Dr. Paul Perella, DMD

A LOOK AT TOOTHBRUSHES

Toothbrush design and materials have come a long way. Early forms of the toothbrush have existed for nearly 5000 years. Some ancient civilizations removed food with a "chew stick,"  which was a thin twig with a frayed end that was rubbed against the teeth. During the last century or so, toothbrushes were crafted with bone, wood or ivory handles that held the stiff bristles of hogs, boars or other animals. The nylon-bristled toothbrushes we use today were invented in 1938.

What kind of toothbrush should you choose?

There are two types of toothbrushes: manual and powered. The size and shape of the brush should fit your mouth comfortably, allowing you to reach all areas easily. Your dentist may offer suggestions about which type is suitable for your needs.

No matter what type of toothbrush you choose, the American Dental Association recommends that you brush twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste to clean your teeth thoroughly and to provide fluoride protection against decay.

Both manual and powered toothbrushes must be evaluated by an independent body of scientific experts for safety and effectiveness according to objective guidelines. Each type of toothbrush must demonstrate that the product is safe for both soft and hard oral tissues and dental restorations.

Yes, but what kind of toothbrush should I use?

The manual and powered toothbrushes both effectively and thoroughly clean teeth. People who have difficulty using a manual toothbrush may find a powered one easier or more comfortable to use.

Children may find that brushing with a powered toothbrush is more fun. Plus, a powered toothbrush has a built in timer that automatically shuts off, so you know you have spent enough time brushing your teeth.

How can I keep my toothbrush clean?

Rinse your toothbrush with tap water after every use. Store the brush in an upright position and allow it to air dry. Do not routinely cover toothbrushes or store them in closed containers. A moist environment, such as a closed container, is more conducive to the growth of microorganisms.

Replace toothbrushes every three to four months. The bristles become frayed and worn with use and will be less effective. Check your toothbrush often for worn bristles.