How to choose the right toothbrush

02 Mar 2021

How to choose the right toothbrush

Electric or manual? Soft or rigid bristles? Small head or big head? And what about the handle?

In the toothbrush aisle at the drugstore or grocery store, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the range of choices, or to think that they are all equal and pick one randomly . However, not all toothbrushes are created equal, and some might not be right for your needs.

So how do you make the right choice? To find out everything, read on!

Some criteria to consider

Electric or manual?

All oral health professionals agree on this point; the efficiency of an electric toothbrush significantly exceeds one of a manual toothbrush. Giving more than 30,000 per movements per minute, it eliminates 2.5 to 5 times more dental plaques (an aggregate of bacteria also called a biofilm that sticks to teeth like maple taffy!).

It may be worth choosing an electric brush with a timer to make sure you stick to the recommended brushing time (2 minutes) . Most models of electric toothbrushes have pressure sensors. Thus, when you press too hard while brushing, they warn you with a flashing light. The goal ? Avoid damaging your gums by brushing your teeth too vigorously!

If you have motor problems, or for any other reason have trouble brushing your teeth properly, purchasing an electric toothbrush is a great investment.

However, if buying an electric toothbrush is not an option for you, know that brushing time and proper technique are more important than the type of toothbrush you use.

Brush your teeth thoroughly 2 to 3 times a day, Taking time to take care of and to clean each tooth by sweeping movements, from the gum to the bottom of the tooth, on the external surfaces and internal, 5 to 6 times in the same place before moving your toothbrush. Then, finish with back and forth movements on the chewing surface (the underside of the teeth).

Soft bristles, stiff bristles or in between?

We do not recommend the use of a stiff bristle toothbrush as it can cause enamel abrasion and retraction of the gums. The soft bristles can squeeze more under the gum line and between the teeth, in addition to adapting more easily to the rounded shapes of each tooth, which helps to better dislodge dental plaque and food debris.

What about the head and neck?

First, it is better to opt for a toothbrush with a compact head, as it will easily reach the most difficult areas, including the back teeth.

As for the handle, simply choose one that you find comfortable! You may need to experiment to find the right one for you. A non-slip handle can also make it easier to grip, even when the brush is wet. The larger sleeves are ideal for people with motor difficulties.

How to choose a child’s toothbrush?

The goal with children is to make them want to brush their teeth. A good solution is to make the activity fun … Toothbrushes bearing the image of their favorite animated character are therefore ideal! Toothbrushes playing music, or connected toothbrushes that pick up the child’s movements while brushing can also be a solution.

Make sure that the head of the chosen toothbrush is very compact so that the child can properly brush all of their teeth. And avoid sleeves that are too long which may create gagging!

For babies, a small rubber tip placed on the tip of the finger can do the trick very well, without adding toothpaste. You can even use a small, damp washcloth.

Gum problems, surgery and orthodontics: choosing which toothbrush?

If you suffer from gum disease or have recently had surgery, a special toothbrush with even softer bristles may be recommended by your dentist or your dental hygienist to avoid any pain.

People undergoing orthodontic treatment can also use adapted toothbrushes.

What about ecological toothbrushes?

Several types of ecological toothbrushes are available on the market. Among the most common are toothbrushes with compostable bamboo handles and bioplastic toothbrushes with rechargeable heads.

These can be just as effective as conventional manual toothbrushes; provided, of course, that you respect the recommended brushing techniques and time; a compact head and soft bristles!

To conclude

Here are some additional tips:

It is important to change your toothbrush, or the head of your electric toothbrush, every 3 months, and even more often if you notice that the bristles are worn. Because dull bristles reduce the effectiveness of your toothbrush and increase the risk of gum injury.


It is important to dry your toothbrush well between each use to avoid the proliferation of bacteria.


Change your toothbrush after a cold sore (or other illness) – diagnosed by your dentist.


You can put your toothbrush in the dishwasher to clean or disinfect it.

If you are in doubt about the best toothbrush choice for you, your dentist and dental hygienist can help! Plus, they’ll be happy to show you how to use it!

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