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Sunday, 20 August 2017

Time For A New Toothbrush?

Dr. Vincent Wan


Is your toothbrush past its expiry date?  If the bristles are all flared out or you’ve been using it for 3 months or more, it’s time to get a new one.

Time to get a new toothbrush?  So what properties should a good toothbrush have?

A good toothbrush should have very soft bristles so you don’t damage your teeth and gums when you brush.  Of course, you shouldn’t be pressing very hard against your teeth and gums with it, and definitely not scrubbing.  Even if you forget, a toothbrush with very soft bristles rather than medium or hard ones shouldn’t do any damage.

A good toothbrush should have a small head so you can reach the back teeth more easily.  The back molars are areas in the mouth that are more prone to tooth decay and gum disease.  We cannot easily see where we are cleaning to make sure we are doing a good job.  A lack of space next to the cheek and tongue the further back in the mouth we go makes reaching there even harder.

A good toothbrush should have a flexible neck.  Along the same lines of thinking as with very soft bristles, a flexible neck limits us from pressing the toothbrush too hard against the teeth and gums.  The harder you press, the more the neck of the brush flexes away from the surface you are pressing on.  A flexible neck also helps somewhat reaching a back molar area like with the small head design.  Gentle flexing of the toothbrush neck may help you reach the backs and sides of the last molars.

A good toothbrush should have a comfortable handle.  If we are going to brush our teeth with it for 2 minutes at a time at least 2 times per day, we better like holding onto it.  A comfortable handle also helps our brushing technique as we can more easily manoeuvre the brush around our mouth.

These same properties apply to any toothbrush, whether manual or electric.  Good oral hygiene can be done with either.  It all depends on how you are using them.