The first thing that everyone does early in the morning is either brushing his or her teeth or having a cup of coffee or tea. How would you feel if your tea/coffee is without sugar or is not of your taste? Your whole day will go off mood. So, in a similar way is the feeling of your teeth. If you won’t brush your teeth properly with good tooth brush, tooth paste and good technique, their condition will deteriorate day by day and will ultimately make them a home of bacteria. So, today IDH (I Dental Hub) will be discussing on what are the things that you need to take care while choosing right type of tooth brush.

Choosing Right Type of Tooth Brush 

Tooth brush is the base for maintaining a good oral hygiene and hence has a great impact on your overall health too. Reason, dental disorders are the gateway for various general diseases of lungs and heart and also diabetes, says various research studies. It is taught from childhood that we need to brush our teeth twice or at least once daily. But does anyone remember someone saying that which toothbrush is best to have. Even the advertisements more focus on dental creams than tooth brushes.

“The best brush is the one that is most comfortable for you to brush upon your teeth and that reaches all teeth comfortable”

There were times when people only have brushes with nylon bristles or those handmade neem brushes but now the scenario is completely changed. Now the options are endless and hence confusion too.

Types of Brushes

Brushes are broadly categorized into two categories:

1. Manual toothbrushes: 90% of the population prefers manual toothbrushes. They are named manual tooth brushes as they are customized and can be used as per individual’s need. They come with easy grip and handle, have tongue scraper at their tail and are inexpensive. Also they are the brushes of choice during travelling. 

But they come with certain disadvantages too. Firstly, their grip is difficult to get and at times is slippery. Secondly, ideal time for brushing is twice daily for two minutes. So, manual tooth brushes don’t come with a timer and hence it becomes difficult to concentrate on timer and quality simultaneously.

2. Electric Toothbrushes: Electric tooth brushes have built in motor that rotate the bristles heads at a much faster rate than a manual toothbrush. They come with large handles and hence are easy to use. They also have a built in timer so that you can easily concentrate on effective brushing. Few of the electric tooth brushes have dental cream dispenser. The only disadvantage is that they are expensive and require frequent charging and hence can’t be carried while travelling. Eg. Sonicare toothbrush.

Manual & Electric Toothbrush

According to type of handle, brushes are:

1. Non Slip Grip: These brushes are easy to use as they are covered with rubber coated handles that make a firm grip on our hands and hence are non slippery. Chances of trauma while brushing is minimized by using non slip grip tooth brushes.

2. Flexible Neck: Flexible neck tooth brushes have neck that rotate 3600 and allow cleaning of teeth from all sides. They make each tooth easily accessible and hence are easy to clean.


According to shape of head


1. Tapered: These tooth brushes save tooth enamel from abrasion. Dr. Collins Perio tooth brush is one of the tapered tooth brushes.

2. Rectangular: They are designed for people with comparatively large sized jaw. They have a large surface area and hence are ideal for cleaning of giant teeth. Also they cover two teeth at a time and hence save time.


According to style of bristles

1. Rippled: It doesn’t matter how many bristles your tooth brush has but now a day’s manufacturers are more or less focusing on rippled bristles. They are most effective in deep cleaning between two teeth. They have zigzag bristles. Long bristles help to remove plaque along the gum line while short bristles clear the plaque and debris in more easy and efficient way.
2. Flat: Flat bristles are usually not preferred as their flat bristles are not those much effective in clearing plaque and calculus. It is difficult for flat bristles to adjust to the grooves of teeth.

3. Dome Shaped: Flat bristles are generally trimmed or cut to a dome shape. Their main aim is to prevent gum irritation while brushing. They have a space between the base of head and the membrane so that they can attain the shape of cleaning tooth. This way they increase the cleaning efficiency of tooth brush. 

There are general characteristics that your tooth brush should have. These help them to effectively cover even the most posterior molars and adequately remove plaque and calculus.

Size of Toothbrush Head

Half inch wide and one inch tall head is considered the ideal head size of a normal adult toothbrush. Also the handle of tooth brush should be such that it can easily clean the proximal surface of molars. Make sure your tooth brush is ADA (American Dental Association) approved.

Bristles of ToothBrush

Bristles can be soft, medium and hard.

1. Soft Bristle Toothbrush: These are highly recommended by dentists as they cause zero abrasion to the tooth enamel and are gingival friendly plus they are most effective in cleaning plaque and calculus.

2. Medium Soft Bristle toothbrush: They are equally efficient in cleaning the teeth and removes significant amount of plaque. These brushes clean the facial surfaces more as compared to the proximal surfaces. Medium bristles tooth brush are more effective in cleaning premolars and molars. The disadvantage of brushing with medium bristles tooth brush is that they cause tooth abrasion and can damage gingival.

3. Hard Bristles Toothbrush: Though they are preferred when it comes to the cleaning of molars but in general they lead to demineralization and trauma to gingival surfaces. They are generally not advised.

So, to cut a long story short, brushing effectively with a soft bristles tooth brush with tapered and flexible head helps you keeping a good oral hygiene.



Though soft bristles tooth brush with rounded tip is highly recommended as it doesn’t cause any enamel abrasion or bleeding of gums but still you should consult an oral health care provider while choosing the bristles. Avoid hard bristles tooth brush as they can cause demineralization of enamel and may be detrimental to gums and tooth roots. Brushing with soft bristles tooth brush along with proper technique is most effective in cleaning dental plaque and debris. 

For infants and people with limited wrist movement, there are specially designed tooth brushes known as powered tooth brushes that can easily clean teeth without much of the hand or wrist movements.

Ideal Time for Changing the Tooth Brush

There are brushes with indicators. When the blue color of the bristles goes below half signifies that they are no longer effective and needs a change. But not all comes with such indicators. For those tooth brushes, 3 months is the maximum shelf life. After three months, it’s compulsory to change your brush. Also after viral infection like cold or flu, change your brush as the bristles are the home for those viruses and can lead to re-infection.

So, next time you go to a medical shop to buy tooth brush, look for soft bristles, flexible neck and long handle.

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