A toothbrush is an essential tool in oral health and hygiene. It removes food particles, plaque and bacteria while stimulating the gums and tongue. Some of the earliest examples of toothbrushes date back 5,000 years, when ancient civilizations picked at their teeth with wooden sticks. While modern-day toothbrushes have expanded in terms of design, their overall function remains the same: to encourage proper oral health.
With literally hundreds of different kinds of toothbrushes available for sale ranging in size, stiffness, shape, and design, choosing one can seem like a daunting task. Since some toothbrushes are more effective than others, though, it’s important to choose the right type.
LOOK FOR THE ADA SEAL
When shopping for a new toothbrush, check to make sure it has the American Dental Association (ADA) seal of approval on the packaging. In order for a company to display this seal on their toothbrushes, they must have it inspected by the ADA Council on Scientific Affairs and pass a certain set of criteria.
All ADA-Approved Toothbrushes Must Possess The Following:
- Bristles have gentle tips that won’t injure the gums.
- All parts of the toothbrush are safe to use inside the mouth.
- Bristles are secured in place and won’t fall out from normal brushing.
- It’s safe for kids to use without supervision.
- Provides a noticeable decrease in mild cases of gum disease and plaque buildup.
- Size is considered normal and comfortable for the respective age group’s mouth.
- Electric toothbrushes must meet additional safety requirements.
Note: you should avoid purchasing and using toothbrushes which do not possess the ADA seal.
AVOID HARD-BRISTLE TOOTHBRUSHES
Brushing with a hard-bristle toothbrush may lead to gum recession, especially when combined with aggressive brushing techniques. The hard bristles rubbing against the gums causes them to recede back towards the gum line. It’s not something that happens after one brushing, but constantly brushing your teeth with a hard-bristle brush will take its toll on your gums. Choose a soft or medium-stiffness brush to reduce the chance of gum recession and make light, gentle strokes when brushing.
MANUAL OR ELECTRIC?
The ADA states that both manual and electric toothbrushes can be effectively used to clean your teeth. Children oftentimes prefer electric toothbrushes due to their unique and fun nature. If you’re a parent who constantly struggles to get your children to brush their teeth, perhaps you should introduce them to an electric toothbrush. The automatic motion is a fun new experience that parents can use to encourage better oral hygiene among their children.
For more information about oral hygiene and to schedule an appointment with one of our dentists, contact Little Rock Family Dental Care online or call 501-954-9900 today!