Soft, Medium, or Hard Bristles?
- Jul 15 2021
How do I choose the right toothbrush to help me avoid dental issues and gum damage?
We’re all familiar with the phrase “no pain, no gain”. We usually hear it from someone who wants us to do something that we don’t want to do. Benjamin Franklin used the version “there are no gains, without pains”, while writing as Poor Richard and advocating that everyone should exercise at least 45 minutes every day.
Most would agree that daily exercise is a good thing. Painful exercise? You may still hear this from some trainers and coaches, but medical experts will tell you to listen to your body. Pain is telling you to find a more moderate path to your goal. The same is true in other areas, like brushing your teeth. In the past, parents have often drilled their children on the importance of brushing vigorously and with a lot of pressure to make sure to get teeth as clean as possible. No pain, no gain, right?
Once again, while good-intentioned, that is not good advice. Over-vigorous brushing or brushing with too much force can actually damage your teeth and gums. You may end up with dental abrasions, damage to the protective enamel on your teeth and swollen, inflamed gums.
How Important Is Choosing the Right Toothbrush?
It is important to brush appropriately to balance getting your teeth as clean as possible while, at the same time, not going overboard and causing damage, it is equally important to choose the right toothbrush. Besides picking a toothbrush with a head that is a good fit for your mouth and is easy to maneuver, you will want to make sure that you make the right choice when it comes to the bristle.
Soft, medium or hard bristles? Which is the best?
Once again, the “no pain, no gain” philosophy would have us opting for the brush with hard bristles. That would seem to be the choice for getting the deepest cleaning. And, that would be correct if you are in the process of cleaning the grout in your tile floor. Grout is extremely dense and durable, impervious to those hard bristles: your tooth enamel and gums are not. Using a toothbrush with hard, or even medium, bristles can lead to the same problems as brushing with too much force.
Unless instructed differently by your dentist for some special situation, you should always choose a toothbrush with soft bristles. The American Dental Association (ADA) will only put their ADA Seal on brushes with bristles that are soft.
The goal of brushing your teeth is to remove plaque while avoiding doing any damage to the teeth or gums. Soft-bristled brushes can do that just as well as firmer ones by brushing only hard enough to remove the film of plague and letting the fluoride in the toothpaste do the rest.
The other consideration to keep in mind with regard to toothbrush bristles is to toss them out when they have become worn and replace them with a new brush. With regular brushing, this typically happens after about 3 or 4 months. A good way to keep up with this is to get a new toothbrush at the beginning of each season. You might think about starting your family’s year off right with a toothbrush in every Christmas stocking!
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Categories: Dental Health