There are endless options of toothbrushes these days and when you go to the store, the choices can be overwhelming. When it comes to manual vs. electric, there is no right or wrong answer. Studies have shown that when brushing with an electric toothbrush, people tend to brush longer, but a manual toothbrush used properly and for the correct amount of time, is just as effective.
Here are some tips for toothbrush use and care:
• Brush your teeth for two minutes, twice daily with a soft-bristled brush. Medium and hard bristled brushes have been known to cause gum recession.
• Replace your toothbrush approximately every 3 months or sooner if the bristles become frayed or matted.
• Do not share toothbrushes with others, even family members.
• After use, rinse your brush thoroughly and store upright so it can air dry.
• Replace your toothbrush after illness or at the minimum clean as recommended below.
• To clean your toothbrush, the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends soaking the brush in 3% hydrogen peroxide or Listerine to reduce the bacteria harbored in the bristles. There are toothbrush sanitizing devices available, but the ADA only recommends ones that have received FDA approval. Do not microwave your toothbrush or place it in the dishwasher as high heat can damage/weaken the bristles.
When shopping for dental products, looking for the ADA seal of Acceptance can help you narrow down your choices. The ADA website has plenty of useful information including a list of products that have the ADA seal of Acceptance. It also has numerous resources and recommendations for patients to help answer any dental questions that may arise.
Dr. Melissa McCool is a proud Reno mom and is a pediatric dentist at The Smile Shop.