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Selecting the right brush

Have you ever found yourself standing in the supermarket aisle, with a wall of toothbrushes in front of you and wondered which is the right one to take home?

I certainly have. I remember looking at all the bright colours, each brush promising me something different and of course that it was better than all the others.

I actually had no idea of what I was looking at and even if there was any real difference with the brushes before me.

Well, as most dental problems start from poor at home care, lets clear up some of the confusion around selecting the right brush for you.

The most important feature to look for in a good toothbrush is soft bristles. A soft bristled brush will help to minimise the risk of brushing away the enamel from your teeth as well as stopping trauma to your gums.

Soft bristled brushes are widely recognised by dental professionals as being the best for removing plaque and food debris.

If you are using a medium or hard bristled brush I recommend retiring it to the household cleaning cupboard to be used for a more suitable task, like scrubbing the mould from your tile grout.

This tip is also handy as it’s going to cut down your choices by two thirds.

When looking at the head of the brush, the best, like most things in life are the simplest. Look for a full bristled brush without, or with few rubber strips.

A standard soft bristled brush will be effective for cleaning all of the surfaces in your mouth.

The shape of the toothbrush head needs to be relatively small, you should be able to comfortably access all the tooth surfaces including hard to reach areas like behind the upper molars.

Finding the right fit will depend on the size of your mouth and a little trial and error may help, however, smaller will always be better than too large.

I’m often asked by my patients' if electric brushes are better at cleaning than a manual brush and in short, yes they are.

The electric brush will take away the hard work in getting the technique right, as well as encourage users to brush for longer.

The best design and one backed by research is a brush with a small round oscillating head, the clinical trials with these brushes show a significant improvement in the removal of plaque when compared with their manual counterpart.

Electric brushes are very beneficial for children, patients with impaired dexterity and anyone looking to improve their general oral health.

Of course selecting the right toothbrush is useless, unless you use it twice a day.  

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