Brushing twice daily and flossing at least once is the first step to a great smile, but what about the toothbrush? There is a lot of hype and media about the latest technological toothbrushes, and when looking at brands and models such as the Philips Sonicare you could be facing an investment of a couple hundred dollars. Is it worth it? Should you really follow your dentist’s (including Dr. Khodai) advice to buy a toothbrush made with the same technology as a race car? Read on to find out.
A Short History Lesson
We have evidence of rudimentary toothbrushes going back about 5,000 years, starting with specific twigs that had a frayed end. The stick would be brushed against teeth, much in the same fashion as modern toothbrushes, to remove debris and food. The design did not improve much until the 1400s when handles of wood or bone were adorned by the bristles of some animals. It wasn’t until 1938 that the world saw the first modern nylon-based toothbrush, and mechanical toothbrushes were invented in 1954.
A Manual Toothbrush is the type you are probably most familiar with. It is a rubber handle with nylon bristles. Over the past 80 years or so they have advanced substantially, with modern manual brushes having textured bristles, textured grips, anti-bacterial design and material, and multi-level bristles. Toothbrushes which bear the American Dental Association (ADA) seal have been scientifically tested and approved to function properly, be non-toxic, and be safe. The ADA recommends replacing a manual toothbrush every 3 to 4 months, as the bristles become frayed and reduce the effectiveness of the brush.
Newer mechanical brushes have a host of features that set them apart from manual brushes. The most noticeable is the use of rapid vibrations in the bristles to remove plaque and debris from teeth. Many reputable models also feature oscillation (rotation) of the bristles, ensuring that more area of the tooth is cleaned more effectively than with traditional brushes. OralB, a manufacturer of mechanical brushes, states that their products offer sensors to alert if you are brushing too hard, numerous brushing modes for different areas of the mouth, digital timers, and multiple brush head types.
So Which is Better?
Scientific studies have shown that mechanical brushes, such as those offered by Philips or OralB, are more effective at removing plaque and cleaning teeth. However, this does not necessarily mean that they are better. Both a manual and a mechanical toothbrush can be used to clean your teeth effectively when used properly. There are many situations, such as a person with a wrist disability, who may find that using a mechanical toothbrush is easier, and the ADA suggests that children might find a mechanical brush to be more entertaining. The difference in head types that are available with mechanical brushes can also be beneficial to consumers.
In the end, as long as a toothbrush is ADA approved and used following your dentist’s instructions it can be as effective as another. That being said, there are plenty of advantages to using a mechanical toothbrush, so ask your dentist for advice on selection and usage.
Irvine Dentist Dr. Neda Khodai is ready to answer any questions you may have about toothbrushes, or to just help with a regularly scheduled cleaning. Call us at 949-553-1111 or click below to get in touch with Barranca Dental Excellence in Irvine, Orange County California. Se Habla Español!