Effective removal of plaque depends more on the brushing technique than on the toothbrush itself.
Toothbrushes remove debris and plaque from the surfaces of teeth and gums. They also stimulate the gums to keep them pick and healthy. There are many different kinds of toothbrushes, so the question is, which is the most effective at removing plaque for you?
Not all brushes are right for all people. Choose a brush that is durable, flexible, light weight, strong but not rigid bristles, easily manipulated and meets your individual requirements.
Always use a soft or ultra-soft toothbrush
- Softer bristles are more effective at cleaning the gum-line and more gentle on the gum tissues at the same time.
- Soft brushes reduce gum recession and toothbrush abrasion.
- Harder bristles can cause tooth enamel and dentin to wear away weakening the crown of the tooth.
Brushing Guide: recommended for 2 minutes
- Hold the toothbrush handle in the palm of your hand with your thumb against the handle. Your thumb should be close enough to the head of the toothbrush to manipulate it with control.
- Direct the bristles toward the gums at a 45 degree angle to the tooth. Place the bristles partly on the gums and partly on the tooth surface.
- Gently vibrate the bristles and roll slowly, moving the bristles from the gums toward the top of the tooth. Slowly count to 10 as you do this procedure.
- Repeat these steps up to five more times in the same area. For the front teeth, position brush on its end and place the narrow end of the brush head 45 degrees to the gums and teeth, vibrate and roll as described previously.
An electric toothbrush is a good alternative to a manual brush, especially if someone has physical limitations that affect their ability to brush. When used properly, certain electric toothbrushes are known to be more effective than manual brushes at removing plaque. Electric toothbrushes have higher speeds and motions that cannot be reproduced using a manual brush.Make sure to read all instructions before use, as all electric toothbrushes are designed differently. Technique remains important, as improper brushing technique can irritate gums and be less effective.
- Powered toothbrushes reduce plaque and gingivitis more than manual tooth brushing in the short and long term.
- The evidence produced shows benefits in using a powered toothbrush when compared with a manual toothbrush. There was an 11% reduction in plaque at 1 to 3 months of use, and a 21% reduction in plaque when assessed after 3 months of use. For gingivitis, there was a 6% reduction at 1 to 3 months of use and an 11% reduction when assessed after 3 months of use. The benefits of this for long-term dental health are unclear.
Complete study results comparing manual vs. electric toothbrushes are available here.
Replacing a Toothbrush
- Toothbrushes should be replaced every 3 months (at a minimum).
- Replace toothbrushes immediately following a cold or flu to prevent re-exposure to bacteria or viruses.
- Always replae a brush that looks worn of frayed.
The same rules apply to disposable heads for electric toothbrushes.
Content supplied by the Brushing Up on Mouth Care Program http://www.ahprc.dal.ca/projects/oral-care/