing heads in sizes so that you can pick the one that fits you the best. Also, the battery life is relatively longer.
Toothbrush technology is constantly improving, and today, there are a lot more options than before. You should consider your necessities and see professionals get advice. Being aware of your oral problems and dental treatment will help you to pick the right product for yourself.
Choosing The Right Toothbrush
There are a lot of toothbrushes in various types, technology, and prices. So, it is not easy to choose the best toothbrush. However, you can still choose the right toothbrush for your mouth through a good analysis of your needs and the products on the market. Here are some key factors that might help you pick the right one for you.
Powered vs. Manual Toothbrushes
As explained in detail above, manual toothbrushes are easier to access and much cheaper than powered toothbrushes. On the other hand, powered toothbrushes are offering superior hygiene with less effort. Though they are pricey, they can brush any point more times than a manual toothbrush.
Hard vs. Soft Toothbrushes
Hard toothbrushes are more likely to clean plaque on the surface of the tooth, but they can damage the teeth enamel. Soft bristled toothbrushes, on the other hand, are gentler on the tooth surface. It means you get minimum damage through brushing.
Best Toothbrush for Periodontitis (Gum Diseases)
If you are suffering from certain dental problems, you cannot be that free to choose any product you want. Therefore, instead of picking one randomly, you should consider the expert opinions under certain dental conditions such as gum diseases.
Gum diseases are very common in society. In many cases, gums begin to recede, but it might lead to tooth loss unless the patient takes care of the problem. In addition to the regular gum treatment at the dentist, you should use the right toothbrush at home.
The studies show that electric toothbrushes perform small but statistically significantly better compared to manual ones when gum diseases are concerned. Therefore, rather than brushing the teeth with a random toothbrush , you should consider doing the brushing with the best electric toothbrush as a person having gum disease.
Best Toothbrush for Implant
The implant is another popular dental treatment these days, and experts advise patients to use a sonic toothbrush after getting implants ( i.e. , Waterpik sonic fusion ). They say that plaque removal is easier and faster with sonic toothbrush es, and it keeps the implants healthy. As for veneers and zirconium crowns, experts don’t specify a particular type of toothbrush, but they still insist on using a toothbrush with soft or extra-soft bristles so that you don’t damage the tooth surface.
Best Toothbrush for Dentures
You should follow your dentist’s recommendations before being overloaded by many choices. For instance, if you are using dentures, you should use denture brushes designed exclusively for this treatment. Denture brushes are typically bigger than regular toothbrush es, and they have two brush heads. The bristles on the heads fit perfectly to the denture shape, and they are not so hard but still firm. Hence, a denture brush can clean around the dentures to eliminate bacteria there
Best Toothbrush for Children
Making the habit of toothbrushing is of critical importance for little kids. Therefore, adding some fun into the brushing activity might help a lot. To this end, powered toothbrushes can work better for you. However, since they usually need charging or batteries, it is better you, as an adult, take care of such technical routines. Also, it is advised that an ideal toothbrush should be a soft-bristled one, and it should be small enough to fit the child’s mouth properly.
To sum up…
As stated by many experts, the best toothbrush is the one that you brush your teeth twice a day. In other words, having the most expensive product will not help you unless you put it into action. Keeping that in mind, there is a great variety of toothbrushes and complementary technologies today, and you can find a suitable one for yourself very easily. However, you should be more selective if you have a certain dental problem or condition.
Note: Medically Reviewed by Dr. Yusuf Ilhan, on July 2, 2021