These are the questions people ask themselves everyday as they stroll down the oral health aisle at the store. The sheer number of toothbrush styles and the claims made by manufacturers about their effectiveness are truly dizzying.
The key, toothbrush manufacturers say, is ergonomics — the science of improving the ease and efficiency with which people use products. So-called ergonomic toothbrushes sport specially designed handles or brush heads to allegedly help get teeth cleaner.
These ergonomic toothbrush designs are marketed with the promise that their shape can help you perfect the proper brushing angle and feel more comfortable during the brushing process. Some are even said to brush teeth and massage gums simultaneously — and last much longer than run-of-the-mill toothbrushes.
Are they any better than a simple, plain toothbrush?
In my opinion, no. Using an ergonomic toothbrush is not a guarantee of good oral health. Most adults won’t see major benefits from them as compared to ordinary toothbrushes.
The truth is – it's not what you use to brush your teeth, but how you brush. Brushing practices can have more impact on oral health than the type of toothbrush a person uses. I recommend:
- Brushing (and flossing) at least twice a day. This will help kee
p plaque levels down and avoid cavity formation.
- Brushing for at least two full minutes to be sure that you've thoroughly cleaned your teeth.
- Choosing a toothbrush – any toothbrush – that has soft bristles rather than medium or hard ones.
- Replacing your toothbrush regularly – every 3-to-4 months, or sooner if the bristles look worn.
So the next time you're in the market and can't decide which toothbrush to buy, remember simpler is usually better. And, as always, you'll get a new soft bristle toothbrush from me when you come in for your cleaning appointments.