Brush Heads and Bristles - Which One Is Right for You?

It’s one thing to make the decision to switch over to an electric toothbrush, but that doesn’t mean that your decisions are over. Electric toothbrushes come in all shapes and sizes, and there are many different brush heads to choose from as well. Choosing the right brush with the right brush head has more to do with your individual tastes than anything else, but there are some other important things to consider when making your decision.

The current condition of your gums and teeth should play a large part in the type of brush head and bristles you choose. A person with gum disease has a very different set of needs from a person with healthy gums, and the same applies if you’re a person with sensitive teeth. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to bristles and brush heads on electric toothbrushes.

Choosing the Right Bristles

If you’re thinking to yourself “How complicated can choosing a toothbrush really be?” you’re probably not alone. Until I started seriously looking at my different options for an electric toothbrush I was guilty of taking my oral hygiene for granted – I figured as long as I brushed every day everything would be fine. It turns out that was a bit of an unfortunate attitude and it may have something to do with the fact that I have sensitive teeth. I don’t know this for sure, but I would imagine taking my oral hygiene more seriously in the past certainly wouldn’t have done me any harm.

Fortunately, it’s never too late to start paying closer attention to your health, and when it comes to your mouth a good place to start is by looking at the type of toothbrush bristles that your brush of choice will have. Soft bristles tend to be less irritating and may be more suitable if you suffer from some sort of gum disease or sensitive teeth. There is no doubt that soft bristles are less likely to cause problems than hard bristles in this case.

If you don’t have sensitive teeth or gum disease you may be tempted to think that that must mean that hard bristles are your best choice, but that isn’t necessarily the case. Hard bristles don’t necessarily remove more plaque than soft bristles, so there is no discernible advantage in using this type of brush head. If you have healthy teeth and gums you really should base your decision on what you’re more comfortable with and nothing else. Studies simply don’t back up the theory that either hard or soft bristles do a better job of cleaning your teeth.

Does Brush Head Shape Matter?

When it comes to brush heads it’s not just about the bristles. The shape and movement of the brush head plays a big factor as well. In another article on this site we discuss the difference between electric oscillating brush heads and sonic brush heads, so I won’t go into too much detail about it here, other than to simply say that they both do a great job of cleaning your teeth.

It’s one thing to make the decision to switch over to an electric toothbrush, but that doesn’t mean that your decisions are over. Electric toothbrushes come in all shapes and sizes, and there are many different brush heads to choose from as well. Choosing the right brush with the right brush head has more to do with your individual tastes than anything else, but there are some other important things to consider when making your decision.

There definitely is some dispute over whether or not the round brush head you find in many electric toothbrushes is more effective than the standard flat and elongated head you find on traditional brushes or sonic brushes. The round brushes you find on oscillating electric toothbrushes certainly seem like they’re designed to do a better job of getting in between the teeth and in those hard-to-reach spaces, but the evidence doesn’t really support this.

Sonic toothbrush brush heads look very similar to your traditional non-electric toothbrush heads, but because of their rapidly vibrating bristles they still manage to reach in between your teeth and get at the tough spots, so there isn’t a lot of difference between the two. In truth, neither one does a better job than the other of cleaning your teeth – it really comes down to what you prefer. Choose a brush that you’re comfortable with and don’t worry too much about the shape of the head.

It’s Comfortable on the Fence

This isn’t the first time in my life I’ve ever made the decision to sit on the fence and it probably won’t be my last. I personally don’t have a preference between hard and soft bristles, or round brush heads versus traditional brush heads. I’ve tried different combinations of each and in my experience they’ve all done a pretty good job of cleaning my teeth. At this point in my life my teeth do seem to have become a little more sensitive and so I tend to lean towards more of a medium bristle as opposed to really hard ones, but that’s about the only distinction I make. Basically, what I’m saying is that the type of brush head and bristles you choose should be based more upon your own comfort than upon any type of scientific evidence as to which might be better for your teeth.

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