Different Types of Toothbrushes

Every time you meander down the dental care aisle, you might be overwhelmed by your options. There are so many types of toothbrushes – how do you decide what’s best? Learn more about your options and which ones we recommend here are Zen Dental Center.

Manual Toothbrushes

Hand-operated manual toothbrushes are the mainstays of the dental care world. Hundreds of varieties from dozens of manufacturers are available today. You’ll find toothbrushes with the following classifications:

  • Bristle hardness: Soft bristles are appropriate for most people, but medium- and hard-bristled toothbrushes are also available. The advantage of using a harder toothbrush is that it clears away more plaque, but it may irritate your gums and even wear away your enamel if you brush too hard.
  • Head shape: Conventionally shaped toothbrush heads are rounded or squared off. Diamond-shaped toothbrushes tend to be better at reaching the back and sides of your molars.
  • Bristle pattern: Several different bristle patterns are effective at cleaning teeth. Common varieties include wavy, crisscross, tapered and bristles with polishing cups. Your choice should depend on your dental needs and what feels the most comfortable.
  • Handle design: The four broad classes of toothbrush handles include straight, contra-angle, non-slip grip and flexible. The handle you choose should allow you to comfortably reach every tooth surface, including the very back of your mouth.

Electric Toothbrushes

Battery-operated toothbrushes take the effort out of brushing. Simply press the button, and the head starts oscillating, rotating or vibrating to clean your teeth effortlessly. Some even have built-in timers to make sure you brush evenly in all four quadrants of your mouth for two minutes of total brushing time.

There are several types of electric toothbrushes:

  • Rotating brush heads spin all the way around.
  • Oscillating brush heads move from side to side.
  • Dual-head electric toothbrushes combine a rotating and oscillating brush head on a single handle.
  • Counter oscillating brush heads feature bristles that move from side to side in opposite directions.
  • Sonic and ultrasonic electric toothbrushes vibrate at incredibly high speeds with thousands or even millions of oscillations per minute.

How to Choose a Toothbrush

Here at Zen Dental Center, we recommend using an extra soft-bristled toothbrush with a diamond-shaped head to help clean those hard-to-reach places. Manual toothbrushes can be effective, but we may recommend an electric toothbrush if you have problems with dexterity or grip strength, or your teeth are prone to staining. Choose the other characteristics of your toothbrush based on personal preference or recommendations from your dentist. And remember to change your toothbrush (or your electric toothbrush head) every three months to significantly reduce plaque buildup.

Your oral health is important to us! If you have any other questions about choosing a toothbrush, or if it’s time for your next dentist appointment, please contact our Seattle office at 206-324-1100.

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