Different Types Of Toothbrushes -Which One Do I Need?

AH- So many choices.

The fact is that these days we have so many different types of toothbrushes that it can make your head spin.

There is claim upon claim that each company makes as to why their brush is superior. Friends, family also will give you input if asked, and ultimately you’re left wondering whether you have the right information to make a choice that will best suit your need when it comes to getting the right brush.

Why Brushing Is So Important

Bacteria forms on our teeth constantly. Immediately after you’ve brushed it starts forming again. Left to long it will start to cause problems.

Plaque, which is a slurry of food and saliva, left in the mouth it will calcify and become calculus (tartar). This calcified plaque is very porous and harbors bacteria. A good analogy for this, is that the calculus becomes like a coral reef for the bacteria, This allows the bacteria to hang out in the mouth and cause problems.

The problems being:

1. Decay

2. Gingivitis that can lead to periodontal disease

3. Bad breath

4. Sensitive teeth

5. An impact on your overall health. Lack of good oral care has been linked to heart disease, diabetes, premature and low birth weight babies. Just to name a few.

Please note that we are discussing tooth brushing today, but flossing is also an integral part of great oral care that goes hand and glove with brushing. It needs to also be part of your daily care.

Benefits Of An Electric Toothbrush

  • Electric toothbrushes put your brushing on autopilot. Place the brush at a 45 degree angle to the gums and move the brush from one tooth to the next.
  • A built in timer ensures two full minutes of brushing.
  • Pressure indicators keep you from over brushing and doing damage to the gum tissue. (recession)
  • Reduces sensitivity.
  • Easier to do a good job around braces.
  • Helps people with dexterity issues.
  • Can be fun for kids and keep them interested in brushing thus forming the good habit of brushing for a lifetime.

Benefits Of A Manual Toothbrush

Let me preface this section with the fact that most hygienists are going to be partial to electric brushes for the reasons listed above, but that doesn’t mean that a manual brush does not have its place.

  • The first benefit is price. Although your dental professional may prefer an electric brush, the cost may not make it feasible for everyone. Also, just because it’s a manual brush doesn’t mean that you can’t get good results with it. All it means is you have to be more purposeful in using it correctly to get the results you need.
  • They are travel friendly
  • There are varied types of specialty brushes used for specific reasons that may make them a better choice then using an electric or they may have use in conjunction with your electric brush.

A quick word about hard, medium or soft bristle brushes. Please only buy soft bristle brushes. They actually come in ultra soft now too. Medium and hard is to ruff on the gum tissue over time and causes recession and sensitivity.

I realize many feel that using a soft brush doesn’t make things feel as clean. The truth of the matter is that the medium and hard bristle brushes do clean your teeth well and quickly, but over time the damage done is not worth it. If you spend the minimum 2 minutes with the soft brush concentrating on the gum line it will get the job done well and without damage.

Specialty Brushes

The right brush for the right job, here are some specialty brushes designed for specific situations.

Interdental Toothbrushes (Proxy Brush)

They come in a variety of sizes and are ment to be used as an adjunct to your regular brush. They help reach areas that are difficult for your regular brush to access. Generally you will use them between your teeth and they also help to get between your tooth and wires if you have braces. They are single use then thrown away. They also come with a permanent handle option with replaceable heads, or one single disposable brush as pictured above.


The sulcabrush was developed for people with periodontal disease to be able to clean in the pockets around the tooth. The brush is designed to go down vertically between the tooth and gums. You press the brush against the tooth and the bristles are designed to splay out around the tooth and clean the pocket. You clean tooth by tooth. When finished clean the brush like you would your regular brush for the next time your ready to use it.

End Tuft Brush

End tuft brushes also complement your regular brush. They are ment to get into difficult spaces: Molars, crowded teeth, between wire and around brackets for those with braces. They help in areas with larger gaps between the teeth, They are similar to the Interdental brush with a bit larger head and longer handle for better reach.

Environmantally Friendly

It should be noted that with all the disposable plastic out their these days their are environmentally friendly brushes out their such as the bamboo handled brushes pictured above.

For The Kids

When it comes to kids and kids toothbrushes, one word of advice.

Make it fun!!!

Whether it’s a manuel brush with their favorite Disney character, or a cheep electric brush with a Star War theme have it be fun and something they look forward to using. When your young ones are brushing let them do it first, then you take your turn. Approach it like this until your confident they are doing a great job all the time.

You will be teaching them a life long habit that will impact their health always, and it actually can wind up being something fun between you and your child. The better home care is also likely to save you some money.

When To Replace Your Toothbrush

Generally the rule of thumb is every 3 months, but if your brush starts to mushroom over like in the picture above get rid of it, it is no longer going to be effective.

If your sick replace the brush. Some will put it in the dishwasher after being sick. However you do it… Kill those germs!

If you have a sonic brush please make sure to replace the head every 6 month it will not look used up but will cease being as effective after that amount of time.

Wrapping It Up

This was not and exhaustive discussion of this topic but it will give you a good idea of what’s out their and ways it can be used to improved your home care. Please consult with your hygienist if you are having difficulties in cleaning certain areas of your month they will be happy to recommend the best tool so you get the best results from the care you are taking.

Feel free to leave a comment below if you have any other questions, or let me know if this helped. I’d love your feedback and your questions help me get a pulse on what I need to be covering.


To your health!!!

Walt RDH

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8 thoughts on “Different Types Of Toothbrushes -Which One Do I Need?

  1. Great post with relevant topic. I really got some knowledge after reading this post, but i just want to add something that i think it should be interesting as well.
    When you did mention the benefits of electronic toothbrush i would suggest to come up with (electronic toothbrush-disadvantages).

    • Thanks you for the input! I would have to say that if there is one con to an electric toothbrush it would be the cost. Not everyone can afford one, and in that case using your manual brush the right way will get the job done. Other than that most dental professionals will be heavily pro electric.
      Thanks for taking the time to comment and letting me know your thoughts. It’s so helpful knowing what your thinking when reading an article!

  2. Hey Walt, I would have loved for a lot of this information to be emphasized more back when I was younger, but I am thankfully to have the information now. I definitely put more time into my teeth now than in prior times. I use an electronic toothbrush, with a natural toothpaste and my teeth feel clean every time I finish brushing, then comes the extra treatment needed for the areas where the brush can’t reach. Thanks for the useful information!

    • Well it sounds like you have made up for what you were lacking when you were a kid. Finding a good routine and making it a habit is what’s so important.
      Your right that kids need this early to form these habits from the start. Thanks for stopping by and commenting, glad you enjoyed the info.

  3. This article is really informative. I myself had many issues trying to find the right tooth brush for myself. I tried the electric one and with me having a problem with my gums, I found no matter how i brushed i would end up with a very painful experience, same goes for the medium and hard bristle brushes. I agree with the softer bristle brush as it doesn’t damage the enamel on your teeth and doesn’t hurt my gums, I just need to brush a little longer and not as rough. I wish I had come across your article sooner. Would have saved me a lot of money going through so many different types of brushes. Thank you for sharing

    • Hi CN
      Glad you found this post to be a help. I don’t know your situation with having such a painful experience brushing, but if it’s been awhile since you’ve been into see your dentist/hygienist It may be that you need a good cleaning to get things in shape so you can maintain things well with your home care. Once plaque has calcified, no amount of brushing or flossing will get that off, especially if it’s going on under the gum line where you can’t reach. It’s also a possibility you just have naturally sensitive teeth.
      Food for thought… if it’s been awhile since you have been in to see the dentist get in to have them take a look.
      Thanks you for stopping by and leaving such a great comment!!

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