mom and child brushing teeth together


When shopping for a toothbrush, there are plenty of choices. While choices can be nice. They can sometimes be overwhelming, too. Without guidance from a dental care professional, how can you know what type of toothbrush is the best one for you? Consider the following guidelines, the next time you’re ready to replace your toothbrush.


When selecting a new toothbrush, you’ll find that you have lots of options – beyond just brands – to choose from. Keep reading to learn how to understand the different types of toothbrushes, their features, and which ones are best for you.

What Size of Toothbrush Is Best?

The size of the toothbrush you choose depends on your own anatomy and the size of your mouth. Select a size of toothbrush that feels comfortable in your mouth and that has a head that is about the same length as two of your teeth.

When in doubt, a smaller toothbrush is usually better than a larger toothbrush because it will allow you to reach into the tighter spaces in the back of your mouth to thoroughly clean around your molars.

The Best Type of Bristles

Toothbrushes come with bristles of differing softness or stiffness: soft, medium, and hard. Pairing the right bristle texture with your own brushing unique brushing pressure and technique is key to creating an effective oral hygiene routine that is safe for your teeth and gums.

For most people, soft bristles are always going to be the best choice because most people actually brush their teeth vigorously, using a little too much pressure. Brushing like this with a medium or hard-bristled brush could damage your teeth, be too abrasive on the enamel and wear it down, and even hurt your gums.

So, unless you use an exceptionally soft touch when brushing your teeth, you should always choose a toothbrush (or electric toothbrush heads) with soft bristles.


When shopping for a toothbrush, you also need to decide between a manual or an electric toothbrush. While proper brushing techniques can help you get adequate results from a manual toothbrush, electric toothbrushes do a much better job.

They can enable you to safely break up plaque and tartar and clean your teeth safely without brushing too vigorously or pressing too hard because electric toothbrushes deliver many more “brushstrokes” than a manual toothbrush in the recommended two-minute brushing time.

When comparing electric toothbrushes, you’ll find that some have spinning heads while others have vibrating heads. These are both good options, but the toothbrushes with vibrating heads use sound waves to move the bristles, breaking up plaque and tartar. As a result, they’re way more effective than electric toothbrushes with spinning heads.


No matter what kind of toothbrush you choose, it can only clean your teeth and gums effectively if you apply proper brushing techniques.

First, you should brush for two minutes at least two times a day, focusing on each quadrant (upper front arch, upper back arch, lower front arch, and lower back arch) of your teeth for 30 seconds.

While brushing be careful to hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to your teeth. This places the bristles in an optimal position for getting just under your gum line to dislodge food particles, harmful bacteria, and accumulated plaque.

Also, as stated above, it’s important not to press too hard when brushing. Brushing with too much force can harm your tooth enamel, wearing it away and leading to tooth decay and cavities. Brush your teeth using a light, gentle pressure to protect your tooth enamel.


Over time, the bristles on your toothbrush or electric toothbrush head wear out and cannot clean your teeth and gums as well. To get the most out of your healthy tooth brushing habit, you should replace your toothbrush on a regular basis.

If you brush your teeth the recommended two minutes, two times a day, then:

  • Most manual toothbrushes should be replaced every three or four months.
  • Most electric toothbrush heads need to be replaced monthly since they deliver many more brushstrokes. (However, each manufacturer has slightly different guidelines, and you should follow yours.)

If your toothbrush’s bristles look frayed, worn, or do not stand up straight any longer, then it likely needs to be replaced – even if the recommended amount of time has not yet passed. You might need to replace your toothbrush early if you brush more than twice daily. Having a toothbrush wear out faster than expected, however, can also indicate that you could be brushing too hard.


Depending on your specific oral health history and goals, our dentists at South Dayton Smiles can help you select the best toothbrushes, dental floss, water flossers, and other oral hygiene products for you.

To learn more about the importance of brushing your teeth and additional steps you can take to safeguard your smile from tooth decay and cavities, we welcome you to contact us to schedule a dental exam and hygiene appointment with our dental clinic today.