What is a tooth brush?

The first thing we do in the morning on waking up and the last thing we do before bedtime is to brush our teeth…..Right. So “Tooth brushing is the mechanical cleaning of plaque from the tooth surfaces. A tooth brush is a tool to clean the tooth surfaces”. Plaque is an invisible biofilm that accumulates on tooth surfaces. The plaque is considered harmful because it harbours the bacteria the cause tooth decay and gum infections.

Why should I brush my teeth?

Plaque control is one of the key elements in dental hygiene practice. Brushing your teeth is the simplest and the easiest way to disrupt plaque. Brushing at least twice a day is important for healthy teeth and gums.

What are the types of toothbrushes?

The bristled toothbrush first appeared in 1600 in china. Ever since, the design of the humble brush has remained same. Generally, a bristled brush has 2-4 rows of bristles with 5-12 tufts per row. A good toothbrush should effectively reach and clean most areas of your teeth. However, the type of tooth brush is an individual choice. The bristle is made of nylon. Hence, cleaning of the brushes is easy.

Depending on the hardness of the bristles, we have the soft, medium and hard type of brushes. You can select the type of brush based on your requirement. A person with a recent gum surgery can to use a soft brush. This is because soft bristles are flexible and can reach the areas beneath the gum margins. Similarly, people with very sensitive teeth must use soft brush.

Does the hardness of the bristles affect the brushing efficiency?

In general, we have seen that a person using a hard bristled brush has more abrasion and gum recession. However, the manner in which the brush is used and the coarseness of the paste affect the abrasion more than the bristle hardness itself. Overzealous brushing leads to

  • Gum recession
  • Bacteria, especially in patients with advanced gingivitis
  • Wedge shaped defects in the roots of teeth
  • Ulceration of the gums

How often should I change my tooth brush?

You must replace the tooth brush as soon as the bristles begin to fray. This maintains the efficiency of cleaning. Wear patterns vary among people, but in general most brushes wear out in 3 months time. If all the bristles wear out in 1 week, then your brushing is too vigorous. If the bristles do not wear out even at 6 months, then either your brushing very gently or have not used the brush everyday!!!!

Unfortunately, for most of us the tendency is to use the brush for as long as possible. It I best to use a brush with wear reminders. The dye fades with use and is helpful in reminding you to replace your brush.

 

Which is the best design for a tooth brush?

The preference of the handle shape is a personal choice. The handle should fit comfortably in the palm of your hand. The handle can be straight or angulated. Brushes with a mild angulation between the head and the handle is the most popular choice. This design gives good access to all the back teeth of the mouth. most people use short-headed brushes with an angle, round-ended, soft to medium nylon bristles arranged in 3-4 rows of tufts is recommended.

 

What are powered tooth brushes?

In 1939, electrically powered tooth brushes were invented to make plaque control easier. The powered brushes use reciprocal or back and forth motions, some with a combination of both, some with circular motion and some with elliptical motion. Regardless of the device, you should place the moving bristles correctly around the mouth. Powered brushes are recommended for

  • Individuals lacking fine motor skills
  • Young patients
  • Handicapped or hospitalised patients, who need others to clean their teeth
  • Patients with orthodontic appliances
  • People who like to use it!!!!!

Is powered tooth brush better?

Studies have shown that both type of brushes are equally effective. Generally, if the powered brush helps with effective cleaning to a particular patient, it should be encouraged. It is important that you use the correct brushing technique. Ask your dentist or dental hygienist to guide you on the right brushing technique.