What’s the Best Toothbrush for Me?
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Wasn't it Shakespeare that penned, "What's in a name? That which we call a toothbrush by any other name would clean our teeth"?
No? Well, if he had written that, William would have been both poetically off the mark and wrong in a very practical sense.
Of course, he would have probably only had the choice of a common Elizabethan wooden"tooth-sweeper" with boar's bristles, so we couldn't really blame him. He didn't have to choose from the dizzying array of brushes available today.
The real "play" here is that not all tooth cleaners are the same! In this article we'll guide you through this maze of tooth brushing devices so you can clean your unique "Pearly Whites" with that special brush made just for you. Poetic tooth-brushing justice.
Manual Versus Electric Toothbrush
You would think that there would be no controversy about using an electric brush over a manual brush. The electric one has to be better, right? You might think that, but many authorities say no. "If you are a wonderful brusher and a wonderful flosser ... then the manual toothbrushes are just great," says Kimberly Harms, DDS, an ADA consumer advisor.
What's up, then?
Here's the bottom line: it's how well you brush your teeth that is most important! But the question still remains: Can you, personally, do a better job with a manual brush or an electric brush?
You need to give some thought as to how much time and effort you want to invest in cleaning your teeth. Five minutes with a manual brush as opposed to maybe two minutes with an electric brush? How many bells and whistles on your brush?
Let's find some information you can take with you on your next shopping trip.
1: Standard power: these are the types of brushes that spin around, move back and forth or have a combination of both movements. They usually run on batteries. There is a wide variety of this type of brush. Generally speaking, you'll get what you pay for in this category.
2: Sonic: these brushes vibrate at an extremely high rate with an audible humming noise. Expect to pay up to $300 for the top brands.
3: Ultrasonic: this is your electric tooth brusher on steroids. Ultrasonic brushes vibrate at such a high rate that they cannot be heard by the human ear. The top brands are the Cadillacs of brushing. Expect to pay over $300.
One of the advantages of going with a manual brush is that you have hundreds of more choices than you do with an electric one. You can choose from a wide spectrum of colours, sizes, and shapes. Let's take a look.
- Conventional rectangular head
- Diamond-shaped head
- Block: bristles are all the same length
- Multilevel bristles
- Polishing cup shaped bristles
- Contra-angle: allows better access to back teeth
- Flexible handle
- Slip prevention handle: grip is fatter and made of non-slip material
Children's sizes — sold by age group, but the size of the child's mouth is most important.
- 0–2 years
- 2–6 years
- 6–12 years
- 12 years and above
In the world of manual brushes, there is no limit to cost. You can get a brush for a couple of bucks at the counter of Dollar King, or purchase one from the German company Reinast. They offer a titanium luxury brush for around $4,200 USD.
Testing Your Oral Hygiene
Before buying a new or different brush, it’s a good idea to see how you are cleaning your teeth with your old one, be it electric or manual.
Follow the instructions at Web MD for "Self-Examination for Dental Plaque". Test your brushing for a few days then get back to this article.
How did you do?
“I passed with flying colours.” - You can buy the same kind of toothbrush you’re using, or upgrade!
“I did ok.” - Work on your hygiene. Upgrade if you are still showing a lot of plaque.
“I did not do well at all.” - Work on your hygiene. Consider talking to your dentist. Ask him/her if they think an upgrade would help.
(An upgrade is progressing from a manual brush to standard power, sonic, then ultrasonic.)
Whichever brush you end up picking, the most important thing about brushing your teeth, according to dental experts, is that you are able to reach every nook and cranny in your mouth and can remove all the plaque and debris built up since your last cleaning.
Oh yes, remember to floss along with brushing!