You may know you need to brush your teeth every day to keep your mouth healthy, but you may not know whether you are using the right toothbrush or not. Toothbrushes are available in a wide variety of designs, and some brushes are better for your teeth and gums than others.
Read on to learn how to choose the right toothbrush that will clean your teeth and gums well without damaging them.
Perhaps the most confusing part of picking out a new toothbrush is navigating the wide array of toothbrush bristle designs on the market. The wrong bristle design can make it easier for you to cause surface abrasion of your tooth enamel.
Tooth surface abrasion, or dental abrasion, is mechanical wear on your tooth enamel that can weaken the enamel over time. If your tooth enamel becomes too weak, you can develop sensitive teeth and unsightly grooves at the bases of your teeth.
A recent study revealed that the toothbrush bristle design least likely to cause surface abrasion of your tooth enamel is a simple, flat trim design. A flat trim toothbrush has bristles that are all one length. The study found that a bi-level toothbrush and a toothbrush with zig-zag bristles were both more prone to causing surface abrasion of teeth than a simpler design.
Brushing technique also matters just as much as bristle design when attempting to avoid dental abrasion, so always brush gently no matter what bristle design you choose.
Despite the American Dental Association's (ADA) recommendation to brush with a soft toothbrush, toothbrushes with stiff bristles are still available in stores today. Don't let these extra toothbrush options confuse you. Almost everyone should choose a soft toothbrush to minimize the risk of gingival abrasion that can come with use of a medium or firm toothbrush.
Gingival abrasion, or gum abrasion, involves wearing away of gum tissue that can cause gum pain and even eventually lead to permanent gum recession. Gum recession cannot only be unsightly, but it can also cause teeth sensitivity when it exposes the more sensitive roots of teeth.
Along with using a soft toothbrush, you can also prevent gingival abrasion by brushing your teeth gently. If you have very sensitive teeth and/or gums and frequently experience pain during brushing, then you may even want to choose an extra soft or ultra soft toothbrush.
Toothbrushes are available with heads in a wide variety of sizes. Common sizes include small or compact, medium, and large. While you may be tempted to choose a brush with a large head to help you brush your teeth more quickly, a smaller brush head is typically best.
You can squeeze a toothbrush with a small brush head into those nooks and crannies in the back of your mouth beside your back molars more easily than a large brush.
If you don't routinely clean your tongue, then you should. Your tongue can become covered with a layer called a biofilm when you don't brush it regularly. This biofilm is made up of hundreds of bacteria species, dead skin cells, and even food residue. The presence of biofilm can give you bad breath, dull your taste buds, and even lead to a condition called black hairy tongue.
Black hairy tongue causes the tiny bumps on your tongue, called papillae, to grow longer and turn dark brown or black. While the condition is reversible, it is unsightly.
Once a biofilm develops on your tongue, it cannot be removed by simply rinsing your mouth with water or even a mouth rinse; it must be brushed or scraped away. While you can brush your tongue with your toothbrush bristles, it doesn't hurt to purchase a toothbrush with a built-in tongue cleaner. Seeing the tongue cleaner on the toothbrush can help you remember to brush your tongue when you may otherwise forget.
Choosing the right toothbrush is the first step to cleaning your teeth and gums at home without damaging them. Follow these tips when selecting your next toothbrush. For more information and help with your dental care, contact us at Greenville Center for Sedation Dentistry.